For a lot of businesses – and especially those in retail – inventory is the most important aspect of day-to-day operations. So much time is spent on inventory: manufacturing it, ordering it, paying for it, unpacking it, collecting it, shipping it. And yet, for many companies, organizing inventory seems to fall by the wayside.
You might not believe it, but taking the time to carefully organize inventory can help your business in myriad ways, and not just by having a cleaner, easier-to-navigate office.
Organizing your inventory, taking a proper look at not only where you shelve/display products but the shelving itself; the placement of these items in conjunction to other items; packing materials and shipping tools; all of this, when organized and implemented correctly, can make the job of doing inventory and filling orders go smoothly and seamlessly, saving you time and building upon your business.
Here’s a few tips on how to organize your inventory…
Product Placement, Shelving and Display
Many a retail company just leave their product in boxes, only reaching in for an item when they need to fill an order. For large warehouses, this may be the only way, as they deal with thousands of products, hundreds of workers, and scores of materials daily. But for a smaller business, display is key.
And that’s not just for the clients who may see the product, but for the employee. If the item is neatly on the shelf, placed next to relevant products, not only can the employee locate it easily, saving them time, but allows them to see the item in conjunction with other possible items they could upsell. It’s about marketing as much as it is about filling orders. Plus, having your items on a clean, well-organized shelf reduces the risk of items being damaged or employees getting hurt while trying to fill orders. It also helps you know when you’re running out of something and need to place another order.
Different types of businesses need different shipping materials. Too many companies are using shipping supplies that aren’t a good fit for their business, trying to use pouches that don’t fit, the wrong types of boxes for the post office, or insulation and packing materials that don’t protect their products. Take the time to order the supplies that make sense for your business, such as the right type of cardboard shipping boxes (did you know there are many different ones?), the correct-sized mailers, and sturdy packing materials and supplies that will protect your important merchandise.
Charts, Software and Spreadsheets
Whatever your favorite method of organizing, be sure that you’re utilizing some type of checksheet, list or chart to mark off inventory as you fill orders and bring in new supplies. Many POS software programs and online shopping apps actually provide the customer with these as part of their subscriptions, but if yours doesn’t, you should make your own. Keeping diligent track of your inventory can avoid stressful scenarios where you’re out of stock on in-demand products, helps you keep up with the sales numbers certain items are doing and helps your employees stay on track with filling orders.
It’s really easy to get your inventory in hand and revamp your displays and shipping areas with just these few simple tips, along with so many others, most of which don’t cost a dime. And it really will make a huge difference in your business.