Inventory management is THE key to running a successful business. Good management will make for a more efficient and profitable business. It is vital to every business to have an accurate inventory count on hand at all times. Buying computer software to help you track inventory is a valuable investment. Take the time to learn how to use it effectively.
Start by determining how much space you will need for your physical inventory. Make sure the space is clean, well lit and organized. When you are setting up your space, try and keep like items together. Develop some sort of system whether it is by size, color, alphabetical, etc. Keep your system simple. Do not overcrowd your space. Overcrowding will lead to clutter and disorganization, which makes it much harder to track inventory.
Label each shelf, box or storage system to make it simple for you to find your products. Use shelving that is appropriate for your inventory. Keep your labels visible so you do not continuously have to look for where an item should be. You should be able to get to your inventory easily and visually be able to see everything; you don't want to have to guess when it comes to a full inventory reconciliation.
Decide whether you would like to have a computer-based inventory system or if you will be doing it the old fashioned way, using paper and pencil. There are a lot of different programs to choose from based on the size of your inventory and how technical you'd like the system to be. Computerized programs vary from using SKU or barcodes to remove an item from your inventory, to manually entering each item. There are computer programs that can tie your cash register right into your inventory system. As each item is sold it will be removed from your inventory. Portable computer scanners are also available. These devices allow you to scan a bar code and delete or add product to your inventory.
Using removable stickers is another option for tracking inventory. Stickers may have a code or title written on them. These stickers should be kept in a daily or a weekly file. Manually enter each item in your ledger or computer program. This type of inventory tracking requires diligence to maintain accurate counts.
Always record anything going into or coming out of your inventory. Keeping track of your inventory makes the entire operation work much more smoothly. It is a good idea to complete daily, weekly, or monthly inventory reconciliations, depending upon your sales volume.