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  • Writer's pictureJordan Silverman

Inventory Management: How to Balance Costs and Availability

In the business world, inventory management stands as a cornerstone in achieving financial health and sustainability. For small businesses like yours, striking the right balance between minimizing costs and maintaining sufficient stock levels is essential. There is nothing worse than 86'ing an item. Okay maybe throwing things out is worse. But both are caused by poor inventory control!

Here’s a concise guide on how to achieve this:

Understanding Your Inventory

  • ABC Analysis: Categorize your inventory into three groups (A, B, and C) based on their importance. This will help focus your resources on the most valuable items.

  • Demand Forecasting: Utilize past sales data to anticipate future demand, allowing for more accurate inventory planning. We recommend you look at this seasonally as usually top items change by season.

Effective Cost Management

  • Bulk Purchases: Consider bulk purchasing for items with high demand and long shelf life to benefit from discounts.

  • Just-in-Time (JIT): Adopt a JIT approach where goods are ordered only as needed to reduce holding costs.

Maintaining Product Availability

  • Safety Stock: Maintain a safety stock to cater to unexpected spikes in demand and avoid stockouts.

  • Supplier Relationships: Build strong relations with reliable suppliers for timely restocking and potentially better terms.

  • LIFO: Always make sure your last in is your first out and have your walk ins, shelves, and all storage areas reflect this.

Technology Integration

  • Inventory Management Software: Employ inventory management software to streamline processes and reduce manual errors. My very biased opinion is MarketMan.

  • Real-Time Tracking: Implement systems that provide real-time tracking of inventory levels for better decision-making.

Tips for Success

  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular inventory audits to identify and rectify discrepancies. NOBODY likes inventory counts but they are a necessary evil and most be done!

  • Employee Training: Train your employees in efficient inventory management practices to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Remember, a well-managed inventory can lead to increased profitability by avoiding unnecessary costs and ensuring product availability. Start implementing these strategies today and witness a positive shift in your business dynamics!

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