Inventory control regulates the stock that is already in your warehouse. This involves knowing what is in stock, where is it located in the warehouse, and the condition it is in. It is also about ensuring your warehouse is set up in a way that allows warehouse staff to quickly pick and pack products to speed up customer order fulfilment.
Whether you use a spreadsheet or inventory management software, an inventory control system can mean different things to different businesses. For many businesses, relying on spreadsheets and manual stock counts doesn’t cut it. Tools such as barcode scanners and inventory management software will help streamline your inventory and increase efficiencies across your entire business.
Why is it important for my business?
For any inventory-based business, controlling inventory efficiently is important to maintaining a great bottom line. When businesses lose control over their stock, both productivity and profitability will suffer.
Great inventory control allows you to be confident to make the right decisions, as all the information you want is available in real-time. With inventory management software, you’ll always know that your stock is being accurately tracked. You’ll have better insight on sales trends, and better able to identify and react to any discrepancies as quickly as possible.
Reduce the risk of a stockout by being on top of your inventory control game. With sufficient stock on hand, you’ll be able to quickly fulfil your customers’ orders. This is especially important in retaining customers in a competitive marketplace.
Streamline and automate
A great inventory control system paired with technology like barcode scanners as part of the inventory control system can help businesses eliminate human error. Barcode scanners, with their long list of benefits, ensure your inventory is tracked with accuracy. There’s no denying the fact that stock takes can be time-consuming. Your staff have to count the stock and then manually input stock movement and stock levels into the computer. If your business is still conducting a stocktake with pen and paper, consider upgrading to an online system to speed up the process.
What can great inventory control do for my business?
Enhance your bottom line
While inventory control is about knowing the state of your stock and warehouse, it is also an indicator of the health of your business. Inventory control streamlines operations and identifies areas for improvement.
Productivity and efficiency are greatly enhanced through good inventory control, allowing staff to concentrate on more value-adding activities. Not only does inventory control include stock on hand, but it also extends to the warehouse. Ensuring that the warehouse is set out in a manner such that stock is easily located improves accessibility and efficiency.
Plan with accuracy
Accurate forecasting remains a major challenge for businesses. With the need to navigate seasonal demands, variations of demand consistency, and expecting the unexpected, effective inventory control helps businesses overcome these trials.
A major benefit of inventory control is to assist in better forecasting. Having an inventory system to capture information about your stock on hand and stock movements can be a wealth of information, providing accurate sales data, seasonal trends, supplier information, delivery and lead times. The more accurate data your business has, the better equipped you are to make effective procurement decisions.
What can I do to improve my inventory control?
There are many ways to improve your inventory control, here we’ll highlight the top three methods:
Correctly classify products
Wholesalers and manufacturers might hold thousands of individuals items or components as part of their stock. Therefore, it is essential to correctly categorise these items into an easy to understand, user-friendly system.
The methods for classifying inventory can differ from company to company, but there are a few common methods used for inventory control classification. The ABC method is one way of categorising items according to their value and documentation requirements.
Boost warehouse management efficiency
Efficient warehouse management requires a flexible location system and customised categorisation for easy storage, movement and picking. Such a system will increase inventory accuracy while reducing cycle times and handling costs.
Improve supplier relationships
Implementing an effective classification and warehouse system can only be successfully achieved when you have good supplier relationships. Supplier issues can impact inventory control strategies. It is therefore imperative to build strong relationships with your suppliers and constantly review them to ensure they are adequately benefitting both your business and the supplier
Only improving your inventory control through the methods mentioned above is not enough. To make the most of an online system, you should get an inventory management system with great inventory control modules. This will allow you to fine tune your inventory control processes to make it as efficient as possible. Remember, inventory control is not a static thing – keep looking for ways to improve your control!