Come on in and let’s talk about common inventory problems. This Whiteboard Wednesday video discusses six problems many companies face as they attempt to manage their inventory.
It also offers solutions to them, which I’ll elaborate on a bit:
Problem #1: Old Products
Solution: Track inventory by expiration date and use a FIFO accounting method to make sure you cycle through products rather than letting them go to waste. You will be able to see which items are getting close to their expiration dates, so you can offer discounts on them to move them out fast. Not only that, but you can also use this information to adjust the quantities you order in the future to prevent this from happening again.
Problem #2: Number Discrepancies
Solution: Integrate your inventory and accounting solutions so when you make changes to one it makes a corresponding change to the other. For example, Fishbowl integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks for this very reason. And it also integrates with shippers to get tracking numbers, e-commerce platforms to speed up the order fulfillment process, and other solutions to keep everything up to date and working in harmony.
Problem #3: Improper Log
Solution: Make it easier to enter information into your inventory records by using barcode scanners and ensuring employees have the right software training and access to do their jobs. You can assign user rights to each employee. In addition to keeping your inventory records secure, user rights keep your employees from being overwhelmed by unnecessary options. They can just focus on the areas of the software that are applicable to their jobs.
Problem #4: No One Knows
Solution: This solution is actually similar to the previous one. Make sure your employees have the tools and training they need to enter and retrieve information in your inventory management software. The great thing about this type of software is that it makes detailed information available to the right people anytime they need it. Depending on your setup, you may even be able to access your inventory file on a mobile device in remote locations.
Problem #5: Too Much Stuff
Solution: Use a powerful inventory solution to calculate lead times and set automatic reorder points for all of your products to avoid overstock and shortages. That way, you will be able to tell how many items to reorder at a time and how many you need to keep on hand as a safety stock to prevent stockouts as you wait for the new ones to arrive. Warehouses are constantly in a state of flux. You need a way to control the chaos, and the right inventory solution is that way.
Problem #6: Over-SKU
Solution: Keep products organized and in the proper places in your warehouse so you don’t accidentally scan the wrong SKU when attempting to reorder or pick products. In fact, you may even be able to go one step further and reorganize your warehouse layout so that items are in ideal spots for picking, receiving, and storing. Group similar items together on the shelves, analyze picking routes to shorten distances warehouse workers have to travel to complete picks, and do other things to make the most of your warehouse space.
Enjoy the video above and use Fishbowl to solve all of these common inventory problems, plus many more.
Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks, and small business. Fishbowl is the #1-requested manufacturing and warehouse management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies.