When it comes to keeping tabs on both the raw materials and finished goods that ultimately make up your supply flow, it pays to be scrupulous. At a general level, inventory management is a blanket term for a systematic method of sourcing, storing, and ultimately getting your inventory to market. From a business perspective, effective management of your inventory is about maintaining stock levels at an appropriate amount, while ensuring you make them available at the right time and place for a price that is consistent with your costs and profit margin.
An important concept for any entrepreneur, business founder, or independent brand representative to wrap their head around, keeping an eye on everything from the bill of materials on Xero to the exact location of all current products is necessary to stay competitive in a market heavily dominated by global conglomerates.
Advanced Inventory Management Guide to Growing A Successful Brand
Inventory management helps you organize your business process, it is a systemic way of sourcing, sorting, storing, and the process of pushing product to the end-users.
Basic inventory vis-à-vis advanced
Although it is necessary for any organization to master the basics of inventory management before graduating to anything more complicated, it is important to make the leap quite quickly in order to stay competitive. In general, the important elements for basic inventory include purchase invoicing, sale invoicing, payment collection, and reports. In other words, it pretty much just accounts for the various elements of the transaction.
Topics for advanced inventory
Advanced inventory, on the other hand, begins to unravel the details. Here you will begin focusing on well-organized location names and labels, units of measure, a good starting count, and importantly – software that tracks all inventory activity. This will allow for good policies to remain consistent, for enhanced traceability, and for more complete relationship management.
Why is inventory management software important?
As you can start to see, once you get into a more nuanced approach to tracking your inventory, you’re going to need some help to stay on top of all the moving parts and to provide yourself with a big picture overview. From your role as a vendor to the type of customer service you’re able to offer after a sale has taken place, good inventory management will ensure you don’t overlook anything vital and that you can anticipate issues before they turn into problems.
What will advanced inventory management software allow me to do?
Once you’ve got a handle on your basic finances, advanced inventory management will give you the power to look towards the future with a plan and strategy in place. Of course, your exact needs will depend on the size and structure of your organization, but for many growing businesses, there are a few key features that will help.
The ability to track and report inventory across multiple locations and to have a single data entry point for multiple systems is key. You also want to be able to track parts using serial numbers and/or expiration dates and to have codified pricing rules in place. Depending on your operation, you might also want a product configurator that gives customers the freedom to customize a product, or a multi-currency feature to receive and convert payments internally. Ultimately, it is important to do your research to see what is available and ensure you end up with the features most appropriate for your goals moving forward.