One of the single biggest hassles of running a small business is the continual guessing game of inventory management. Struggles with inventory are one of the top plagues among the small business world and will likely continue to be so. Inventory is going to disappear, computers will be wrong, and items won’t be available that customers were told were in stock. It’s just going to happen; those are part of the adventure of running a small business. However, there are ways to improve upon current inventory management systems, cut costs or even build a new system from the ground up that can alleviate some of the inventory headaches.
1. Digitize everything.
Nearly every smartphone today has a bar code scanner application on it, and almost no one uses it. Using a smart phone an owner, manager or employee can quickly and easily build an inventory list right from their phone. This list of compiled data can then be exported as a PDF or CSV file right to a computer desktop.
2. On occasion do things the old fashion way.
Taking stock by hand is a tedious and time consuming project. It does however ensure an accurate human verified count of things. This is assuredly not the most efficient way to keep track of an inventory, but it’s necessary on occasion. Make this a quarterly project to ensure counts of current stock stay accurate.
3. Don’t let suppliers set the terms.
Suppliers will sometimes try to bully smaller businesses into taking mass shipments of inventory by manipulating prices. Don’t let them get away with this. There are few things more of a hassle than being massively overstocked. Negotiate prices and quantity to fit the needs of the business, not the needs of the supplier and their rep.
4. Organize by Product or SKU Code.
There is no such thing as too much organization in a small business. Make heavy use of shelves, labels and cabinets to keep inventory areas as clutter free as possible. There are several Sacramento CA storage companies that cater specifically to this need for small businesses. It may seem like overkill, but having everything neatly organized and accessible either by product or SKU code will make a world of difference when it comes time to take stock or find a specific item.
5. Clear inventory out when things get backed up.
There are bound to be times when inventory will get backed up. This can be due to an error in ordering or items just aren’t moving as quickly as anticipated. Rather than have a pallet of product gathering dust in a storage room, get it out on the floor and push it. Offering it at deep discount might cut the margin down, but getting the clutter out of the way and moving it to Greensboro self storage units will more than make up for the lost profits.
Inventory management is one of the cornerstones of any successful business, and especially a small business. Small companies can’t afford to let inventory linger or get lost. Implementing techniques to manage and control their inventory can allow small businesses to increase efficiency, productivity and profits.