Inventory management can be a difficult task, especially as your business and the demand for your products increases. Inaccurate and inefficient inventory management can cause customer dissatisfaction, thus paralyzing the entire business process.
Proper inventory management can lead to several positive outcomes for your business. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty stem from a business being able to deliver needed goods and services in a timely manner while keeping quality standards high. It’s important to streamline your inventory management process so you can focus on your customer’s needs and the needs of your business.
If you’re operating a production, sales, and distribution business, you need to take advantage of these inventory management hacks.
1. Reorganize your space with pallet racks
A typical warehouse has so much equipment, employees, and activities that make the space overcrowded. This is why you need pallet racks. Pallet racking comes in handy when you’re dealing with processing and shipping in the same space. By using these racking systems, you can maximize your warehouse floorplan for increased productivity and workplace safety.
You need to spare a significant area of your warehouse space for forklift access and safe passage. You can optimize this space using pallet racks. There are pallet types like the double deep racking system that allows you to maximize the usage of the cubic space. By allowing your inventory to grow higher in your warehouse, you leave extra space on the floorplan for things like emergency stations and equipment parking.
It may be time to make use of pallet racks if your warehouse has many moving parts. Pallet racks will reduce injury probabilities and minimize clutter. This way, you will no longer be worried about litigation and incurring extra insurance charges from injuries in your warehouse.
Besides, organizing your inventory in pallet racks prevents damages from floods or other unforeseen hazards. Any damage to your inventory can lead to losses and shortages, thus affecting your income. With these racks, you don’t have to stack your items on top of each other. The space is sufficient to store your inventory in each rack.
It’s important when using these racking systems to properly train your employees on best practice standards. Make sure each employee is aware of any emergency and cleanup stations. Make sure employees are trained in the use of specialized equipment, such as fork lifts and pallet jacks. Make sure there is a culture of safety and awareness instilled in those who are managing the warehouse space daily.
2. Adopt an inventory management software
It’s quite possible that you may have encountered a situation where demand is high, but you can’t fulfill orders due to insufficient inventory or a disorganized warehouse. It can get even more frustrating when your customers complain about late deliveries or when some orders go to the wrong destination. However, with inventory management software, that will no longer be a worry.
An inventory management software will improve accuracy and efficiency. With features like just-in-time and FIFO inventory management methods, you no longer have to worry about dealing with damaged and expired goods since you keep only the items you need.
With modern-day technology, you can get an in-depth look at your current inventory stock and business practices. There are tools available today that weren’t available to warehouse managers in decades past. Many business owners today can use this information to quickly and effectively pivot their marketing strategies. Quickly discover which items aren’t selling, and use this information to create promotions and incentives for your customers to clear your inventory.
You may quickly find that the inventory your company is used to selling in years past, is no longer making your business profitable. By pivoting what inventory your company is promoting and stocking, you won’t lose out on potential opportunities to land a profit. Innovative companies can use this data to invent new and exciting products that can sometimes alter the entire course of the industry. By becoming more familiar with what customers truly want, new standards and breakthroughs are often made in businesses.
If you intend to source data for planning, most management software has barcode scanning abilities that allow you to transfer data quickly. With this data, you will know who are your biggest customers, improve inventory management, and understand what customer demand reveals about your business. This data is also useful to your manufacturers, investors, and managers.
Inventory management used to be a giant task to undertake, requiring several employees, hours of paperwork, and oftentimes many discrepancies. This is no longer the case with modern technology. An inventory management software allows you to accurately track inventory and quickly scan in bar codes for a streamlined process.
3. Inventory audit and inspection
It’s easier to manipulate stock than other business assets, and that’s why it’s important to conduct a routine audit and inspection. You can check whether the items on the shelves are the same as those on the records. Besides, you’ll also understand how many items in your warehouse are under or over-stocked. By keeping a routine schedule of audits and inspections, you can easily track more information about your business.
Which items are degrading or breaking faster than others? Which items are customers purchasing more of? What items are just sitting on the shelf unsold for large periods of time? Answering these questions can often help a business develop and venture into new and profitable territory. In-depth knowledge of your inventory can give you insight into your customer’s needs.
An audit and inspection of your assets allow you to stock your warehouse efficiently and make only the necessary inventory investments. You can also evaluate the effectiveness of the procedures in your warehouse and identify issues that may ruin the inventory management process.
Developing these good procedures also helps keep a high trust level between employees and managers. Accountability is easy to track when these practices are in place. By keeping these standards high, managers can quickly assess whether an employee is detrimental to the overall productivity of the business. By keeping warehouse standards high, the quality of the employees you hire and keep will also naturally improve.
4. Maintain a good rapport with suppliers
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your supplier is an excellent way to manage your stock. The suppliers need to trust you and feel like part of your business. This way, you’ll be in a better place to negotiate prices or payment methods.
A good rapport is not only about acting friendly but also involves effective communication. Inform your suppliers when there are changes in demand, which can assist in production planning. This can afford them more freedom to let you know when there are new offers or when they can’t deliver some items fast.
Technological advancements help facilitate this process further. By cataloging your inventory effectively and setting specific inventory levels, suppliers can be given a login that allows them to quickly see what your company needs more of, and ship those items automatically. This convenience allows employers and managers to spend less time crunching numbers and making phone calls and allows them to focus to day to day functions, employee management, and strategic planning.
5. Predict sales and demand for accurate ordering
Under or overstocking can cause significant losses for your business. Evaluating previous sales and demand records helps to forecast what you might need in the future. You can also take advantage of seasonal changes and consumer behaviors to understand how many items you need the next time you restock. You’ll no longer have to worry about purchasing less or more than you need if you have an accurate sales forecast.
This is where real change for your business can take place. Many people believe that the economy is relatively stable, but few realize that the marketplace is constantly in a state of flux. Even the slightest change in world politics, manufacturing demands, or a variety of other areas of the world economy, can have drastic effects on your business.
By predicting your sales and allowing your business to pivot in different directions, you can always anticipate your customer’s needs. Inventory management allows you to see potential threats to your business, whether from new importing tariffs, a change in the nation’s economy, or even from outdated products or practices.
For example, a cellphone manufacturer may want to halt their production of flip-phones once they learn that more and more customers are beginning to buy single screen touch phones like the iPhone. This is just one example of this occurring many times across various industries in the past several decades. We can be sure that further innovations will lead to similar impacts in the marketplace in years to come.
Effective inventory management may be what you need to take your business to the next level. A proper inventory management system helps your business save money by helping to keep your inventory undamaged. It helps you more accurately order new inventory as it’s needed, and it keeps your employees safer by keeping the warehouse space free from tripping hazards. Implement the tips mentioned above, and you’ll see your enterprise grow significantly in terms of customer satisfaction and overall profits.