With the fast pace of today’s consumer environment, keeping track of your business inventory might be causing more headaches than it used to. And inventory management in itself is an exacting, often difficult job—a business owner must keep track of the weight, dimensions, volume, and exact location of their stocked goods, while making sure that what’s physically in stock matches what’s in the records.
It’s not an aspect of the business anyone would want to sleep on, however. Without good inventory management practices, your business could lose money, incur product wastage, and miss out on crucial sales opportunities. Luckily enough, even if the practice itself remains a taxing one, there are many more resources available now that can give your company that extra boost in its supply chain.
Improving your inventory management may just be an issue of tweaking your existing protocols or trying new solutions such as order fulfillment services USA-based businesses like yours can count on. To get you started, here are five straightforward tips on tracking your inventory and improving your company’s logistics.
- Set minimum par levels for each of your products. Setting par in inventory management entails listing the minimum quantity of product that you should always have on hand. Doing this is a much better practice than waiting for a product to sell out and then making other customers wait while you order new stock.
- Follow the principle of “first-in, first out” (FIFO). Another inventory management practice that should always be in motion is the FIFO policy. Keep track of a product’s date of manufacturing, date of arrival in your storage facility, and shelf life. It’s important to ensure that the older products are sold before the newer ones. This helps you avoid the chances of a product deteriorating, getting damaged, or becoming spoiled to the point that it’s unsellable.
- Sort each product by ABC analysis. It would also be a good idea to list your products according to their value and their frequency of sale. For example, a product can fall under the category of either high-value with low frequency of sales (A), moderate-value with moderate frequency of sales (B), or low-value with high frequency of sales (C). Knowing the A, B, and C-type products will help you and your staff dedicate the right amount of time and attention to moving them around in the inventory.
- Perform audits, going beyond a singular method. Inventory audits are a means of reconciling your physical stock with the information that’s listed on the books. Software has largely replaced the manual count of products and made auditing even more efficient. But when it comes to your stock, you may want to play it safe and incorporate an annual physical count and a spot check every now and then.
- Tie up with an order fulfillment services company if things get busy. If your company currently enjoys a broad customer base, variety in your product lines, and consistent demand for high-volume shipments, you may want to consider partnering with a logistics provider that specializes in order fulfillment. Such companies not only have state-of-the-art inventory tracking technologies at their disposal, but they also have the packing and warehousing capacities that can keep your goods safe and accounted for. You can rest assured that the pros have your inventory, packaging, and shipment all covered.
Overall, the goals of proper inventory management are: (1) to trim the costs of holding the said inventory, (2) to get business owners to replenish their stock in a timely and ordinary manner, and (3) to have quality stock befitting customers’ demands. With these five practical tips on hand, your inventory management practices will hew closer to these goals—and save you many a headache about tracking your goods!