How to improve your inventory process
A business that involves inventory is exciting to set up, but it also comes with its share of challenges. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by inventory management. Adopting some helpful tools and strategies will make the inventory management process much easier. Read on for some tips on how to improve your inventory processes.
It’s typical for a small business to start out with simple price tags because they’re inexpensive and relatively simple. Something quickly stamped out of a pricing gun or even handwritten is common. However, there will come a time when this practice starts to hurt you. The margin for human error is large, both when making the labels and when ringing customers out. It’s wise to adopt a barcode system for items so that they can be accurately scanned. It also makes counting inventory easier when you can scan each item instead of reading every tag.
Keep things in order
This applies to your physical inventory and your records. A messy storeroom or warehouse is a surefire way to lose track of items. Take the time daily, weekly, and monthly to complete housekeeping tasks that make counting and locating items easy. However you keep your records, make sure everything is in order there, too. Go over your paper trail regularly to make sure your numbers match what you physically have on hand. Waiting too long can mean your numbers get too far out of whack–and can mean you have more difficulty determining what’s gone wrong.
Additionally, get in the habit of adopting a policy of “first in, first out.” This ensures that what you’re selling is current or fresh. It also allows you to identify what items are flying off the shelves and which are gathering dust.
Fine-tune your software
Choosing inventory management software is a crucial step in getting your business in order. It will also make your life easier. Today’s inventory management systems are straightforward, easy to set up, and easy to use. Adopting one will quickly pay for itself in the time you save and headaches you avoid. Once you’ve settled on a system, set it up so that it works well for your business. Most have tools built right in that can be set up to meet your unique needs. Use what you need, forget what you don’t, and get on with more important tasks.
Make access easy
Your stock levels should be easily viewable from your POS system, even if you have multiple warehouses or storefronts. This allows your employees to better serve customers. It also makes it easier for your inventory manager to see what’s needed without having to physically go check.
Invest in your staff
Even if you have the perfect software set up and your stock room is immaculate, you will experience shortfalls if your staff doesn’t know how everything works together. Take the time to ensure everyone understands inventory movements – and how to identify and reconcile discrepancies.This training makes your job easier and saves your bottom line. It will also save your staff from the frustration of not knowing where or how to find an item. It also means you have what you need on hand, which makes your customers happy and earns money.
Especially when you’re starting out, it can seem like overkill to adopt robust software and equipment to manage your inventory. However, when you develop these tools early on, you will find your business is easily scalable and that you save a lot of time and money. Get in touch with us to learn more about how to improve your inventory processes.