We all know what is Inventory management, and that it is the the success meter for any online selling business. This means inaccurate stock levels can lead to missing potential sales opportunities which may not knock your door again and again.
So, do you have an inventory management strategy for 2017?
Stock management capabilities over the years
Rewind a decade ago, managing inventory was altogether a different game. From coordinating with suppliers over the phone to manually tracking stock level for future requirements, technology is surely making it easy for sellers to manage and maintain stock requirements.
Let’s take a look at the ever-changing inventory management techniques:
Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) is an automated data collection system that has been supporting the retail industry over the past couple years. Available in components like tags, reader’s, antenna, and software-based models, RFID makes it easy to scan products in larger quantity and at a great speed.
This is another innovative technology that is helping sellers to keep a track of inventory that comes in and goes out of the warehouse. Available as a device/software, Barcode scanner consists of a light source, a lens, and light sensor that allow sellers to scan and view a large amount of information about a product from one place. This automatically can eliminate the risk of product availability across multiple warehouses.
Not so old, cloud computing software is making is helping sellers to avoid the hassle of manually maintaining stock requirements over the cloud. Apart from reducing errors, this innovative technology is seen to be a quickly adaptive method of inventory management for sellers across the globe. Offering a centralized inventory dashboard, product details can be instantly accessed over smartphones, tablets, and of course computers too.
Barcode scanner can be the most common technology used by sellers to manage products movements across their multiple warehouses, however, with the popularity of smartphones usage inventory management mobile apps is helping sellers to access their products on-the-go. Apart from allowing sellers to track inventory stock levels, mobile apps is lately offering real-time communication capabilities to pick, pack and replenish products from the place you are.
Things you can do for managing inventory in 2017
Ensure you are able to track supply-demand balance in real-time
Having real-time inventory management capabilities you can easily keep track of your stock availability. Therefore, eliminating the hassle of manually counting products you can save hours and always ensure you are able to fulfil every sales order that come in.
Have a safety lock/buffer stock
Implementing point number 1 you can surely ensure accurate inventory levels, however, considering Holidays or rush of orders for the same product can hamper you from fulfilling your customer’s sales orders in time. Therefore, having a safety lock/buffer stock for your best selling products can help your continue fulfilling your customer’s sales orders during the delay in procuring and stocking the required products.
Have a centralized access for all your suppliers
I’m sure sellers deal with multiple suppliers to ensure they receive products in time whenever required the most. However, not being able to communicate purchase order details in time can lead to delay in fulfilling your potential customer’s order, which can automatically create a negative impression of your brand in the market. Therefore, bringing all your suppliers at one place will make it easy to track stock availability with your suppliers and place orders with the ones that are sure of fulfilling your stock requirement in time.
Make use of big data
Last, you would like to keep a track on your stock performance of previous years. This becomes helpful to ensure you are able to fulfil your daily sales order requirements, as well, as prepare yourself well in advance for rush days or even during major Holidays of 2017.
Mistakes you should avoid while managing inventory in 2017
Managing multiple warehouses separately
With the expansion of your selling business, you may have to expand your number of warehouses to ensure quick stock availability. However, ensure you don’t manage them separately as an error of stock update in one warehouse can affect the stock level in your other warehouses too.
Using different channels to track supply chain management process
From placing a purchase order to procuring and receiving stock in your warehouse and then dispatching it to your high-end customers, supply chain process can create confusion if each step is managed separately. Therefore, dealing with your suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, logistics and customers via their individual accounts can automatically bring a halt to the supply chain management process in case of errors or even miscommunications.
Manual synchronization of inventory
With the advancement of inventory management technology over the years, sellers who are still managing their inventory manually may end up spending more time and in worst cases lead to costly errors. And, dealing with multiple sales channels including your retail store manual synchronization may affect stock management and growth for your selling business.
Unable to customize inventory management capabilities as per requirements
You may already have inventory management software in place; however, not being able to cope up with product management capabilities as per your business requirements can automatically hamper growth.
With the convenience of 24/7 shopping ability online, your inventory management capabilities will determine the success of your selling business. Therefore, focusing on the above you can enhance your inventory management operations and allow make the most out of your stock in 2017.
Good Luck and a Happy New Year!!
Savio Fernandes is a writer who influences. Writing for over three years at Orderhive, he is currently focused in offering eCommerce and retail solutions for start-ups and medium business owners.
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