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Easy tips for Effective Stock Control & Inventory Management by

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Every business suffers from stock control & inventory management problems. The “Shrinkage” accounts for a considerable amount of total sales which includes theft by customers or employees, or staff & administrative errors. & if you are trying to grow your business, keeping track on stock levels & way you manage your inventory can influence your growth in terms of profit or loss & also your customer satisfaction ability.

Before looking at the tips, you should first understand the key goals of the inventory management system. When using any inventory control system, you should be very well aware of the goals it should accomplish. These goals help you identify the effectiveness of your current system & also if improvement is possible & where & how. These goals are

  • The system should be able to tell the real-time location of your inventory.
  • The system should be able to tell & update changes in your inventory.
  • It should involve a plan for how much inventory to order & keep, & when to re-order as well.

Once you have an understanding of the goals, which your current inventory control system & are looking forward to the expanding your business, then here are some tips to reduce shrinkage greatly & thus help you in the stock control process.

Check all stocks inwards

Your 1st focus should be checking on whether the delivered stock is exactly what you ordered from your supplier. Sometimes suppliers get stock orders incorrectly packed & while assuming you have correct numbers you add the inventory to your shelves. In these cases when you receive orders you are liable to get short stocked & thus lose your sales & your credibility as well. In another case, you might actually have more stock than needed & you won’t even know when to reduce prices or not order any more of it.

Store your stocks wisely

It is easier wherever your stock fits. But the easy way is not always better, as this can make it much harder to track the product. & if you have similar products with similar packaging (could differ in quantity or have unnoticeable difference) then while in hurry you or your staff may make a mistake & likely cause error.

Create clear labels for each product

Each product in your stock must have a clear label on it with product number, quantity, the basic description including vendor name & other important details. Labeling makes identifying the product much easier. It makes tracking easier as you are always able to know about the contents of box with its exact quantity. This can also be done by using the barcodes instead of labels.

Keep track of expiry dates

If you offer expired products, then you must be liable for hefty fines if the product gets delivered to the customers. So, it is very important for you to keep track on the best before dates of each product in line so that you can clear the stock before it gets outdated by either lowering the price & any other way. It is also very important to check the best before dates of outgoing orders before packing.

Don’t compound problems

If you have made a wrong delivery, when you have to deliver another product instead make sure to amend the stock levels for both the products. At times, it may seem obvious, but while in all the hassle of running your business, this can easily be overlooked.

Set threshold stock levels

Every business has different peak times when the sales increase or decrease with large differences & also each supplier also has its own different lead times. So, if you want to keep your business going & want to escape out of stock situations then you should be able to establish how long you can restock normally & forecast the amount of time the minimum stock level will get exhausted. In these cases, you need to keep in account the market seasons & then the fluctuating customer demands. You should ideally have a buffer amount to cover the amount of time which is required for restocking. You are also required to maintain the stock of less-demanded products for lowering the cost of transportation.

Manage returns effectively

One of the biggest issue surfaces while handling the returns mainly in fashion & electronics markets. If you get any delivered stock returned when they are discovered defective then you have to make sure that your stock levels don’t get adjusted upwards & make sure to account for it with your suppliers.

Always keep an eye on stocks

Always you should keep track of your stock in real-time. If you have made or are encountered with an error, then it’s better to point it before taking the order. If not, then you will have to spend time contacting them if an error is spotted later or restocking if you have not & in the worst case you fail to deliver & lose your sale with the credibility of your brand.

Keep priorities in check

Keeping track of inventories altogether is time taking & exhausting task. So, you should keep your priority straight. Usually, 80 percent of your demands are generated by only 20 percent of your products. You should set management operations i.e. forecasting, stock-level check, & reordering of these products as a priority. Then make the next best-selling products next on your list. You can focus on stock tracking accordingly for the rest of your stock too.

Consider an automated solution

Then you can always consider using automated solutions for inventory management & controlling of your stock levels. These solutions can provide you with a number of tools for assisting you with proper & efficient management of your inventory & keeping you from time-consuming but important processes done manually. These can also be a big factor in reducing errors & increasing your productivity. You can also use the cloud-based automated solutions for inventory management so that you are always available from wherever you are & whenever needed. These can have a considerable impact on your bottom line & allow you to grow faster.

Every business suffers from stock control & inventory management problems. The “Shrinkage” accounts for a considerable amount of total sales which includes theft by customers or employees, or staff & administrative errors. & if you are trying to grow your business, keeping track on stock levels & way you manage your inventory can influence your growth in terms of profit or loss & also your customer satisfaction ability.

Before looking at the tips, you should first understand the key goals of the inventory management system. When using any inventory control system, you should be very well aware of the goals it should accomplish. These goals help you identify the effectiveness of your current system & also if improvement is possible & where & how. These goals are

  • The system should be able to tell the real-time location of your inventory.
  • The system should be able to tell & update changes in your inventory.
  • It should involve a plan for how much inventory to order & keep, & when to re-order as well.

Once you have an understanding of the goals, which your current inventory control system & are looking forward to the expanding your business, then here are some tips to reduce shrinkage greatly & thus help you in the stock control process.

Check all stocks inwards

Your 1st focus should be checking on whether the delivered stock is exactly what you ordered from your supplier. Sometimes suppliers get stock orders incorrectly packed & while assuming you have correct numbers you add the inventory to your shelves. In these cases when you receive orders you are liable to get short stocked & thus lose your sales & your credibility as well. In another case, you might actually have more stock than needed & you won’t even know when to reduce prices or not order any more of it.

Store your stocks wisely

It is easier wherever your stock fits. But the easy way is not always better, as this can make it much harder to track the product. & if you have similar products with similar packaging (could differ in quantity or have unnoticeable difference) then while in hurry you or your staff may make a mistake & likely cause error.

Create clear labels for each product

Each product in your stock must have a clear label on it with product number, quantity, the basic description including vendor name & other important details. Labeling makes identifying the product much easier. It makes tracking easier as you are always able to know about the contents of box with its exact quantity. This can also be done by using the barcodes instead of labels.

Keep track of expiry dates

If you offer expired products, then you must be liable for hefty fines if the product gets delivered to the customers. So, it is very important for you to keep track on the best before dates of each product in line so that you can clear the stock before it gets outdated by either lowering the price & any other way. It is also very important to check the best before dates of outgoing orders before packing.

Don’t compound problems

If you have made a wrong delivery, when you have to deliver another product instead make sure to amend the stock levels for both the products. At times, it may seem obvious, but while in all the hassle of running your business, this can easily be overlooked.

Set threshold stock levels

Every business has different peak times when the sales increase or decrease with large differences & also each supplier also has its own different lead times. So, if you want to keep your business going & want to escape out of stock situations then you should be able to establish how long you can restock normally & forecast the amount of time the minimum stock level will get exhausted. In these cases, you need to keep in account the market seasons & then the fluctuating customer demands. You should ideally have a buffer amount to cover the amount of time which is required for restocking. You are also required to maintain the stock of less-demanded products for lowering the cost of transportation.

Manage returns effectively

One of the biggest issue surfaces while handling the returns mainly in fashion & electronics markets. If you get any delivered stock returned when they are discovered defective then you have to make sure that your stock levels don’t get adjusted upwards & make sure to account for it with your suppliers.

Always keep an eye on stocks

Always you should keep track of your stock in real-time. If you have made or are encountered with an error, then it’s better to point it before taking the order. If not, then you will have to spend time contacting them if an error is spotted later or restocking if you have not & in the worst case you fail to deliver & lose your sale with the credibility of your brand.

Keep priorities in check

Keeping track of inventories altogether is time taking & exhausting task. So, you should keep your priority straight. Usually, 80 percent of your demands are generated by only 20 percent of your products. You should set management operations i.e. forecasting, stock-level check, & reordering of these products as a priority. Then make the next best-selling products next on your list. You can focus on stock tracking accordingly for the rest of your stock too.

Consider an automated solution

Then you can always consider using automated solutions for inventory management & controlling of your stock levels. These solutions can provide you with a number of tools for assisting you with proper & efficient management of your inventory & keeping you from time-consuming but important processes done manually. These can also be a big factor in reducing errors & increasing your productivity. You can also use the cloud-based automated solutions for inventory management so that you are always available from wherever you are & whenever needed. These can have a considerable impact on your bottom line & allow you to grow faster.

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  1. Great tips! Would love to read more article like this.

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