When managing inventory, there are a wide array of challenges and problems that face business owners. These problems are an issue for small businesses, large corporations and all of those companies in between who are experiencing growth.
Inventory is one of your most important assets. It’s imperative to prevent and mitigate inventory management problems in order to protect the lifeblood of your business. We’ll highlight a few of the common inventory management problems facing business owners and discuss how they can be mitigated with practical solutions.
Human error is a very real problem for many businesses. Over 40% of small business owners still use staff to hand count their weekly, monthly and annual stock takes. Handwritten data can become problematic if it is illegible or not shared in a format that’s user-friendly to the wider company. It’s much harder to circulate a handwritten spreadsheet than to circulate a document on the internet.
Human error can be avoided by automating the inventory tracking system. Implement a barcode system to track inventory throughout its journey. This allows more visibility, consistency and constant tracking of your inventory. Business owners, both small and large, will experience decreased human errors and more transparency in the tracking process.
Dead stock can be a significant problem for those with warehouses full of inventory. If a product has been sitting dormant on your warehouse shelf for more than 12 months, it is considered dead stock. The chances of the dead stock moving are unlikely and it is costing the business in precious warehouse space. Dead stock can happen for a variety of reasons.
Here’s where an online inventory management system comes in to play. It is a multifaceted tool that will support many new inventory solutions in your warehouse. One of these solutions provides help to decrease dead stock. With online inventory management, the software tracks sales patterns and inventory movements throughout their whole lifecycle. It can help analyse historical data and support forecasting and inventory purchases. This means you can make smarter, more informed decisions on how much stock to buy. When you buy smarter amounts, you avoid the risk of dead stock being left on your shelves.
Moreover, when you use an online inventory management system, many of the processes in your business come together to form streamlined management.
Inventory going off
Lots of fast moving consumer goods are perishable or have expiration dates that need to be managed properly. For instance, when food spoils, there is a huge loss in investment and potential profits. Food spoilage can happen for a variety of reasons, but you need to ensure your supply chain is proactive rather than reactive.
Using real-time data from your online inventory management system can help track the expiration of your inventory items. This means it can alert you when certain goods need to get off your inventory shelves and into the hands of your consumers. This solution is much more proactive and helps keep track of what is fresh and what is about to go off.
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.