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However, in order to successfully manage inventory, businesses must strike a balance between customer demand and the amount of inventory they keep.


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Hands-On Inventory Management demonstrates principles key to developing an inventory management process, which will meet customer needs while keeping inventory costs at a level reasonable enough to produce a profit. The text explains basic inventory principles, calculations, and techniques using real-world examples. Different operational situations require different inventory planning and replenishment approaches; hence, this book emphasizes the prerequisites needed for success in a number of different industries.

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These prerequisites include top management support, a clear definition of responsibilities and alignment of goals throughout the company, as well as uncomplicated item identification. The author stresses the importance of accurate recordkeeping and delineates the most common causes of inaccurate records.

He provides solutions to mitigate these causes and demonstrates how businesses can develop and administer a cycle counting program that will lead to a more well-managed physical inventory. Using a building-block approach, Hands-On Inventory Management gives a clear view of what steps must be taken to strike a profitable balance between customer demand and inventory. Chapter 2 Operational Environments.

At its most basic level, cycle counting means reconciling only a small portion of inventory at a time. Instead of closing your store and systematically counting through every single product, you group your products into various categories and work from there. There are several cycle counting methods you can adopt to streamline the process of reconciling inventory.

The ABC method groups your products by cost or turnover. The key is counting your highest-impact items more frequently than your bottom-performers. At the start or end of every workday, you can instruct employees to carry out a small portion of cycle counting inventory. This can help you maintain accurate stock figures, prevent loss, and catch theft quickly. If you sell seasonal goods, you may want to focus on those during their prime sales periods.

Warning: You're Losing Money By Not Using These 8 Inventory Management Techniques

Instead of counting summer clothing in December, you dedicate resources to counting the items that are selling right now. This gives you the opportunity to fix errors and compensate for stock-outs while those items are still selling — otherwise, you run the risk of running out of your best-sellers right in the middle of the season. Some retailers implement inventory reconciliation in a systematic, arbitrary way.

You can count items based on their physical position in your stockroom, or based on specific departments, suppliers, types, and brands. You may wish to start with one corner of the store and move to each one in turn so that most of the store remains operational throughout the process. Whichever system you choose, the best way to save on the time and labor expense of inventory reconciliation is by using a modern inventory system — specifically, one that can update in real-time.

When employees need only scan an item to identify it in the company database, reconciliation moves much faster than when each employee is competing over a single spreadsheet. Further Reading. This handy resource offers advice and action steps to help you:. Keep your retail space clean and uncluttered.

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This make it easier for you and your staff to locate and count your merchandise. Consider taking the following steps before going through the inventory reconciliation process:. Inventory reconciliation opens up room for human error. Minimize mistakes by arming yourself and your staff with the right technology.

1st Edition

With a cloud-based POS system connected directly to your stock records, sales are automatically deducted from company inventory when a cashier scans the product tag. A comprehensive POS system includes software for scanning and tracking incoming inventory as well. Using this system, different functions of the same handheld unit can scan an item into your inventory, verify it once it is on the shelf, and remove it once a cashier scans it at the checkout counter.

The result? Case in point: Mom and Popcorn, a popcorn and candy shop in Texas.

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Mom and Popcorn used to manage their inventory by hand but finally switched to a modern POS and inventory management system. According to Dave Wilson, owner at Mom and Popcorn, this move helped them save tremendous time and allowed them to streamline their store operations. Items in category A require regular attention because their financial impact is significant but sales are unpredictable.

Items in category C require less oversight because they have a smaller financial impact and they're constantly turning over.

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Items in category B fall somewhere in-between. A huge part of good inventory management comes down to accurately predicting demand. Make no mistake, this is incredibly hard to do. Here are a few things to look at when projecting your future sales:. If there's something else that will help you create a more accurate forecast, be sure to include it. Dropshipping is almost an ideal scenario from an inventory management perspective. Instead of having to carry inventory and ship products yourself—whether internally or through third-party logistics—the manufacturer or wholesaler takes care of it for you.

Basically, you completely remove inventory management from your business. Even if you just want to use dropshipping to test new inventory before investing in a big order, it can be a great addition to your business. Although products often cost more this way than they do in bulk orders, you don't have to worry about expenses related to holding inventory, storage, and fulfillment. You can test out dropshipping today, with Oberlo , for free. Remember that with an effective inventory management system in place, you can help reduce costs, keep your business profitable, analyze sales patterns and predict future sales, and prepare the business for the unexpected.


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With proper inventory management system in place, a business has a better chance for profitability and survival. Choose the right inventory management techniques for your business, and start implementing them today. Casandra Campbell is an entrepreneur, craft beer nerd, and works on experimentation and growth at Shopify.

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8 Inventory Management Techniques to Save You Money

Create your store. What is inventory management? Start selling in person with Shopify POS Shopify POS comes with everything you need to sell across multiple locations and channels, accept payments, and offer standout customer experiences. About the author Casandra Campbell Casandra Campbell is an entrepreneur, craft beer nerd, and works on experimentation and growth at Shopify.

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