Inventory management is the process of monitoring inventory from a manufacturing plant to the point of sale. Inventory management’s objective is to ensure that the correct products are at the correct location at the right time. This enables you to control inventory supply in relation to market demand.
Inventory management is a critical component of working capital management, a vital part of overall corporate operations. More extensive inventories require significant financial expenditure to manage. It is crucial for an effective and efficient inventory management plan to avoid making unnecessary investments and maximize the usage of those assembled.
Objectives of Inventory Management
The goals of inventory management can be analysed in terms of operational and financial targets. The active goal is to have enough inventory to meet customer demand, and the financial plan is to keep the unnecessary lists and their costs in check.
1. Availability of Materials
The first and most crucial goal of inventory management is to make sure that all types of materials are available when the production department needs them. This way, the flow of production won’t be slowed down and the production won’t be held up because there aren’t enough materials. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a buffer stock of all necessary items to keep production on track.
2. Keeping a Sufficient Stock
Supplies at all stages of production, from raw materials to finished commodities, should be readily available. You must ensure that you have a enough collection of restorative materials on hand to meet client demand without cutting corners. Correct analysis of consumer demand and proper sourcing of materials ensures that you never run out of inventory.
3. Minimizing Wastage and Losses
Inventory management is a highly effective method of reducing losses. An object can be squandered or misplaced without a monitoring mechanism. Possessing a document assists you to avoid squandering resources. The objective is to minimize inventory waste at all stages, from warehouse storage to manufacture in the plant. Thus, an inventory management system is a lifesaver in tracking and eliminating potential losses.
4. Optimizing the sale of products
Another objective of inventory management is analyzing product sales patterns. Sales is a critical and essential phase of the whole process. It helps to understand the current situation and make future assumptions based on the analysis. You can detect slow-moving goods, for instance, and eliminate them. Keeping goods that don’t sell is not a good idea, and in that case, you can lower the prices aiming to dispose of them.
How to improve Inventory Management?
1. Focus on your needs
Managing an inventory-heavy warehouse can be a daunting task. One way to handle it is to prioritise the most necessary items and work on them first. It is doubtful that every product in your warehouse will experience the same level of customer demand. Maintain stock of your best-selling items, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your consumers satisfied.
2. Engage with suppliers
It is critical to handle supplier relationships well in any stock-based business. Establishing positive connections with your firm’s major suppliers is essential for ensuring consistent supply, gaining access to competitive pricing, and understanding the latest trends that can affect your business.
3. Develop an inventory management system
Understanding how your firm manages order amounts, replenishment cycle durations, safety stock, forecasts, and seasonality is critical. Adjust each activity to fit your unique business – keeping track of what works and what doesn’t with the help of an inventory management system. Inventory management systems or software will assist you in keeping track of your inventory without losing your mind.
4. Utilize real-time data
Information can be highly effective and helpful, but only if accurate and up to date. Real-time data and analytics, such as multilayer inventory tracking, forecasting data, automatic ordering, and customized safety stock, can significantly impact your organization by increasing business productivity and enhancing inventory management. Consider adopting perpetual inventory management software for the most accurate data, as it is the most effective approach to ensure that the information you require is always at your fingertips.
Benefits of Inventory Management
Adopting an efficient inventory management strategy is a great way to turn things around if your inventory practices are suffering or you cannot keep up with demand.
1. Saves Money
Understanding stock trends enables you to determine the inventory count and their respective location, allowing you to make the best use of your stock. This also allows you to maintain less inventory at each site, as orders can be fulfilled anywhere, reducing inventory costs and the amount of inventory that goes unsold before becoming obsolete.
2. Managing Inventory Levels
Keeping inventory levels properly balanced is a difficult task that managers face daily. Allowing inventory levels to lapse without regular checks can quickly lead to excess or insufficient stock. Either scenario is undesirable; failing to order enough of a popular product can result in stock-outs and angry customers. Having too much of something and being unable to move it consumes valuable warehousing space. Fortunately, effective inventory management can intervene and prevent these dreaded events from disrupting the entire supply chain.
3. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction leads to positive feedback and repeat business. Not only that, but as you quickly and accurately fulfil customers’ orders, you can establish a trusted name in the market. Inventory management is intended to help boost and elevate you in the eyes of your customers.
Inventory management systems include real-time update capabilities that notify customers when their shipment is leaving the warehouse and when they can expect it to arrive. Giving customers the ability to find out when something is expected to reach and where it is in real-time alleviates their concerns and saves you time answering questions. With all of the tools available in an inventory management solution, your customer satisfaction will increase with the system’s implementation.
For many businesses, inventory management is the point of convergence for all supply chain components. Inventory can be thought of as the lifeblood of any business. Its uninterrupted flow is vital to the survival of any company that deals with intangible commodities. Accumulation of unneeded inventory frequently indicates more significant issues inside a business’s systems infrastructure and procedures. In the last thirty years or more, the forces of technology, globalization, and consumer empowerment have significantly affected how industries handle inventories. Successful businesses will embrace inventory management challenges in the coming years by leveraging technology.