5 Tips for Managing Inventory

Welcome back you beautiful Entrepreneurs! Thanks for joining me for another week and exploring tips and tricks for your business!

Now… down to business…

This particular topic is going to be pretty straight forward from me. This is one of those elements of your business that you have to make a plan – a very strong and strict plan and you have to know it inside and out and you have to STICK TO IT!

Inventory is one of those things that just makes me want to crawl back into bed and hide. I remember spending hours upon hours calculating pars and counting bottles of tabasco over and over. Or worse yet, getting stuck doing the freezer counts… UGH!

I have even heard of some businesses that close for a day or two to get it done.

Do you want a better way to streamline this process? Check out my Business Analysis and let’s get you some relief!

FUN FACT: More than 40% of small businesses currently do not track their inventory at all (or utilize manual methods).

Let’s dive right into some of my fav tips:

1. Keep a List and track it

  • Create a list of your inventory – I would use excel
  • Create a par list – know what you need to have on hand so you don’t run out
  • Schedule a time for you or your manager to actually check inventory monthly to know if you pars need to be adjusted

2. Know your costs inside and out

Find a good system to track and monitor your costs. I am not saying that you have to memorize every cost in your business but you do have to find some kind of tracking system so that you can go back and check what the difference may be from one month to the next.

3. Maintain a relationship with your reps

Each distributor you work with has a rep for your territory. These are the folks that are making money off what you buy. It is of great benefit to you to have an excellent relationship with these people. They have the inside info on the product that you buy AND excellent tips on how to market and sell it best. They may also have some great tools to keep your costs down and your sales up.

4. TRAIN your staff and managers 

  • Train them to use “the list”
  • Train them to connect with the reps
  • Train them on how to track AND
  • Train them to know your expectations for profitability and COGS

5. Restaurants – this one’s for you!

Combine an order guide with your inventory sheet – when you put together your order each week take a quick inventory (you have to count it anyway). This will help you:

  • Save time on actual inventory days
  • Monitor your inventory more closely, saving you money
  • Create a tracking mechanism for your managers to follow to prepare for seasonal changes

Additional tips:

  • Create a map of your store and coordinate your inventory with the map to make the count faster and more efficiently.
  • Try cycle counting (aka partial stock-takes) It’s the process of partially counting merchandise on a continuous basis so you can monitor stock levels without interrupting store hours. Known as one of the most efficient inventory counting methods for retailers, cycle counting can be done daily or weekly (usually before the store opens) and can free you from having to do full inventory counts.
  • Talk to your software company about a scanner or tool that can help you code and count more efficiently.

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