Anyone who owns a business that requires handling an inventory knows how troublesome it can be. Keeping track of the stock amount versus the sales can be exhausting, especially if you own a small business and don’t have access to the manpower dedicated to the task. Managing inventory might be the most challenging task in a business right after acquiring customers. Without a regular audit, discrepancies can occur in the inventory and affect your accounts and revenue.
However, with a few simple steps, even the smallest of businesses can ensure smooth inventory management. Here’s how to do it.
Invest in an Inventory Management Software
Most businesses begin with simple spreadsheets to track their inventory. But upgrading to inventory management software as fast as possible is a wise step. It can track raw material purchases, the current status of your inventory, stock on hand, and regular sales data. The system uses barcode scanning technology. So, if you are dealing with a warehouse, you can easily detect which shipments came earlier and where they are located.
If you own a retail store with multiple warehouses or outlets, you can use a POS or point-of-sale system to smartly handle your inventory across the outlets or warehouses.
It also helps with efficient cash handling at checkouts.
These applications also come with inventory turnover calculation so that you can solve the problems of overstocking. They also help your business become agile by cutting the time required for manual inventory management.
Keep a Vendor Directory
Vendors are a vital part of any business, and you might be dealing with multiple vendors at once. Keeping their information sorted can save you time. Your point-of-sales or POS system should come with an option to store the details of all your vendors, such as vendor name, contact, website, product type, order volume, payment system, and other relevant details. Since this information will reside in your POS, you can easily track which vendor you receive stock from and when to pay them. You can keep adding vendors as you establish connections with new ones.
Cross Check Your Stock Shipment
Adopting an organized way to receive and store shipments can help you keep track of all the products. If you already have an inventory management system in place, pull up your purchase order and check if the shipment contains the products you ordered. The process might include opening and checking all the boxes manually.
If the shipment looks okay, begin adding barcodes and tags to the boxes or products and send them to the designated places in your warehouse. If they need to be at the outlets, add price and information tags, and send them off. All the information regarding the stock will now be stored in your system. You can easily track the sales information and know when to restock.
Organize Your Warehouse
If you’re dealing with an inventory, you’re dealing with a warehouse – no matter how small it is. As your business grows, you will have to increase the space for stocking your products. If your warehouse isn’t organized, you will waste valuable time locating the product. It can slow down the entire chain of processes.
Begin by labeling your shelves or shelving units and enter the information into your system. When shelving the items, match the barcodes and note down the product location. This information should be readily available to the fulfillment team.
If you don’t have the resources to get a big warehouse and keep it organized, you can always consider a temporary one. Various industrial tent rentals provide sturdy temporary warehouses that you can easily fold and carry around if required.
Do a Physical Count
Doing a regular physical count of your inventory can be challenging. But it is a required step for effectively managing your inventory. If you have inventory management software in place, you don’t have to audit every day. You can record the stock information when they arrive and track its status as they begin selling. This way, you can count the inventory after each sales period to check whether the physical count matches the number in the system. If all of your products have barcodes, you can scan them and make the process much faster.
Managing an inventory is a daunting task, but it’s not rocket science. If you establish a proper system for the management, starting from listing your products and vendors till the moment of shipping them to your customers, you can handle the process easily. However, if you do not see yourself taking up all the hassle, you can easily choose a dropshipping business that does not require you to manage an inventory