With the first quarter of the new year in full swing, it is vital that you establish and follow resolutions for your business. Perhaps one of the most important areas of your business to overhaul and revitalise is inventory management. However, for this to be a success we must visualise what the end goal is and itemise steps to get there. Read on for some tips on breathing new life into your inventory management system this year.
The new year spring-clean
Regardless of the hemisphere or season, it is good practice to start the year off with a spring clean where stale inventory which has not been moved in quite some time is dealt with and cleared so that space is made for the year’s new inventory and accompanying sales opportunities. Keeping old inventory around is as good as flushing money down the drain as it chews through storage and handling costs while obscuring more popular inventory by its very presence. Marie Kondo your warehouse if you will!
Fix the faults
If inventory is being kept for the specific purpose of repair or remanufacture, then deal with this rather than hoarding faulty items until they overwhelm the warehouse. Dealing with these may involve repairing them yourself, sending back to the manufacturer or outsourcing. Whatever the method, these items need to be kept at bay to make room for high-earning inventory.
Obsolete marketing materials
High impact marketing campaigns come laden with flyers, posters and placards in all their various forms. However, these items have a lifespan and a short one at that. Once the promotional period has passed rendering these materials no longer useful, recycle them promptly to avoid them accumulating and taking up storage space, ultimately hindering smooth warehouse operations.
Tally up remaining inventory
The post-holiday and sales season is a great time to take stock of what inventory was sold, what is remaining and what cannot be accounted for. This not only provides useful data on one of the most prominent sales times of the year but also ensures you start the year on the right foot, knowing what is in inventory and what needs to be reordered, redistributed, recycled or sent back to where it came from.
Struggling to clear excess inventory? Follow these four strategies.
Update your systems
A new year should represent a chance to do things differently and embrace new methods that could be of enormous benefit. This includes automated inventory management software that comes complete with automatic re-order points and the ability to scan barcodes throughout the manufacturing process. This is vital to reduce time and errors which can be rampant during the busy holiday season and when you are trying to reconcile and move remaining stock in the new year. It is important to always be looking for ways to improve accuracy and save time to free you up for strategic business activities rather than simply chasing stock around the warehouse and numbers around the page.
Don’t underestimate your staff
Impeccable inventory management is contingent on a staff that appreciates its value and is committed to its success. To achieve this goal, staff need to be trained and encouraged to ensure they are fully equipped to run a smooth operation. It can sometimes be hard to delegate and let go, operating under the mantra ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’. However, your staff should be trained in the first instance and then trusted to do as good a job. This again frees management up for strategic business activities rather than being all-consumed with the daily warehouse operation.
It is a new year and a new chance to do things differently to see a different, positive year unfold for your business. Take the plunge and set things in motion for a good year. Of course, it is always important to identify what systems can save you time, money and reduce wastage so the company can enjoy and unencumbered year of success. Inventory management software such as Unleashed Software can do this for you and is fantastic support when updating inventory systems and operations.
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.