We’re just a few months into the new year, so millions of people have already made New Year’s Resolutions that they’ve sworn they’re going to keep in order to make this a great year. And by now they’ve hopelessly broken them and returned to their old habits.
But don’t despair. You don’t have to wait for the start of a new year to make changes. For example, you can start by making changes to the way you manage inventory that will yield big results over the course of this year and beyond.
Of course, you should never change things lightly. You’ve got to replace old habits with new ones that will make a real difference in your business. It’s time to not just say “Out with the old, in with the new,” but “win with the new.” That’s why I’m offering four suggestions of inventory management tactics you can use starting now to enjoy a win.
Out: Write Down Inventory Numbers on Paper
Win: Track Inventory Digitally
It’s common for small businesses to simply use notepads and pens to write down information about the products they have in stock. That’s fine. They don’t have huge operations and they also don’t have much money to invest in a solution to help them do that work more efficiently.
But over time they’ll grow and discover that they can’t keep doing business as usual. Even if it’s just inputting data into Excel spreadsheets, anything is better than relying on handwritten notes. Those can get lost, spilled on, jumbled, or become otherwise unusable. Try using barcode scanners and a digital inventory tracking system to see a major jump in your efficiency and the accuracy of your inventory counts.
Out: Guess How Many Products to Reorder
Win: Base Ordering Decisions on Data
How much lead time should you give yourself to make sure you don’t run out of products while you’re waiting for new orders to arrive? How many products should you order at one time so you don’t wind up with too many or too few? If you don’t have the right data you’ll have a hard time answering these questions.
Going with the first point, if you use some sort of inventory software you can set up automatic reorder points on all of your products so you won’t run into this problem. You can plan for seasonal changes in demand and prevent excessive overstock and shortages. Take the guesswork out of ordering.
Out: Let What Happens Happen
Win: Set Goals and Stick to Them
A company that has the attitude of “Que sera sera” won’t last long. Switch from being reactive to proactive. Instead of waiting for problems, such as unreliable supply chains and old manufacturing practices, to balloon into disasters that affect your customers, be on the lookout for areas for improvement in your operations. Keep track of your suppliers’ performance over time and make changes if necessary. Use more modern technology and practices to start saving time and money in your warehouse and keep production moving smoothly.
Replace “Que sera sera” with “Carpe diem” in your mind.
Out: Allow Unnecessary Access to Sensitive Data
Win: Create User Rights
Do you have an open-book policy when it comes to allowing employees access to sensitive inventory information? This could be literally true if you still use a pen and paper to manage inventory. Inundating employees with all sorts of spreadsheets and data that they don’t need to do their jobs only increases your risk of errors or other issues creeping in.
This goes back to using an inventory solution and being proactive. Establish user rights to give employees access to only those parts of the software they need in order to complete their assigned tasks. This protects you from data breaches and also makes the software easier to navigate.
Ready When You Are
There’s no time like the present to change the way you approach inventory management. When you’ve had enough of the old way of doing things, you’ll know what to do. Whether you read this at the start of the year or any other time of year, the message is the same: Say “win” and contact us now!
We thank Robert Lockard, for his contributing his insights.