Three of the best inventory management techniques every SME should be using

If you’re in the manufacturing, warehousing, retail or distribution industries, you understand the challenges of staying up to date with the best inventory management techniques.

Working with similar companies across Australia and New Zealand, whenever we discuss inventory, it’s always bout how much everybody just hates keeping track of stock. And due to this disdain, business owners struggle with stock losses, wastages, and dead stock – all eating away at their bottom line.

Considering the amount of investment tied up in inventory, as well as its revenue potential, there are plenty of reasons to start treating your stock with more respect. Especially considering that stock-taking and inventory management don’t have to be painful. Ever wondered how the best-of-breed businesses do it?

Here are three of the best inventory management techniques to improve how you deal with your stock.

 

1.    Start treating your stock like cash

Start treating your stock like cash

You wouldn’t tolerate mismanagement of cash – so why tolerate mismanagement of stock? Start treating your stock like cash!

Most businesses don’t treat their stock with the same importance of cash. Mismanagement of cash wouldn’t be tolerated in most businesses – so why do so many businesses continue to mismanage stock?

When staff have little respect for stock, it gets neglected – stocktakes are inaccurate, products aren’t replenished, and there’s little accountability. And many businesses just don’t have the processes in place to easily track, monitor, and understand stock movements within the company. But that’s not an excuse when it directly impacts your bottom line.

If you want to minimise risk, losses, and wastage – you have to start treating stock like cash. That includes crunching the numbers in order to understand:

  • How much stock you’ve got coming in;
  • When you can expect that stock;
  • How quickly you will move the stock;
  • When you’ll need to re-order;
  • From whom you re-order to get the best price; and
  • How much you need to order to get the best price.

Getting some process and rigor in place around understanding your stock, allows you to plan better for the future, avoid making unnecessary orders, and make smart decisions based on actual data.

2.    Improving your DIFOT performance with automation

One of the reasons staff hate dealing with stock so much is because it’s just so tediously manual. And it’s not surprising why staff dislike stocktakes, placing replenishment orders, and following up late deliveries – there’s not much to love. But it still needs to get done if you want to meet your DIFOT objectives.

So how do you kill two birds with one stone? Automate!

With automation, not only do you save your staff from manual, error-prone tasks they hate doing – you’re also very likely to improve your DIFOT ratings through sheer efficiency. And that helps you stay ahead of competitors who are late to the automation party.

With the right inventory management system, you could automate a range of stock-related tasks. For example, with automated workflows and reports you can set your system up to:

  • Detect which stock items are nearing depletion, and notify your staff;
  • Create an auto-replenishment request to your chosen suppliers for items low in stock;
  • Identify and notify suppliers when they have not delivered on time or in full.

Here’s an example of how we detect items low in stock using HARMONiQ.

Here’s a report generated by HARMONiQ that highlights exactly which items are low in stock. Allowing you prioritise replenishments.

Here’s a report generated by HARMONiQ that highlights exactly which items are low in stock. Allowing you prioritise replenishment orders.

 

HARMONiQ can even suggest replenishment orders for a particular supplier based on the min, max and reorder quantities on each stock item – all based on previous sales history.

HARMONiQ can even suggest replenishment orders for a particular supplier based on the min, max and reorder quantities on each stock item – all based on previous sales history.

 

3.    More functionality to better support your staff and customers

Accurate inventory figures makes for better-informed and more confident sales staff

Empower your staff with visibility over accurate stock information – allowing them to confidently make sales and avoid disappointing customers.

There are few things more tiresome than inaccurate stock data – this kind of misinformation results in frustrated staff, and even more frustrated customers.

So how do you,

  1. Make sure your inventory data is up-to-date and accurate?
  2. Give your staff access to it?

Firstly, you need to make sure you have an inventory system that’s capable of integrating with your POS (Point of Sale) system – so any time an order is placed, your inventory system is automatically updated, with no lag times due to data entry.

Secondly, choose an inventory system that gives all staff visibility over all inventory data, whether they’re back in operations, or customer-facing at retail stores. This arms them with the knowledge to make sales confidently, and accurately predict delivery times for out-of-stock items. By shaping your customers’ expectations accurately – you’ll be minimising the chance of disappointing them, and driving them to competitors.

So if your systems are currently not supporting you with accurate, automated and insightful inventory management, consider HARMONiQ.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning System is an all-in-one platform with advanced inventory management functionality. Including:

  • Advanced reporting to give you insights into inventory movement and performance. Create reports to show you exactly how stock is behaving, who your big buyers are, and who hasn’t ordered in a while. Make better decisions by being better informed about your inventory.
  • Customisable workflows to automate everything from stock replenishment to late delivery notifications to suppliers, allowing you to get rid of manual processes, and improve against your DIFOT objectives.
  • All-in-one platform with seamless integration to POS systems to provide all staff with visibility of accurate stock figures to better serve customers.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise for exceptional inventory and stock management. As a truly customisable and scalable software, HARMONiQ ensures that the software will continue to grow alongside your business.

If you’re looking for a system that supports improved inventory management techniques, let me give you an introduction to HARMONiQ in a quick, personal demo.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging great technology, please call me on 02 9542 2000 or email me at drew@micronet.com.au.

 

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

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