how to manage inventory

How to Manage Inventory: A Guide for Businesses

VWB Blog 1 year ago 16

Did you know that many retail stores are planning big promotions because they have too much inventory?

When you don’t pay attention to sales or have an inventory process, you can put your business at risk.

If you want to build a successful business, you need to take control of your inventory.

Continue reading to discover the best tips on how to manage inventory, no matter what industry you’re in!

Build an Inventory Team

One of the best tips for learning how to manage inventory is to create a team.

Building an inventory team will help you know who is touching the inventory, making it easier to track. When everyone’s hands are on your products, things can easily go missing or get damaged. You want a team that feels confident unloading and ordering inventory to also prevent mistakes.

Inventory procedures should be completed by staff that is honest, organized, and motivated. Since audits can take time and involve a lot of numbers, you don’t want someone that will overlook anything. The more training you provide your team, the more hands-off you can be.

Set Pars

Even with a knowledgeable team at your side, you should use pars for ordering inventory.

When staff knows how much of a product they should have on hand, placing orders become simple. Depending on what your business is, you may need to have different pars for different times of the year.

The holidays impact store pars and restaurants often change pars in the off-season for certain ingredients. It may take time to gather data when determining pars, but you can look at sales from previous years for help.

Take note of anything you run out of or over-order. This will help you better manage your inventory and prevent items from going to waste.

Track Everything

Every time a product goes in or out of your business, it should be documented.

Many people use barcodes and QR codes to scan inventory, instead of typing in the long numbers for each item. Deciding between QR code vs inventory barcode scanners will depend on the types of products you have in inventory.

You can also use software and computer programs like Excel to track your products. Designate someone on your inventory team to track everything coming in and out. This is often a full-time job since there are many vendors and products to organize.

Invoices should always get saved for comparing future prices and products. If you don’t want boxes of invoices building up in your office, scan them into your computer. You can quickly find invoices once they are electronic and organized.

Unpack Boxes

Small business inventory management can be hard when you’re busy and understaffed.

To make life easier for everyone, have your inventory team unpack all of the products. Keeping inventory in boxes can make it difficult to determine when you need to place an order. It’s easy to think you have plenty of stock when you see all the boxes at a glance, but often, they are empty.

It takes a little longer when shipments come in, but this practice will help your business during peak hours. Instead of searching for items in the busiest moments, staff can quickly locate them.

Monitor Vendor Prices

Using software to track invoices and products comes with some benefits.

Many programs will create charts and graphs, showing exactly where you are losing money. They can identify how much the same product has gone up in price compared to their last purchase. These automated tools will prevent you from getting scammed and you’ll save some money.

Inventory management involves prices because you need to make efforts to get the best cost. Work with the representatives from your suppliers and don’t be afraid to ask about promotions or price concerns.

Keep Inventory in the Same Places

Running a company involves consistency, no matter how small the efforts may seem.

Keeping inventory in the same place can increase efficiency and prevent items from getting lost. You can use labels to identify where the stock should be placed in your storage room to avoid confusion.

This is a great strategy for managing inventory because it ensures products have room to get stored and won’t get overlooked. If you change inventory often, you can designate spots for seasonal items, this is common for restaurants and retail stores.

Consider Keeping Emergency Items in Stock

Whether you manage a coffee shop or home improvement store, you should consider keeping emergency stock of certain items.

If the items are perishable, you can order extra if you know that you’ll get an influx of orders. Try to put your emergency stash items in a separate spot so that staff doesn’t use them when it’s not necessary. Emergency stock can keep your company running and you won’t have to turn down customers, or at least not as many.

Once you use these items, order extra to replenish your stock and get prepared again.

Do You Know How to Manage Inventory Effectively?

Inventory is one of the most critical things when it comes to running a business.

Learning how to manage inventory can prevent theft and damage. It helps to have a trained team by your side to delegate tasks to and verify the accuracy of orders. Organizing should play a role in your routine, so do your best to stay consistent.

You can make your team more efficient with pars and labeled storage areas. Take time to invest in the items you’re already buying.

If you want to learn more about inventory management and running a business, check out our page for the latest content!

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