Inventory management is key to the success of any business, big or small. It encompasses a wide range of tasks, all of which should streamline your supply chain and ensure the utmost productivity. As your business grows, good inventory management will become even more crucial, and you may need to hire an inventory manager who can dedicate their time to ensuring it all runs smoothly.
Being a successful inventory manager requires a broad range of skills and know-how. In this article, we explore the key attributes and tasks required of a good inventory manager.
Choosing the right suppliers
A good inventory manager will take their time in selecting suppliers for the business, which requires doing thorough research and identifying which suppliers will be most profitable and reliable. Part of this task also means that a good inventory manager will have strong people skills and be able to establish and maintain good working relationships with said suppliers. Lastly, a good inventory manager will always keep an eye out for other potential partners who could offer better services.
Accurately recording data
Inventory managers are responsible for recording details about the company stock, including quantities, quality, style, type and any other relevant information. Keeping accurate stock records is crucial to ensuring the company can forecast, track sales and ultimately meet customer demand. A good inventory manager will always be on top of inventory records, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to invest in inventory management software, especially those that are compatible with barcodes and barcode scanners.
Inventory management software will allow managers to efficiently track stock levels and whereabouts, which in turn will allow them to proactively predict any delays along the supply chain. Furthermore, having an inventory manager who has full oversight of stock means customers can get information about the status of their purchase in real time.
Maintaining accessibility of stock
Another key task of an inventory manager is to ensure that stock is accessible and easy to find so that when it comes to fulfilling orders there are no delays. This may mean labelling stock according to their type and ensuring the stock rooms are clean and tidy at all times. As inventory manager, this means working with other staff members to ensure inventory storerooms are well-maintained.
Ordering new inventory
Ordering new inventory as required is another crucial part of the role as an inventory manager. However, this doesn’t simply mean ordering a bulk lot of stock when inventory runs out. Ordering new inventory will require using inventory software to track sales history and sales trends, predicting peaks in demand (during the holiday season, for example) and timing your orders effectively.
Dealing with obsolete stock
Lastly, a good inventory manager will avoid over-ordering so that the company doesn’t end up with obsolete or excess stock which is no longer in demand. In the event that the company is left with obsolete stock, a good inventory manager will consider all the avenues for earning back some of the capital lost in holding these items to begin with. Here are some strategies they would use.
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.