Inventory management is an important part of running a business that shouldn’t be overlooked. Without the proper items in stock, it’s hard to be successful. Because of this, it’s extremely important that you have a good process laid out that you follow religiously. Managing so much product can sometimes seem difficult and overwhelming if you don’t know where to start; but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to improve your current inventory management practices, follow this step-by-step guide to get you going in the right direction.
Plan Your Stockroom Layout
One of the most important parts of good inventory management is having an organized stockroom. When you go to retrieve items to restock, it is essential that you know exactly where to go. If you have to spend 20 minutes sifting through all of your inventory to find the right product, you are setting yourself up for disaster.
If you’ve never taken the time, set aside some time this week to actually draw out the room and write down where each product will go. Designate each shelf space and section of shelves for similar items. If you don’t have shelves, consider purchasing some. Whether you do it by item type, alphabetically, or another system. Come up with something that works for your business and stick to it.
Create a System
Once you’ve planned out your stockroom layout, what system do you currently have in place to know what you have in stock at all times? Do you eyeball it or do you use a POS system to help? Have you given your products SKUs? The nice thing about this day and age is that there is an app or piece of software for just about everything now, including inventory management. Before you decide on what physical system you want to use to track your inventory, make sure come up with a plan on how to log your store products to make tracking easier.
Label Your Inventory
Now that you have a system, how should you track everything? The most important things every product at your business should have are:
You can also choose to add as much as you want to each product and include things like description, color, size, and weight as well. If you sell books, you’ll also need to log the ISBN numbers. Ultimately, the more organized and better labeled your products are, the less stressed you’ll be when it comes time to do inventory management for your business.
Log Vendor Information
That’s great if you’ve got all of your products labeled so they’re easy to find within your myriad of inventory, but what if you need to reorder? Do you remember what vendor to contact? Is there a specific representative of that vendor you are supposed to contact? This is another time a POS system would come in very handy. Certain POS systems actually save all of your product and vendor information in one easy-to-access spot. Along with the labels you gave your products, make sure to log the vendor information that corresponds with each product so you can very easily access the data when it comes time to reorder.
Once you’ve become comfortable with the basics, you can branch out and make your inventory management practices as robust as you want. The key to better practices is learning the art of automation. Integrate it with a system that will automatically track when you need to reorder any particular item. The more you can automate, the easier your life will become. Good luck!