Follow These Tips to Reduce Inventory Error and Watch Your Business Thrive - Guest Contributor
Updated: Jun 7
This article was contributed by Marcus Lansky firstname.lastname@example.org
Successful small businesses are run by entrepreneurs who care about their customers and stand behind their products. If you have an inventory-based business, your passion won’t be enough to make your business thrive, and you’ll need to learn how to handle and prevent inventory management mishaps to grow a successful business. Avoid obsolete inventory, prevent wrong shipments to clients, and fix data entry issues to watch your business thrive.
Develop an Inventory Strategy
If you don’t have an organized inventory strategy, make one! No small business can avoid countless inventory errors without an inventory management protocol. Clearly define each and every step of inventory handling, from inventory arriving at your storage warehouse to organizing it in the storage space, tracking stock, and finding and shipping inventory to the right clients. Write down this protocol and post it in a place where all employees can read it. Then, train your staff to follow this strategy, and plan a refresher training course in a few months so that all employees are following inventory protocol.
Portable Management Platform
As part of your inventory strategy, make sure your inventory system is completely automated and portable. You want your staff to be able to access information in real-time, whether they are in the warehouse or the office. Investing in a mobile inventory management platform that can be accessed on smartphones or tablets will reduce inventory errors such as over-ordering inventory, keeping an accurate inventory count, and ensuring your whole team can access inventory data wherever and whenever they need it.
Hold Your Warehouse Manager Accountable
You want your staff to be a successful team, but when you’re managing your inventory, you’ll need to have one person who’s accountable for the inventory. With too many cooks in the kitchen, you may experience costly mistakes such as over-ordering inventory, duplicating a sending order, or even sending the wrong item to a customer. Your manager will keep an eye on inventory, check other employee’s work for errors, and train new hires in the inventory management strategy to keep your business running smoothly. If you’re in the market for a new warehouse manager, try a freelancer first, and look to job sites like Upwork.com to connect you with quality candidates. Once you find someone who can whip your warehouse system into shape, you may decide to bring them on full-time.
Physical Inventory Checks
If you have an automated system, and you and your staff follow a protocol when receiving and shipping inventory, you’ll have far fewer inventory errors, and you won’t waste your time and energy trying to manage past mistakes. Despite the automated system, you do still need to perform occasional physical inventory checks, and count items to ensure they match the inventory listed in your software. This is the best way to prevent future errors.
As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a huge warehouse. If you’re stacking extra products in the corner of the office, you won’t be able to efficiently keep track of your inventory, organize your stock, or easily find inventory when you need it. Don’t try to fit a large inventory into a tiny space, but make use of all the square footage you have. Is there an unused outdoor space you can put to good use? Constructing a free-standing steel building is cost-effective and easy, and you’ll avoid expensive inventory mistakes. Before you install the building, however, explore your options and choose the frame that will best suit the needs of your business.
Small business owners have to keep track of every part of their business, and having a good inventory strategy is one of the most important things to ensure you won’t make any major inventory mistakes. Develop a clear inventory strategy, hire a great manager, invest in a portable inventory management platform, and find storage solutions to minimize these mistakes and increase your profits.