Small Business Inventory Management Tips

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By Adrian Cruce

Inventory and order management are crucial operations that businesses have to do properly. When inventories are not tracked in an effective way, various mistakes appear, like delayed orders, customers being lost and missed orders. If you want to make your inventory management better, you have to be organized. Here are some great tips that are particularly helpful for small businesses.

Inventory Product Types

Businesses generally need to use 4 different product types for inventory purposes:

  • Item – The simple product delivered to a warehouse, without assembling effort or packaging.
  • Family – Similar variants or items from a parent. As an example, when you have the same t-shirt in 3 colors and sizes you have 9 variants in one family.
  • Assembly – Items that have to be assembled through the use of smaller parts in warehouses.
  • Case Pack – An item multiple bundled in one, like a case pack with 12 sunglasses that are sold to a wholesaler and then ends up individually sold.

Maintain Records Of Product Specifications, Barcodes And SKU Numbers

Just like with your ID, all products need unique ID numbers. They are known as SKU (stock keeping unit). The SKU is simply vital for an internal use since there are situations where specific products have to be quickly located. An SKU makes organization really simple. At the same time, it helps to differentiate between highly similar products, sometimes between different companies.

It should be added that when you work with another company, the UPC number is needed. This is similar to the SKU but is a barcode that is to easily be scanned and then looked up through a database. Barcodes bring up the different products from different companies, helping avoid confusions.

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The last thing that should be mentioned is that a listing system is necessary and has to be built based on product specifications. Your listings should include details like product name, UPC number, SKU number, color, description, price, size, weight and dimensions.

Quality Over Quantity

Small business inventory management gets easier when the company focuses on quality products, assembly lines and more. It should go without saying but making smart investments always makes things better. For instance, when you run an assembly line, having really high quality machines helps reduce the number of workers you need and items stored in your inventory.

Fortunately, it is very easy to find information about all the latest tech gadgets you could invest in. just visit sites that review products and you will quickly realize the fact that other people did the research for you. Buy just high quality inventory items to make categorizing them much simpler.

Track Selling Details

So much data about company products and consumers is now available. You need to try to answer various questions as a business owner, like:

  • What are the best selling products?
  • When will sales increase?
  • What customers buy more?
  • How Many customers are repeat customers?

If you cannot track such information, your small business inventory management is automatically flawed. The very best companies will always measure all key metrics in order to increase customer lifetime value, purchase sizes and sales. In inventory management you do need to think about things like the money needed to get a new customer or items that are needed for growth.

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Monthly Inventory Audits

You can use the best technology and still have discrepancies between what exists and what is recorded. This is why it is so important that you perform monthly inventory audits. Inventory often gets stolen, thrown away, damaged and misplaced. When audits happen you can easily prevent some major possible future roadblocks.

All you have to do is print out sheets with product names, SKU and inventory numbers in your books. Extra blank spaces should be added in the same line with the products. This is where you quickly add the inventory number you count and can figure out if the system matches what the stock actually holds.

Final Thoughts

Never underestimate the importance of inventory management as a small or large business. You have to quickly go through the needed steps to be sure you know exactly what you have in stock. Be sure that you always do this at the right time and that you never postpone the tasks.