Business owners face many challenges, with a constant need to effectively manage staff and exceed customer expectations. However, a common problem that often needs addressing is inventory or stock management

Managing your stock levels and implementing convenient processes never seems to be a priority, but it can create massive headaches for staff and business owners when it’s not done. If you’ve had enough of chaotic stock practices, here are some practical tips you may find helpful. 

Picture: Denny Muller/Unsplash 

 

Invest in Helpful Software

Using systems like Pronto software can be a game-changer in the stock and inventory management world. In the blink of an eye, you can go from not knowing where anything is or how much you have of something to being able to track a product from the manufacturer to you and then the customer. 

Stock control software can also assist with automating previously labor-intensive processes, reconciliating statements to save your accounting department headaches, expense claim solutions, and much more. 

 

Review Supplier Performance

Sometimes, it’s not just your stock practices that require improvement but those of your suppliers. Start taking note of how long stock from specific suppliers takes to arrive, whether they arrive in perfect condition, and whether you have an open line of communication. 

If you don’t handle stock directly, talk to your team about their experiences with your suppliers. If you’re in the middle of a stocking overhaul, you can use this opportunity to reconsider the suppliers you use. 

 

Record All Product Information

While our brains are excellent at retaining information, that doesn’t mean it’s best practice to store all stock-related information in your head. Whether you only carry a dozen items in stock or several hundred, get into the habit of recording all product information in a database. 

Generally, you can do this by recording the barcode data from the manufacturer. If you register how much the item costs you, how much you can sell it for, and how much you have in stock, you can always know when to order more and what your profit margin is. 

 

Perform Stock Takes

Even if you have inventory management systems and software, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to carry out stocktaking checks. This process involves performing manual reviews of all stock and comparing it to what you have in your system. By performing stock takes every few months (or at least once a year), you can be alerted to any discrepancies, which may relate to theft, miscounting, and other issues. 

 

Get to Know Your Products

When you start using stock control software, it’s easy to get into the habit of seeing every product as a number on the screen without getting to know what those products are and how they work with each other. 

Understanding each item in your inventory is crucial for ensuring your stock warehouse runs as productively as possible. For example, some products might be more in demand than others, which means they are continually being removed and restocked. As a result, it may make sense for these products to be put in the most convenient location. 

You might also have several products that relate to each other and are often sold together, such as a bike and helmet. Consider placing these together to save your team time when picking and packing orders. 

 

Stock control doesn’t have to be complicated, but effective management can take preplanning and possibly even expert advice. Consider giving your inventory processes a complete overhaul using some of the practical advice above. You may be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.