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With the passing of this year’s last bank holiday weekend, summer is officially over, and the ever-approaching Christmas period now feels closer than ever. If you’re an online retailer, the festive season could see your order levels increase by four times the norm. So, what are you waiting for? There’s no better time than the present to make sure your inventory tracking is in check for the coming busy months. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with our overall guide, explaining everything you need to know about the process, varying techniques and the positive outcomes behind a water-tight approach to inventory management.

Why bother? 

Essentially, inventory management equates to the constant supervision of your non-capitalised assets and stock, accounting for their every move from your manufacturer to your customer’s door. An inventory management system uses a variety of data to keep track of goods, logging dates as they move through the process such as individual SKUs, barcodes, bin locations, product value and quantities. Solid inventory management is crucial for any growing business to survive. It allows you to maintain complete control your stock flow, eradicate order discrepancies and provide an optimum customer experience in today’s competitive eCommerce landscape.

Manual VS. Automation

Inventory control is the facet of inventory management concerned with minimizing the total cost of the inventory while preserving the ability to supply to customers in a timely manner. Cracking inventory control can be a tricky balancing act, causing a lot of start-ups to fail due to a nose-dive in customer satisfaction. Businesses of different sizes use varying methods of inventory control in order to maximise profitability while fulfilling consumer demand. Here are the main differences between a manual and automated approach to inventory management:

Stock Review:

This procedure is the simplest and therefore most suited to smaller businesses. A manual approach, Stock Review requires a regular analysis of physical stock on hand in comparison to projected forecasted needs, allocating purchasing budgets accordingly. This method provides a measure of control over small inventories and saves the investment of management software; however, it is highly labour-intensive, thus a huge drain on time and susceptible to human error.

Just-In-Time Methodology:

This involves maintaining a very low level of inventory by ordering product into storage as soon as customers place orders. Forecasting through this method is based on an analysis of customer behaviour. This task is often undergone by automated, intelligent technology which combines buying patterns and seasonal fluctuations to calculate average recommended stock levels. Representing a move away for the more traditional method of piling stock high in order to meet previously unpredictable rises in demand, the Just-In-Time method allows a business to decrease waste while saving massively on storage costs.

The power of our platform

For growing retailers, a key motivator behind automating the inventory management process is the removal of human error. At fulfilmentcrowd, our mobile warehousing software ensures near 100% accuracy of every stock movement. With barcode labels attached to your stock and storage locations, our hand-held devices guiding the process of your products from goods-in, to pick, pack, delivery and replenishment. Our devices update our system in a fraction of a second, allowing for rapid same-day dispatch while integrating your stock levels with online sales channels to ensure you never over-sell.

Operating through a Just-In-Time methodology, our platform also includes a forecasting module. Analysing existing stock levels, minimum order quantities, lead times and storage capacity, our inventory management software produces an algorithm suggesting purchasing quantities for your business. This allows you to stay ahead of demand and outperform your competitors by delivering the best quality service to your customers.

Reaping the rewards

Optimising your inventory management through our automated software platform will result in the following positive outcomes, vital to keeping any eCommerce retailer afloat.

  • Saving on storage costs.
  • Saving hours of administration time daily.
  • Ensuring cash isn’t drained on buying too much stock at any one time. This increases overall cashflow and profitability.
  • Tracking inventory movement across multiple sales channels in real-time.
  • Increasing your customer delivery experience and subsequent approval ratings.

If you have a growing customer base that is causing your business to become unsustainable, then you need to outsource to a world-leading fulfilment specialist. Our inventory management software does all the heavy lifting, while our automated processes give you space to breathe again. Fill in a contact form.

by Liz Churm on 29/08/2018

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