5 Inventory Problems You May Encounter and How to Fix Them

Matt Smith
September 18, 2018
Problem and solution Scrabble pieces, Fishbowl Inventory BlogYour relationship with your customers hinges strongly on the efficiency of your inventory system. While a strong customer service experience, good pricing, and a clean shopping interface can help you build trust, your capacity for fulfilling orders is just as critical. Products delivered late or incorrectly can quickly erode your reputation, and a well-oiled inventory system is the quickest way to prevent that. With a little planning and insight, some of the most common problems can be avoided.

Not Properly Training Employees

The most powerful inventory management software won’t mean much if you don’t have the staff in place to put it effectively into action. That’s why making sure your inventory managers and regular staff members are qualified for the task is important. Every company should have a dedicated member or team who understands the ins and outs of your system and can be held accountable when something goes wrong. By delegating out the responsibility, you’re ensuring consistency around the board. Many software providers offer free training. While this may cost you some time and money in the short term, it can save you bundles over time. By properly training your employees on your company procedures, you will be able to decrease your lead time, according to Creative Safety Supply, the amount of time it takes to fulfill an order, which will lead to more satisfied customers and a better work rhythm for your company.

Not Planning For the Future

Without a nuanced inventory management system, many companies fall behind. Instead of evaluating their stock and using the analytics to predict what they need to order, they’re rushing to keep up with the demands of their customers. Manual reporting even on a daily or weekly basis can leave you behind the curve. Implementing an automated, software-based system frees up your staff and allows them to respond to customer demands in the moment.

Not Rotating Their Inventory

The “first in first out” system of inventory control is critical when dealing with perishable products, notes Score Association, but it can be important regardless of the type of business you’re in. Older goods are more likely to become damaged or dusty. Ordering your stock to make sure that the oldest item in your stock goes out first will allow you to avoid product loss and provide more consistency to your clientele.

Not Looking at the Long Game

It can be so easy to get caught up in your short-term performance that you can lose track of your business’ long-term optics, says Entrepreneur Magazine. A makeshift inventory management solution may provide easier and most cost-effective results now, but it’s only putting a bandage on a problem. If your current software or systems aren’t meeting your needs, replace them now rather than later. Make inventory training a vital part of your new hire process, and incorporate inventory efficiency as a component of your scheduled company assessments.

Double Check Everything

Automation can save you a lot of time and energy, but things can always go wrong. Whether it’s from employees not following protocol or a glitch in the system, the results are the same. Either you order too much of a product, or you don’t have an item you’ve promised to a customer. Manual counts don’t have to be performed daily but rotate checks department by department on a scheduled basis. Thorough barcode systems can make manual evaluations a simple affair.