Your business requires you to have a good stock of inventory to sell. Having too much means your money is literally sleeping in unsold merchandise. Having too little means your potential customers will leave you and buy their supplies from another business.
Here are tips to help you keep track of your inventory.
- Organize your stocks physically in the store and in the stock room. Anything cluttered will confuse you and your employees when you do inventory checks. Place similar items together preferably within view. Installing shelves, filing cabinets, drawers and proper storage boxes will make it easy for you and for anyone you may hire to do inventory.
- Determine how to label each item and use stickers or tags to label them. Knowing your items like knowing the back of your palm is not enough in business. Proper tracking of inventory means proper labels for each and every item. Having one item is simple, but what if it comes in different sizes and colors? Establish a coding system that can be easily understood by all employees. Bar codes usually have numbers and letters below the vertical lines so even without the bar code machine, you can still determine what that item is. Diligently label stocks as they enter your store or stock room.
- Use predetermined formats for data entry. Data entry in the beginning may be a gruesome and boring task. It can also be confusing so it is best that one person does it and have another person double check it. This can be done manually in a logbook with pen and paper or a simple spreadsheet. Whatever you decide, you must be consistent to avoid confusion. If you realize that there is an important data you need but did not consider the first time around, you will have to redo everything. Determine what kind of information you need to know first and this will guide you on your labels and formats.
- Purchase computer software for inventory systems. The POS or Point-Of-Sale system is a computerized software that uses bar codes. It may take several days to install this in your store. However, the advantage is real time inventory checks anytime. Every sale that is made is updated into the system. Every new stock brought into the store is entered. And anytime, you can check stocks on hand and the equivalent monetary value in inventory. With just a few clicks, you can have all the information you need to make those informed business decisions. It can quickly answer questions like, “What items sell fast? What should be put on sale? What items should we order again?” Knowing the answers to these questions can make or break your business.
- Do manual inventory checks. Even with a very efficient inventory tracking system in place, doing a physical count is still required in most businesses. Data entry could have been done wrong and the information you read in your computer may not be the actual inventory you have. No one can attest to physically counting boxes in your stock room. Do this periodically and update the system if you must. As a business owner, do this unannounced so you can determine if your employees or suppliers are short handing you or not.
Selling and buying goods to sell is not enough to manage your business. Keep track of your inventory and you will keep your business targets on track.