Although inventory is a back of house process, it is very much a critical process, a necessity in fulfilling sales. Just because it is behind closed doors to customers doesn’t mean that it should be ignored or be devoid of stringent processes. By ensuring accurate inventory levels, you can help drive efficiencies with orders and in warehouse management. Essentially it makes it easy for you, your customers, your partners and suppliers and of course your staff.
Get products to customers quickly
The time it takes for products to get into your customer’s hands is a big deal. Take too long and you may lose an order. If you know the exact products and the exact quantities that are sitting on your shelves then you know what you can sell now, and what you would have to order in. Sounds simple, and it is, but if you’re left with products you haven’t accounted for or you think you have enough when you don’t, you can start to lose money.
Price points these days are so competitive a lot of industries are relying on customer service and ease of service to differentiate themselves. Correct inventory levels are a critical piece of the jigsaw in making that happen. Customers don’t want to be told you “think” you have it in-stock or told that it’s available only to be informed later some will have to be ordered in. They want transparency, honesty and they want their products sooner rather than later.
Keep track of product sales
By keeping abreast of your inventory levels, you can really start to understand and track your key products including what are your business’ most successful and least successful sellers. You can see what your selling cycles are, so what’s selling best at different points in time, and the impact certain sales or discounts have had for example. It’s about knowing the ins and outs of your business instead of assuming or even guessing. Correct inventory levels help you stick to the cold hard facts, meaning making decisions, like what inventory to bring in and what needs to go, is super simple.
Make your warehouse management easy
Regardless of the size of your stock, whether it’s a back room in your retail store or a large-scale industrial wardrobe, implementing certain procedures means everyone’s lives get a little easier. No matter what those processes are, if they help your staff to know exactly what’s in-stock then they don’t have to worry about finding stock the computer says should be there or ordering more only to find they had plenty in the first place. They can focus on getting deliveries out quickly, helping customers even more and generally ensuring your sales and delivery funnel are running as streamlined as possible.
Help out your partners and suppliers
Your inventory levels can also play a key role in other services your business relies on. Things like your accounts, your insurance, they all rely on you knowing the exact level of your inventory and its value. Otherwise how do you know how much you’re worth or even how much you should be insured for on a regular basis? It’s all linked and it’s all about being in the know.
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.