Inventory control is one of the main concerns of businesses that have large inventory investments, such as retailers, wholesalers, restaurateurs, and manufacturers. The purpose of inventory control is to maximize the use of a company’s inventory and gain profit from it without intruding upon customer satisfaction levels.
In order to remain profitable, you need to implement cost-saving and profit-boosting inventory control strategies. Below are seven proven tips that you can apply.
1. Categorize Your Inventory
Check out your inventory. There must be items that need more attention than others. Therefore, you should not treat all of your inventory the same way.
Using ABC techniques is the easiest way to categorize your inventory. Items in category A require the most attention since its financial impact is quite significant although sales are unpredictable.
Items in category C require less attention, because they have smaller financial impact, despite the high frequency of sales. Meanwhile, goods in category B fall somewhere in between.
2. Determine Your Minimum Stock Levels
Make inventory control easier by setting up minimum stock levels for each product. This will make it easier for you to replenish your stocks and prevent shortages.
Minimum stock levels can be determined based on how quickly an item sells and how long it takes to get it back from your supplier. Make sure your procurement team oversees stock levels regularly so that replenishment can be done on time.
Note: With an inventory management system, you can receive low stock alerts whenever your items reach predetermined minimum levels. Thus, your procurement team won’t have to keep an eye on your inventory levels at all times.
3. Use Integrated Inventory Control Software
There is no more effective way to optimize inventory control than using an automated inventory solution. Not only does an inventory management system help you optimize stock levels, but also allows you to forecast inventory needs, monitor stock movements from one warehouse to another, track shipments, carry out inventory valuations, and a lot more.
For optimal efficiency, consider choosing inventory management software that can be integrated with other systems such as purchasing and accounting. This will make it easier for you to keep inventory costs under control so that you can significantly save costs and easily manage your purchases.
4. Store Your Items Properly
One of the main causes of inventory damage and spoilage is improper storage. It can also complicate the picking process. Therefore, it is important for you to provide suitable storage rooms for your items.
Make sure the temperature in each storage room is well controlled so that perishable items like food do not get damaged quickly. Check the condition of your racks and make sure there are no termites that can damage your items. Do not put too much stuff in one rack to prevent items from overlapping or rubbing against each other.
You can put your high-selling items in the front storage area or in an easily accessible aisle so your staff can easily pick them up and move them to a packaging or shipping area. As for your low-selling items, you can put them in the rear storage area.
5. Implement FIFO & FEFO Techniques
To reduce the risk of damage or spoilage, consider implementing First-In-First-Out (FIFO) and First-Expired-First-Out (FEFO) techniques. FIFO means prioritizing your oldest items to be sold first, while FEFO means prioritizing the items with the deadline for the next intake to be sold first (perfect for food and drug products).
In addition to reducing waste, both FIFO and FEFO techniques also help optimize inventory turnover which ultimately helps increase your business revenue and profits.
6. Optimize Your Inventory Replenishment
You must analyze the performance of your suppliers. Do they always manage to fulfill your demand in a timely manner? Are they always contactable? Is the quality of their products always good?
In addition to assessing supplier performance, you must also assess your own performance as a buyer. Do you always pay your bills on time? Are the purchase orders (PO) that you sent complete and clear? Do you always read your suppliers’ quotations thoroughly?
To make it easier for you to smoothen stock replenishment, consider using EQUIP Purchasing. With this software, you can automatically create POs, requests for quotations (RFQs), and purchase agreements. You can also maintain all your suppliers’ details and view your transaction history with them. You can even allow them to submit their RFQs and invoices by themselves through a supplier portal.
7. Perform Inventory Audits Regularly
Although in most cases, you have been (or will be) relying on software, it is still important to perform stock taking to ensure the reconciliation between the physical amount of inventory and your accounting data.
Cycle counting with more frequent schedules will make it easier for you to minimize errors or any discrepancies between on-hand inventory and computer data. Unlike full physical inventory, cycle counting does not require extra time and energy since it can be done anytime.
With an inventory management system, you won’t need to check your stocks manually by writing them down on paper. You can record your stock availability using a barcode scanner that is integrated with the system. Duplicate entries can be identified so that errors can be minimized. In essence, inventory audits can be performed quickly, easily, and accurately with the help of an automated inventory solution.