has come a long way in recent years. It is no longer necessary to spend long hours filling in excel spreadsheets and manually counting parts and products. For any business operating from even a modest inventory, getting the basics right can enable better efficiency from the warehouse to the sales floor and generate better and more sustainable profits and forecasting. Let’s look at some of the main ways you can streamline your inventory management to get your business humming along.
Get the right software
By far the most important thing you can do is to choose the right inventory management software for your business. This should be a top priority as there are a wealth of platforms designed to ultimately do the streamlining for you. While most inventory management systems provide the same overall functions, they each have their strengths and weaknesses. It can be helpful to ask yourself what features are necessary for your business before you research which products offer what.
Choose the right features
Let’s take a look at some basic functions of inventory management software that enables streamlining and efficiency:
Mobile inventory management
Thanks to huge advances in technology and software platforms that make use of it, mobile devices are affordable and easy to use. This makes it possible even for smaller businesses to utilise accurate, real-time inventory ordering and sales via tablet, smartphone or iPad. This will help provide customers with exact information as well as enable accurate and lean inventory control.
Integration with existing software
For most businesses, being able to integrate their inventory management system with existing software is a great advantage. In regards to the wider efficiency and streamlining of your company’s operations, integration should be a priority. For example, if you’re already using an accounting platform that you’re happy with, see which inventory software offers integration. It will save you hours of retraining and mean minimal changes to your current systems.
Accurate report generation and forecasting
Forecasting and intuitive ordering are crucial parts of a streamlined business. While forecasting usually needs the hands-on skill and experience of a team member, an efficient inventory management system makes this task easier and more effective. The generation of accurate reports provides the necessary information to make this possible. Without these in place, your business will be operating blind.
Accurate parts and product ordering
If your business runs on inventory then correct and timely ordering is an absolute must. Inventory management software has been designed to make this as streamlined as possible. Whether you’re reselling or manufacturing from parts, the aim of the game is to have as little capital tied up in inventory as possible and to ensure the necessary items are ordered no sooner or later than needed.
Some overall suggestions
Aside from the management platform, there are some other basic suggestions to think about.
It is important to ensure that whatever streamlining systems your company puts in place are getting used by everyone. It is surprisingly common for this to not be the case. An obvious problem area is in the warehouse. Warehouse managers tend to be busy people and don’t always have the time to keep abreast of the paper work. Provided you have an effective system and management platform, and your staff are well trained, then these types of issues can be eliminated.
Keep forecasting simple
There are many forecasting tools and techniques available but for the sake of streamlining, choose one that is simple and effective.
Make demand and supply plans
If you have a diverse range or parts or products in your inventory it can be a good idea to develop individual demand and supply plans. The hours you invest to begin with will pay off in the long run. Lean inventory and correct ordering will help you to both streamline your operations and maximise your profits.