Small businesses may not have to store as many items as a large retailer, but they face inventory control challenges of their own. These include limited storage space, higher inventory carrying costs, or lack of a dedicated inventory team to address issues fast. While every business tends to develop its own inventory control strategies, the culprits of poor control tend to be the same in most cases. Here are the usual suspects.
1. Late Planning
Inventory slips out of control when old products are not moving fast enough, or when seasonal fluctuations in demand fail to meet inventory predictions. Most inventory managers plan their inventory, but the best managers plan ahead and with precision. With a forecasting tool for small business planning your inventory a year ahead of time becomes a less daunting idea. Drawing on your steady build-up of data, you can then fine-tune your inventory plans at the end of each successive quarter.
2. Poor Tracking
Manual tracking methods are time-consuming and prone to errors. Computerized tracking isn’t perfect, either – some systems are slower than others and require more staff to operate effectively. What’s more, some systems may come with hardware limitations that make them usable only on certain platforms. It’s crucial to understand that a cloud inventory management software for small business needs an adequate inventory tracking solution to streamline your inventory control.
3. Overstocking Discounted Products
Small businesses usually enjoy making bulk purchases or taking advantage of any special offers suppliers have available. These offers, however, can be misleading. If these items won’t move fast enough, the cost of carrying them may actually exceed any profits. The problem is that if your inventory control system isn’t advanced enough, it can be hard to track the cost of carrying products over time. If they are not carefully categorized, they can get lost in a mass of other products.
4. Neglected Trends
Customer trends are today easily influenced by social media and the Internet. In industries such as technology, beauty & health, or fashion, trends can shift almost overnight. If inventory control takes a good portion of your time, you won’t have enough time left to monitor industry trends. That’s why any inventory control business intelligence software that can automate repetitive inventory tasks can make it easier for you to keep up with the latest trends.
5. Limited Access to Inventory Control
You may think that keeping a tight rein on your inventory improves control, but that is not always the case. Your employees in the store can benefit from having quick access to the inventory. They can tell customers when to expect products that are not available, jot down stock notes, optimize order purchases, and more. Choose a cloud inventory management software for small business that allows for other users to view inventory data in real time. Even better is if your inventory app can help leave notes and inventory-related assignments.
With the right approach to inventory control, you will be able to see a smoother inventory flow in and out of your store. Customer satisfaction will go up, and so will you sales.