Whether you’re in manufacturing, distribution or wholesale, knowing your inventory position inside out is almost a prerequisite for an efficient, scalable operation. Despite its importance to ensure the business is well-placed to grow, many businesses (SMEs in particular) don’t have the necessary inventory data to optimise inventory throughout the supply chain.
If your business is looking to take the next step to make your stock control better, having the right inventory data on hand at all times is critical. Always accurate inventory reports remove barriers to making more data-driven business decisions and make it easy to respond promptly to constantly-evolving problems. As a starting point, here are five of the key reports that can help you improve your business. Which do you need access to in your business?
Stock on Hand Enquiry
Knowing how much inventory is on hand can inform purchasing decisions and let sales staff know what is available for sale. A stock on hand enquiry goes beyond a simple count of the stock in the warehouse, as although that’s a useful number, it’s not enough in a fast-paced operation where inventory is often assigned to an order the moment it hits the warehouse floor. With a stock on hand enquiry, you can easily compare how much inventory is in the warehouse with the amount of inventory that is already committed, providing you with a useful way to see how much of a safety stock buffer you have. You can also see how much inventory is on order, helping with forward-looking stock control decisions.
Inventory Change Report
Knowing what is on hand at any given point is helpful, but knowing what is driving inventory levels can be even more essential for efficient stock control. Inventory change reports are known by several different names but, whatever the nomenclature, they offer an easy way to see inventory coming in and out and to understand the drivers behind fluctuations.
Inventory Turnover Ratio
This simple report offers a quick-fire litmus test to determine how efficiently your business is moving product through the supply chain. In essence, the inventory turnover ratio describes how quickly your business is replacing product; specifically, it represents the number of times your business replaces its inventory in a given period.
This report can be run for a specific product, offering a way to pick out star performers and underachieving products, or it can be used to track the business’ overall inventory performance.
Item Fill Rate
One of the main aims of stock control is to prevent stock outs (where there is not enough, or not the correct, inventory in stock to fulfil customer orders) and bolster customer confidence in the business.
The item fill rate is, for any given order, the percentage of a customer’s order that can be fulfilled within a standard timeframe. Most companies are going to experience the odd stock out, but the item fill rate is a good way to ensure this is happening as infrequently as possible. Reporting can pull out an average item fill rate for a month or given period, or show a more nuanced distribution – even if most straightforward orders are easily fulfilled, this kind of reporting can help you spot complex order types which create stock control risk.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.