If yours is like many smaller businesses, you have inventory consisting of finished products for sale or raw materials for making the products or for servicing your clients’ needs. Whatever the situation, you’ve got “stuff,” and plenty of it.
Inventory control management is critical to the success of your company. That includes storage decisions to keep your inventory from overrunning your business. Here are a few tips for managing your inventory rather than letting it control you.
Figure out what’s important. Not all inventory is equal. For some businesses, 20 percent of it might be used 80 percent of the time. That’s the stuff you need to get the greatest control over first.
Because this is the inventory that will cause your business the most disruption if it runs out unexpectedly or you have supply chain slowdowns when reordering.
Store your inventory according to need. That which you must get to quickest and/or most frequently should be within easiest reach. That’s an easy way to boost productivity and avoid crisis mode.
Adopt a software solution. Inventory control doesn’t have to mean only manual counts and spreadsheets.
The answer might be in the cloud. The digital cloud. Put your search engine of choice to work, using the keywords “inventory control software” or “inventory control apps.”
You’ll find workable solutions from QuickBooks, InventoryCloud, Fishbowl and countless others. Many offer “test drives” so you can see which system best meets your needs.
Consider off-site storage. We’ve all seen those reality TV shows featuring hoarders. Even though those programs involve homes rather than companies, the concept is the same within a business environment.
Your inventory can take over, squeezing out room for product displays, equipment, paperwork, employees and even customers. The advantage of highly organized off-site storage is that it’s not underfoot. Choose the right storage facility and your stuff can be easily accessible without ever being in the way.
With these quick tips in hand, you’ll know what you have and where it’s at when it’s needed. And that, when you think of it, is a great inventory management strategy.