The items that make up your inventory are just one part of inventory control. The rest includes all of the people, partnerships and processes that go into receiving, storing, and moving your inventory.
Everything is very hands on. From the initial sales meeting to the moment the order is shipped, there is a lot of information to keep track of to make sure everything runs smoothly. And beyond the material inventory in a warehouse, the data you’ve collected on your customers makes up another inventory–what is their order history? What are their best selling items?
There are a lot of connected parts that need to work together to keep a wholesale business running seamlessly. Today, we’ll break down some of the individual parts to make inventory control easier to digest.
The sales meeting is when data on your customer is a powerful tool. The moment a customer places an order is the beginning of the inventory control process. The order they place depends on how the sales meeting goes. If your sales rep walks into a meeting knowing a customer’s order history, their best selling items, and letting them know about special deals, they can help the customer tailor the best possible order for their store. You can also let them know what the best order for them will be depending on your available inventory. Having all of this information will help you stock your inventory most effectively for your specific customer base and their needs.
Ordering New Inventory From Vendors
Vendors are an important relationship for inventory management and control. Again, this goes hand-in-hand with customer data. You can be proactive and order inventory based on their order history, or track the market and order inventory you know is going to sell well for them. Walking around the warehouse with a bloated binder full of paper to keep track of inventory is still the norm for some wholesalers. This annoying process wastes both time and money, and gunks up the cogs of a wholesale business. Going digital makes the process of ordering from vendors simpler and prevents misplaced orders.
Control of Inventory Storage
Organizing the inventory in the warehouse is a bulk of inventory control. Managers and other employees need to be on the same page on organization, especially for items that need to be stored in a certain. Produce, for example, needs to be stored at a specific temperature and monitored for freshness, and other items need to be rotated. Having a clear system of organization is essential. There is also inspecting inventory and documenting any broken or expired items. Again, organizing inventory on paper is an unnecessary process. Papers can be mislabeled or misplaced and aren’t easily accessible to everyone because they aren’t all in one place. Going digital lets you keep track of your inventory all in one place.
Warehouse and Shipping Security
It is not terribly uncommon for items to be stolen during storage or delivery. Regardless of how it happened, the customer is going to blame you for lost inventory. Simple steps like installing a good security camera system and allowing employees to anonymously report thefts can help prevent this problem, and having a digital inventory system can help you more quickly identify lost items.
Correctly filling orders in the most efficient manner is the final step in the inventory control cycle. There are times when orders are mislabeled on paper and the wrong amount of inventory is delivered, either leaving your customer with less than they need or you losing money on sending excess inventory. Proper training and scrupulous attention to protocol will go a long way, like redundancy so several employees are checking the order is shipped correctly. If you switch paper, pen and clipboard for a digital system, tracking inventory is more streamlined. Quickly looking through a digital system is faster and easier than double checking all your shipped inventory on paper.
Inventory Control Wrap Up
Inventory control is complex but it is completely possible to get a strong grasp on it if you actively put in the best practices and protocols. You can integrate each piece of the puzzle to perfect your process. From the initial order to the shipping, taking a close look at their efficiency will make inventory control less of a burden and cut losses on unnecessary practices. Once you tighten up your operation, you’ll better be able to serve your customers and improve your wholesale business.
At Mobisoft, we are dedicated to helping wholesale businesses simplify and streamline their ordering and inventory control processes. Contact us today and we’ll show how we can help your business!