It doesn’t matter if your shelves are physical or virtual, keeping them well stocked is key to keeping customers happy and returning. But it’s not as simple as keeping the shelves full, the products you choose to stock and the ability to meet customer changing needs is also crucial.
You only have a finite amount of space in your business, you want to keep your stock relatively fresh, but you still want to make sure you have the resources needed to respond quickly no matter what order comes in.
If you’re still carrying a product from two months ago, but your competition has room for the latest thing, then you could be losing potential customers. Learning how to manage stock is a careful balance, but here are five tips on how to minimise the inventory you need, while keeping the stock you want and selling what you have.
Get Yourself Organised
When you understand what you already have, you can find a way to minimise.
Take a tally of the stock you have and consider how many projects are in the pipeline, confirmed or potential. Use these numbers and you can make an informed decision about what stock you will need to order or make to prepare.
Every project is going to be different, but you can create custom ‘stock profiles’ for each project. You can do an analysis of your usage-per-project by calculating how much stock you had when a project began and how much stock you had once it was completed. Do this across a period of time and you can build up a ‘stock profile’.
Keep Track of Everything
Not only is it in your best interests as a business, but it’s important for understanding the capital and assets you have stored. Keeping accurate records also allows you to account for things like seasonality and scarcity of products which drives the market price up.
This will help you build a better picture of where you’re getting your goods, what price they are, and help you see if there’s anywhere you can consolidate your supply.
Tracking your sales doesn’t just mean keeping your eye on revenue. When done properly sales tracking will help you see your stock usage is on a particular project or product.
It can provide useful hints about what stock you’ll need. If customers are buying more product X than product Y, then you can afford to stock less of Y. You may even put a sale on product Y to reduce your stock to minimal numbers, or sell it out and only get it in as a special order. If you find that a new product, product Z, is selling better than anticipated, you may want to get in the necessary resources to produce more in bulk to save money.
While it is not fool-proof it can give you an idea of the current market trends.
The 80/20 Rule
There’s a business rule that 80% of your profits will come from about 20% of your stock. You should take the time to understand this rule and incorporate it into your own business. Identify and focus on your top 20% in order to maximise the potential profit of what you are stocking.
You should keep an accurate record of what sells, how much for and how long the sales lifecycle is of the items. Track how long they stay on your shelves from the day they are placed there, to the day they sell. Understanding this can help you strategically stock yourselves to allow for short and long cycles.
Invest in Technology To Help You
One of the amazing things about modern-day technology is that it has revolutionised the way that we do business. Tracking inventory has never been easier if you find the right tools for your industry and the unique needs of your stock. An all in one system is easy to use and can help you keep track of your resources with every sale and project.
While the above steps can seem impossible for staff to do on their own, with the right tech tools you can track stock with minimal disruption to workflow. Your stock is the backbone of your business. Minimising the inventory you need saves and eventually makes you money, which is what business is all about.
Here's the "Top Reasons To Adopt A Stock Control Software In 2021" from our recent blog.
How can WorkGuru help?
WorkGuru offers stock management tools as part of our all-in-one platform. Stock control is made quick and easy with intuitive and powerful tools. Because it integrates with your projects, stock can be tracked and understood as part of your teams everyday work.
If you want to get your inventory under control, contact the team for a demo. Reach out today to see if it’s right for your business.