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5 Ways for Small Businesses to Streamline Inventory Management

Posted Thu, April 24, 2014 by Julie Short

Staying buttoned up and accountable with your business is crucial – and especially so in regards to your inventory. Inefficiencies or inaccuracies in inventory management can waste money for your company and lead to unsatisfactory customer experiences. We’ve rounded up five of our most effective ways to streamline your inventory management system – all of which are straightforward to implement and will work in the long-term.


1. Accept and utilize new technology.


Inventory management software can help you – you guessed it – streamline your inventory management system. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, for example, can successfully take charge of planning and tracking inventory – almost as well as (or even better than) a new employee could. This type of software can be customized to your business to handle sales tracking, purchasing, and the myriad other aspects of inventory.


2. Focus your energy.


Inventory itself is hard to get a handle on – so focus your energy on the following categories in order to keep track of it. Replenishment; safety; and prevention and anticipation of extra or obsolete stock.


3. Use a cross-functional team.


Most of the time, many different departments within an organization will be involved with inventory.  It makes sense then, to use a cross-functional team to plan out your inventory: everyone will be on the same page, and you might hear from departments that aren’t getting their needs met.  Plus, you’ll be able to ensure that the stock you order coordinates with a given marketing campaign or smaller team’s efforts.


4. Focus on the supply chain.


We said earlier to focus on replenishment, safety, and avoiding obsolete stock – but you should also be paying close attention to your supply chain. Review all the different parts in your supply chain and make sure they are all working efficiently... one cog can throw off the whole inventory wheel. If you don’t already have one, implement a distribution strategy to improve customer service and delivery time. Don’t forget to keep track of the location of your inventory - everything from raw materials to finished goods. You can use spreadsheets to keep tabs on this, but customized inventory management or ERP software will take the headache – and a lot of wasted time – out of the equation.


5. Reduce inventory.


You can also streamline your inventory system by carrying fewer items. Reduction might not be right for everyone, but there’s something to be said for curation over just collection. When you have larger numbers of fewer items overall, you’ll find that it’s easier to predict quantities and to lower your amount of safety stock. If you want to offload some of your existing stock without just waiting to use or sell it, you can try returning it; reselling to other companies; giving it to your employees; or selling to customers at a reduced price.


Your inventory might be considerable in volume, but there’s no need for it to be more of a burden than it’s worth. Get in touch with us to learn more about the crazy-good things a solid inventory management system can do for your company.

 

Posted in : Business Strategy , ERP | 
Tags : inventory , ERP


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