When you’re an inventory manager or a business owner, you know that it’s important to have a strong grasp on what’s happening in your warehouse. We know you work hard to keep everything going in the right direction — you implement new policies to track inventory stock, optimise the warehouse layout for shipments, and keep records of sales to predict future inventory orders.
A lot of your decisions are made based on data. When you look back at your records of sales, you expect the highs and lows to be recorded properly. This helps you order enough inventory stock for next year’s holiday season. However, what if that data is not as good as you had hoped and you’ve planned future orders based on inaccurate information. It might be time to tidy up your data systems.
Let’s dive in and see how businesses can clean up their bad data and prevent problems from happening in the future.
Errors are one of the most significant problems in causing faults in the data. If your data is saved in numerous places, with some information manually entered, then it’s time to centralise your information and automate.
Inventory stock should be recorded automatically and the real-time information should be found in the same spot every time. This means that the data is of better quality and easier to find. Remove as many manual steps as possible and bad data will start to disappear.
Less is more
There is data everywhere, but does that mean we need to use it all? When you have excessive amounts of data, you run the risk of dealing with more errors and poor quality. Decide which data streams are the most important in your business and focus on optimising them. Rather than have an overload of bad data that you’ll never get through, why don’t you have a simplified and useful amount of good data?
Look at which data helps you the most with your inventory management. If there are some data streams that are interesting, but rarely applicable, cut those out of the mix for the time being. Concentrate on the top five data streams and fine-tune them so they are useful to your decision-making process.
Seek external advice
Deciding what you need can be an overwhelming task and you don’t want to remove useful data. Instead of fretting over each data stream, bring in an external consultant to audit your data systems. They are trained to identify problems and they can see what’s going on. They can help you decide what is most useful and what you don’t need.
They can look for any technological glitches, incorrect inputs by customers, and strip back your forms so they only capture the most necessary information. They can also make sure it’s consistent across the various customer touchpoints. Consultants can help with data centralisation so your data is together rather than in separate compartments. They can also analyse your definitions and validations to bring it up to a high standard.
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.