To develop a small business into a medium-sized business, you will want to become a wizard as far as inventory management is concerned. As businesses expand, chaos can erupt if their inventory is disorganized and managed ineffectively. That’s why it pays to get the basics locked down while your company is still in its infancy.
Know Your SKUs And Barcodes
Just like a driver’s license is important for identifying a person, barcodes and SKUs are crucial for identifying products. Accurately recording this information is important for quickly locating and identifying items.
These numbers also help differentiate between similar products: For example different types of blue shirts or black trousers.
Make Sure You Have An Effective Order Processing And Fulfillment System
Imagine a restaurant where a waiter/waitress takes your order but doesn’t manage to deliver it to the chef. 40 minutes later and your food still hasn’t arrived. There is now a chance that that restaurant has lost you as a customer, all from a simple mishap.
You might think that something like that could never happen to your business, but what if you are short staffed one day, or simply get a massive influx of orders? Everybody is human and makes mistakes, which is why it pays to implant a system that is effective and can identify any broken links in the chain. Doing so will prevent customers’ orders getting lost, delayed, or being incorrect.
Understand Your Customers’ Buying Trends
To manage your inventory, you need to fully understand what your customers’ want, when they want it, and when they don’t want it. For example, if you sell fishing gear and a long weekend is coming up then chances are your sales are going to increase. It is a good idea to set up a yearly calendar that identifies the peaks and valleys of your sales.
Using one of Microsoft’s core programs is a simple and effective way to help manage your inventory. You can calculate costs, record SKU’s and barcodes, track what you sell and who to, determine which products are top sellers, and much more.
Of course, if you’re not fluent in Excel, then you may need to do some self-study. For example, if you want to track how many hours from an item’s dispatch date until its estimated arrival time, then Excel Semi Pro is a good resource to help you brush up on these skills.
Undertake Regular Audits Of Your Inventory
No matter how good you, your team, and your systems are, mistakes will be made. Suppliers can also inadvertently send you the wrong stock. That’s why it pays to carry out regular inventory audits (about once a month is ideal). Doing so will help you identify any errors and correct them.
Managing inventory isn’t easy, especially if your business is rapidly expanding. That’s why you need to get the basics sorted out earlier rather than later. By setting up effective systems and organizational practices, you will be able to steer your company forward without stuffing up orders and losing customers.