Effective inventory management is one of the keys to having a profitable business. Without enough inventory prepped and ready to be shipped to retailers and customers, you will miss out on opportunities for sales. With too much inventory in stock, you’ll be wasting precious time and resources.
So how to you optimize your inventory management? The following are a few tips to help your business.
1. Use real time inventory management software.
When choosing software to help you manage your inventory, choose a solution that gives you real time data. There are several cloud-based solutions that will link your sales team to your warehouse team and help you track inventory through every stage of the supply chain. Real time data solutions will help you with activities like restocking and forecasting for peak buying periods.
2. Take advantage of automation.
There are a wide variety of automation tools you might want to consider in order to help you manage your inventory. Amazon, for example uses robots to fetch inventory out of the warehouse before it is shipped by human employees. But you don’t need robots to include automation in your inventory management plan. Certain software can provide all sorts of useful functions including providing stock reports, letting you know when a shipment is going to be late, or helping you choose the best carrier at any given time.
3. Reduce inefficiencies in your warehouse.
Whether you have your own warehouses for your business or whether you use a third-party, wasted space is wasted money. Consider whether you might be able to have a more efficient layout, tighter storage methods, or better handling equipment.
When you use your space more effectively, not only will your day to day operations go more smoothly but you’ll also have more available space for large orders when your suppliers offer discounts.
4.Track the entire supply chain.
If you really want to get a handle on what is happening with your inventory, you need to track it through the whole supply chain. This is especially true with inventory that requires special handling (certain temperatures, moisture levels, etc.), but really, it can help you no matter what your business is. Various types of sensors as well as barcode scanners can provide you with regular updates on your stock through each stage of the supply chain.
5. Have contingency plans for pipeline inventory.
Inventory in the pipeline is out of your control, but as a business owner, this is where a lot of your money is invested. Problems like delays, customs bottlenecks, etc. though they may not be your fault can lead to loss through customer dissatisfaction. For this reason, it is important to have contingency plans in place such as arranging for safety stock with alternate carriers.
6. Conduct regular reviews of your logistics and inventory management components.
Just because something worked for your business a year ago, it does not mean that it is working now. In order to stay current and as efficient as possible, it is important to conduct regular reviews of components in your logistics and inventory management. This may include reviewing your warehouse management software, your carrier of choice, and any number of other technologies and processes.
At Royal Supply Chain, inventory management is one of our specialties. Contact us today for more tips and advice to optimize your business.