Even the best inventory management system requires the occasional clean-out of excess product. When it’s time to spring clean your stock, it could also be time to focus on the organising inventory control to optimise management processes. Improving inventory accuracy can be achieved by regularly taking stock and managing supplies accordingly. While it is important to avoid shortages, too much idle stock represents money and shelf space that could be put to better use. Optimising inventory control through tracking stock will help to improve the efficiency of the storeroom, and technology such as barcode scanners and inventory management software streamlines this process. Effective inventory control leads to improved customer satisfaction because of the time and money saved on excess stock or stock-outs. However, if stock has been building up and spring cleaning is necessary, here are some tips on getting organised.
Streamline stock management techniques
A common error businesses make when trying to improve organisation in a business is to record anything and everything. The key to effective inventory control is to keep it simple. Use one inventory management system that works for you. Ineffective techniques such as spreadsheets or handwritten stock takes will increase the risk of error, and therefore lead to ineffective inventory control. As your business grows, consider investing in an inventory management system. This allows all inventory data to be organised and filed together to eliminate manual input time, allowing more time to focus on customers and improving sales.
Be consistent with tracking techniques
Once everything is organised in terms of future planning and management techniques, choosing an appropriate stock taking process is crucial to avoid faults in inventory control. As soon as inventory arrives, it is important to record quantities and stock location to allow for easy and accurate tracking. Tracking inventory as soon as it arrives and up to the point of sale will prevent the accumulation of untracked stock and ultimately lessen the hassle of spring cleaning.
Getting rid of excess product
When it comes to clearing redundant stock, it is important to associate idle product with unavailable funds that could be put to better use. Idle inventory isn’t just taking up shelf space but is also preventing your business from running effectively and efficiently. Putting items on sale or clearance is a good way to quickly get rid of stock. Clearances are not designed to bring in a profit but are specifically intended to reduce inventory. This means that prices for the product are likely as low as possible without losing money. The key for organising an effective sale is to set a deadline for when all the product must be sold. From here, a discount can be included and reconsidered in a few days to estimate if the sale is on track to sell out by your deadline. If not, the price can be decreased again.
For online retailers, offering clearance items to loyal customers first will keep up customer relations as well as clear out excess stock. Instead of sending mass emails to all customers, consider offering the sale to just the top ten percent for the first week, before opening the sale to the general public. Offering recognition to top customers will build customer satisfaction and encourage regular customers. For online retailers, this can easily be achieved with an emailed coupon code or specific link.
While inventory control is crucial in ensuring your business is running at its full potential, the occasional spring clean of excess stock is necessary. Idle inventory that is taking up valuable shelf space and immobilising business funds can be cleared out with sales and clearances in a way that improves customer satisfaction. Organising inventory management techniques is the first step to track stock and ensure product flow. If you notice stock piling up, it is probably time to offer reduced pricing to clear out this idle inventory.
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.