Understanding your customers’ needs and making wise decisions on how to manage them through inventory is a challenge in today’s buying environment. There are many problems faced in inventory management, but these issues come with solutions. Managing your inventory is more complex than it may seem. Here are some of the most common problems and challenges in inventory management, and how you can improve your business to overcome them.
Challenges in Inventory Management
Lack of Knowing Your Inventory
Being unaware of inventory levels has a largely negative impact on supply chains. Companies should make sure they have full visibility of their inventory at all times, to know when stock needs to be replenished. It is also important to understand what is in stock, what is going to be ordered, the size and quantity of the order, and what items need to be replenished. This can be a cumbersome task, but it is essential to ensuring profitable business operations.
Even with the availability of technology, many companies still have outdated inventory management systems and manual processes. By upgrading your standard operating procedures and implementing new technology and software, you will become more efficient in managing your inventory.
The needs and demands of customers are constantly changing and now they are looking to distributors to be more flexible with their orders. Additionally, you have to compete against other businesses who are also trying to keep up to the unique needs of customers. Your company has the responsibility of learning and understanding customer needs, and assuring their demands and expectations are met, while simultaneously managing your inventory to keep up with their needs.
New inventory management software allows companies to see their inventory, expenses, cash flow, and revenue in one central location. Your ability to make strategic decisions relies on your visibility of your inventory and working with the right software is essential.
Managing People and Space
You should take full advantage of your warehouse space, and this requires precise management of your employees and your space. By mismanaging either of these key areas, you can end up with issues like inadequate storage space, and improperly sorted and stored materials.
With emerging economies like China, India, and Latin America building up warehouse management companies, increasing competition is another challenge of effective inventory management. These emerging markets provide advantages like lower labor costs, material costs, and low currency values. With the availability of international shipping, it’s time you ensure your supply chain is working as efficiently as possible.
Ways to Overcome Inventory Challenges
Accurately Track Inventory
It is essential to know where items are at any time in the supply chain. A good third-party logistics (3PL) company can provide you with the tools you require to manage your supply chains and inventories more effectively. It is also important for you to be able to warn customers of any deliveries that may be arriving late. Giving customers a notification beforehand shows that you are a proactive supplier and that you’re able to manage the situation ahead of time, instead of waiting for a complaint.
Centralize Essential Data
Before your decision-makers can build out a forecast, you should gather and analyze any historical data you have and make it centralized. This is a huge challenge for many companies as this information can be found in disparate systems. Getting all your data in one place is essential to your success, and without proper updates your information can become inaccurate. Integrating and centralizing your systems in real-time will help your teams access up-to-date information to make the best decisions for your business.
Backup Inventory Data
Losing valuable inventory data can set you and your team back. To prevent this from happening you should frequently backup your data files in cloud-based storage. These platforms protect your data from hardware failure.
The best businesses will build transparency into their fulfillment to make sure employees and customers know what is happening to items. Even with the most up-to-date inventory management strategy, issues with orders can still occur. If your customer is aware of delays, they can change their expectations and feel confident that their item will still arrive. Communication and transparency is essential to your success. This includes notifying the customer the moment an item they are waiting for comes back in stock.
Having warehouses in multiple locations can help you provide more affordable and faster shipping to customers, and helps you make region-popular items more accessible. If you have warehouses in other countries, you will have an easier time reaching customers in their time zone, improving your relationship with them.
Outsource Inventory Management Service
By outsourcing your processes to an inventory management service, you will be better prepared to take on whatever fulfillment changes lie ahead. Each company may have a different strategy, depending on their needs and the market focus, so working with the leaders in e-commerce platforms will help you determine the most effective course of action for your goals.
Let APS Fulfillment, Inc. Help You with Inventory Management
Keeping track of inventory in real-time can be challenging, but these inventory management problems and solutions don’t have to overwhelm you. Getting proactive to avoid these challenges by implementing helpful tips from the professionals will lead you to more success than you could ever imagine.
Taking the time to change and improve your warehouse and inventory management processes will make your supply chain run smoother and will lead to greater efficiency and profitability for your business. If you want to learn more about the benefits of our inventory management system, or want help improving your warehouse operations, the team at APS Fulfillment, Inc. can help you.
Our professionals provide our clients solutions to meet their warehouse organization needs. We provide services such as real-time inventory management, e-commerce fulfillment, direct mail marketing, fulfillment solutions, and fulfillment markets. There are endless benefits to working with a third-party logistics company that uses the best quality software systems to manage your warehouse, so if you’re looking for the right company, look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. You can contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or toll-free by phone at (954) 582-7450.
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