What does Homer Simpson have to do with inventory management? You might be surprised. With Homer, a lot of what you get is reverse psychology. He says one thing, does another and expects something else entirely from everyone around him. Keeping this in mind, let’s have some fun delving into Homer Simpson’s top 10 inventory management tips!
Homer: Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?
1. Translation: You should replenish your inventory to balance what comes in and goes out.
Homer is comparing his brain to a warehouse. He has a finite amount of space to hold information, so he has to empty some of it to make room for new bits of information. Ironically, that’s just like an efficient warehouse. It takes a lot of information and planning to keep products from sitting idly in a warehouse. You should definitely use inventory management software to keep your “brain” functioning properly.
Homer: I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I’m around.
2. Translation: Working harder doesn’t mean you’re more productive.
You should eliminate things that get in the way of productivity, such as an inefficient inventory management system. Good inventory management software should help you save time by integrating with QuickBooks, and using barcodes and readers to track products. You can also delegate more inventory responsibilities to your employees to help them accomplish more in less time.
Homer: Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.
3. Translation: Understanding your inventory shows your customers you care.
You should care about how you manage your inventory, and you should understand how it works. The reason you should care is because it directly affects your customer service and your bottom line. The reason you should understand it is because you can control it and get it running smoothly with some hard work. Customers are more likely to do business with your company if you keep the right products in stock.
Homer: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.
4. Translation: Passing the buck doesn’t help companies grow.
Number 4 of our “Top 10 Myths About Inventory Management” is “I should keep managing my inventory the way I always have.” This doesn’t work because if you keep doing things the same way, you’ll never get a better result. Making excuses might seem to help in the short term, but it never leads to lasting success. All this does is push the responsibility of making key decisions onto someone else. As a small-business owner, you must take responsibility and do whatever it takes to bring your company to the next level.
Homer: Well, it’s 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.
5. Translation: Set your priorities and use your time wisely!
Managing your inventory is important, but so is marketing, customer service, hiring, training and other essential duties. Balancing all of these essential tasks isn’t easy. Your time is precious. The good news is that inventory management software frees up a lot of time, so you don’t have to wait until 1 a.m. to start focusing on your employees or customers.
Homer: [reading directions on a computer screen] “To Start, Press Any Key.” Where’s the ANY key?
6. Translation: Start with the basics to effectively manage inventory.
If you catch yourself looking for the ANY key on your keyboard, you may have a problem. If you’re smarter than Homer then you can start learning how to use inventory management software in your business. Fishbowl, the #1 inventory software for QuickBooks users, offers many learning resources to help you get started. These include training videos, user manuals, FAQs, wiki and a helpful support staff.
Homer: Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Fourteen percent of people know that.
7. Translation: You need real data to make smart decisions.
In inventory management, it’s not enough to go solely on gut instinct. You need to get the facts so you’ll know when to reorder products, how many to keep in stock, and which locations to send them to. A combination of QuickBooks inventory software helps you keep track of product sales, orders, locations and more. You’ll get all the information you need in handy reports, so you won’t need to make up statistics on the spot.
Homer: Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.
8. Translation: Stop dreaming and get to work managing your inventory.
Your inventory isn’t going to manage itself. You have to put forth the effort to keep up with the latest trends in consumer demand and avoid product shortages and overstock. You don’t have to do it alone, though. Inventory management software is designed to make the task of managing inventory easier and faster.
Homer: Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.
9. Translation: Don’t try to manage inventory, just do it!
Inventory management isn’t something you can “try” to do and expect to succeed at. It’s like Shannon Tucker pointed out in a comment on our blog post “Mr. Miyagi’s Top 10 Inventory Management Tips;” Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Make a commitment to use inventory management to its fullest so you can use your time more wisely and start saving money. As long as you get trained on how to use the software and hardware, you should be just fine.
Homer: If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.
10. Translation: If something’s hard to do, it’s all right to ask for help.
Inventory management isn’t easy. It’s a big job, even for a small business. As you grow from a startup to a small or mid-size business, you’ll discover that you can’t do everything by yourself. That’s why you hire employees and get new equipment and software to handle specialized tasks. The reason you should get inventory management software is because it helps you do what you otherwise probably wouldn’t be able to do – keep your inventory balanced without putting too much time into it.
Now that you’ve read through this top 10 list, you are so smart. S-M-R-T, err… S-M-A-R-T. Do you feel like an inventory management expert? If you’d like to become one, sign up for a free inventory software demo. And keep returning to the Fishbowl Blog!
The image of Homer Simpson is the copyright of FOX, and it’s used in compliance with fair-use copyright laws.
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.