Common Sense Solutions to Common Inventory Issues
As you grow your small business, inventory management becomes increasingly important. After all, the products you sell are your bread and butter, and you don’t want an empty plate. While some growing pains are to be expected, you can avoid many common mishaps by implementing a few simple procedures. Read on for more insight.
Compare Order Details to the Products You Pull
Things get mislabeled; there’s really no getting around that. Your warehouse staff might get in a hurry, or they might not understand the differences between similar products. Unfortunately, As Shippit explains, sending your customers the wrong item is an inconvenient mistake that they will remember the next time they need to place an order. One way to avoid this obstacle is to physically compare their order details to the item that’s being packed. You’ll also want to ensure that the box being used is labeled with the correct address.
Utilize a Barcode System in Your Warehouse.
Warehouse organization can also keep you from sending the wrong items. Plus, when everything has a place — and is in it — you can keep expenses down by not having to replenish items that you have but can’t see. There are a few ways to organize your shelves. Adding a barcoding system is the most efficient, particularly if you have a large storage space and run a continual production line. Business expert Sam Moses tells Camcode that barcoding may even reduce the need for expensive warehouse space.
Keep Your Inventory Fresh and Up to Date
Another aspect of maintaining organization is to know your inventory and keep it fresh. And there are few better ways to do this than by rotating stock. Accounting Coach explains that grocery stores do this when restocking shelves. But even if you don’t deal in perishable items, it’s a good idea to move your longest-held items to the front of the line. Not only will this help you use up older inventory, but it can also serve as a visual of what is selling and what’s sitting stagnant. As an added benefit, rotating your inventory will help you put eyes on what you have so that you can avoid holding onto trendy items that just aren’t moving.
Train Employees to Cross Reference Data
It is not enough to compare labels as items are leaving your warehouse; you also have to train your employees on how to properly intake arriving shipments. Whether you receive components to items you assemble yourself or whole products to resell, everyone involved in the receiving process should be taught how to accurately inventory new stock, which should include cross-referencing your company’s order to what’s been delivered. The importance of employee training is extremely important and should be something you prioritize in all departments.
Do Not Leave Order Processing Up to a Single Person
As mentioned earlier, people make mistakes. However, you can reduce many of these by simply implementing a system of checks and balances throughout your organization. For example, don’t leave order fulfillment and processing up to an individual. The same goes for any process where a miscalculation could lead to financial disaster. If you do not have the manpower to dedicate two sets of eyes, create an order checklist and require that it’s followed and signed off on for every order that leaves the building.
Running a small business is tough, but it’s made even tougher when you do not implement preemptive fixes to foreseeable problems. And when it comes to your inventory, organization, training, and attention to accuracy are the keys that can open the door to future growth.
Image via Pexels
Marcus Lansky was born with a spinal condition so severe that his parents were told he would never walk. Despite the odds against him, he learned to walk with the help of countless doctors, physical therapists, and cheerleaders. He specializes in helping people with disabilities start their own businesses.