For our UK readers
Managing inventory is an essential part of your business, however, it can be a drain on your cash resources. It can also make you lose orders if you don’t get it right, which is why it pays to know where you stand with your stock control.
Here is a look at some potential ways to improve inventory management in your business, including a proven way of making stock easy to find, how inventory data can improve sales,
Why you need a unique ID number
One of the fundamental requirements of a stock control system is to be able to identify and find every item you have on the shelves as quickly and easily as possible.
The way to do this is to ensure that every product is allocated a unique stock keeping unit (SKU) ID number.
Being able to differentiate between products using an SKU system will prove to be the backbone of your inventory management system and one form of SKU that allows you to have an internal system that also allows you to dovetail with external suppliers is a barcode.
Using a barcode is a useful reference that can identify a product quickly and avoids any potential identification errors when there are several different people in the supply chain that are all able to rely on the same information.
The power of your data
Once you have the framework of an inventory system up and running this gives you the opportunity to tap into a vast array of data that is useful in a number of different ways.
Inventory management will help to ensure that you don’t run out of raw materials and stock and it will allow you to keep a tighter control over how much cash is tied up on the shelves so that wastage is kept to a minimum.
Another useful aspect to consider is that the data can also pinpoint which of your products sell the most. If there are any notable seasonal trends or other key metrics that can highlight popular items, you can then focus on increasing sales when armed with this valuable information.
Regular audits are key
It is essential that you check the accuracy of your inventory data on a monthly basis or at least every quarter at the least.
Although technology and good software can combine to put you in far greater control compared to a manual system it is always a good idea to carry out an audit of your inventory to verify its accuracy.
An easy way to perform an audit would be to print out a list of your stock with the SKU identification details and do a manual check that what is on the shelves matches with the numbers on the spreadsheet.
Create a system
Having confidence in your setup and its accuracy allows you to create a seamless system for processing and fulfilling orders.
From raising a sales order to checking the inventory you are then in a position to gather the order and prepare for shipment and raise an invoice.
This step-by-step process can be automated using a software system and with an accurate inventory to rely on within that system, you should be able to turn around orders quickly.
You will also know when to reorder stock and avoid telling your customer you can’t fulfill their order when you have your inventory management under control.
Article provided by RS Components, UK