Managing inventory can be a cumbersome task if you don’t have the right tools. As a business owner, you may feel the pressure when inventory management goes awry. Perhaps you are frequently running out of stock, worried about shrinkage or uncertain of how much stock you have in the warehouse.
There are a multitude of factors affecting inventory management. However, there are better ways to manage inventory so it doesn’t have to be a constant worry for your business.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the common factors affecting inventory management. If you can empathise with any of these common issues, then it might be time to invest in a better inventory management system.
If your warehouse has chronic issues with stockouts, then your current inventory management system is not working properly. Running out of stock can mean that your advertising and marketing strategies are effective. Even if your product is in demand and sales are working, your inventory system may be struggling to keep up.
Moreover, stock levels can be a delicate balance and sometimes you may order too much and stock goes to waste. This is particularly bad when stock is perishable or seasonal and has a short shelf life. If stock imbalances are a regular occurrence, this could be impacting your inventory management.
Version after version of saved spreadsheets
If you are tracking your inventory with a spreadsheet, you might end up saving multiple versions of this document. The problem comes when you have different versions of the same document. This problem is also known as version control and if you have multiple people accessing or working on this document from different locations, they will often have to save a new version in addition to the old one.
This can bring about inconsistencies and numerous copies of the document with different numbers and lists in each. In addition, if it is not backed up on a cloud-based portal then you may be at risk of losing your inventory data if something goes wrong with your hard drive.
A Lack of Integration
Communication is key with effective inventory management. Not only do your staff members need to communicate, but your technological systems need to talk to each other too. Integration allows data and information to flow unhindered to different parts of the company.
If data needs to be entered on multiple systems, this could be a very inefficient use of time. You may spend extra time entering in the same data two or three times, depending on your systems. Errors can create trouble when a supplier or order number gets typed in wrong on one system and correct on another.
When a scalable system sounds scary
If the thought of growing is scary because you know you don’t have the systems that are scalable, then you need to stop and look at your priorities. Growth is going to happen, so you need to have a system that can cope with your demands. If your current system is struggling to properly record your amount of inventory with necessary reference fields and re-ordering requests, then this could be one of the factors affecting inventory management.
Look closely at your business and analyse your current inventory management strategies to identify signs and areas for improvement.
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.