An inventory control system can mean a lot of different things to different businesses. Some may see having an Excel spreadsheet and manual stock counts as an inventory control system but realistically in this day and age, it means that there is adequate hardware, like barcode scanners, and most importantly software in place that will help to streamline your inventory and increase efficiencies across your business as a whole.
So why is it so important?
The insight and oversight it gives you
Even just looking at the basics of inventory management like barcode scanners and an integrated software system you can see the oversight it gives a business. By being able to scan items in and out of inventory, ie when sold or when an order arrives, and during stock takes, your business is able to see exactly what stock is on hand at that exact point in time. There’s no guessing involved anymore, and all the information you want is available in real-time, meaning you can make informed business decisions based on facts alone.
As well, through inventory management software and the better overview it gives you, you’ll have better data on sales trends, better data for forecasting and you’ll also be able to identify and react to any discrepancies as quickly as possible.
The assurance it can provide
By having an inventory control system that can provide you with real-time data and insights into your business, you will have a much higher level of confidence in the goings-on of the business. Why? Because you’ll know exactly what is going on, and if something changes you’ll be able to see that too. You’ll be alerted to when a product needs reordering before you run out of it, you’ll be able to see when your inventory says you have 10 products but you know you only have 8. It’s just that added level of comfort.
Its ability to increase customer sentiment
Customer sentiment and repeat custom are crucial to any business, especially when repeat custom costs less then having to market to find new customers. Put simply, by always being on top of your inventory with an inventory control system you alleviate the risk of understocking or running out of stock. And given that both of those things drive customers crazy, you also alleviate the risk of your customers getting annoyed having to wait too long for their orders to be fulfilled or them going elsewhere.
It’s ability to control, automate and streamline
With technology like barcode scanners as a part of your inventory control system you help to eliminate human error. For starters, whenever you scan a product it automatically gets updated in the system right there and then, there’s no counting with a pen and paper and then later on having to manually input data into the computer. It gives you immediacy, it gives you accuracy and it gives you consistency.
By having your systems talking to each other in real time, as mentioned, you simply get rid of the need for human input of data. This alone will decrease the chance of errors happening, and will also mean that you are able to identify errors and their source quicker, giving you a better chance at resolving them.
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.