Stock Control, also known as Inventory Control, is an important part of any business. It is used to keep track of how much stock you have at any one time, or commonly known as stock-on-hand. It applies to every raw material or part that you use in producing a good or service. It can be as small as a paper clip to as large as a truck engine! But the reality is that much of your business’s equity and cash-value is tied up in these stock items, and your efficiency is also heavily affected by having the correct amount of the correct product or part available at the correct time! Stock Control is a little like Goldilocks: not too much, not too little, but just right! The fluctuations of demand and supply can make perfect stock control a complicated goal to achieve. Below we explore the benefits for a business when inventory is professionally managed.
Powerful Stock Control has significant monetary benefits. This cost saving comes from a few different areas. If you are overstocked, your cash flow is unnecessarily tied up in inventory, when it could be earning you money in other areas of your business. In terms of under-stocking, not having a key item in stock can lead to lost customer sales, delays on key projects, expedited shipping costs and many other related cost implications. Good inventory management includes creating a strategy and analysing the business for fast, slow and critical stock keeping items (SKU’s). Here an automated accounting or ERP system that helps your business to powerfully manage your stock inventory is a critical partner in inventory management success.
Meeting customer demand quickly, efficiently and reliably is one of the cornerstones of creating customer loyalty. Customers need to be able to rely on you, in order for them to give your business their returning custom. Stock management helps to ensure that you have the right stock on hand at the right time; or should there be a gap, enable you to source the part quickly from one of your other branches or suppliers. Stock and sales analysis in your ERP software solution will also help you to analyse sales trends and cycles so as to better predict and prepare for future customer demand. If customers cannot get what they need from you in good time, they are very likely to look elsewhere. Good inventory planning and management tools are critical for your customer service levels.
Effective stock control software and processes allow you to watch the movement of your stock in real-time and drive real inventory optimisation for maximising profit and cash flow. The corresponding alerts on the minimum and maximum stock levels across your branches allows you to monitor the stock of your business as a whole, and not just isolated to the branches. This allows you to move stock between branches as and when is necessary, ensuring that you are not over-stocked or under-stocked on any particular item in any particular store or branch.
Increase Efficiency and Productivity
Stock management devices such as stock control software and bar-code scanners can drastically impact your efficiency and productivity. These tools help to mechanise and automate the stock process a great deal. From speeding up stock take-on’s to helping at POS (Point of Sale) to reduce the stock system upon sale, an excellent stock control system helps to ensure your staff are able to manage your stock as efficiently as possible. While manual stock counting, or physical audits, are still strongly advised to mitigate the risk of shrinkage or breakage, having an automated and digital stock control system overall gives you far greater control over, and understanding of your business and its stock. Further than that a well-run inventory management system also assists with operational decisions such as warehouse or store layouts. Inventory analysis allows you to place best-selling and compatible items together to optimise the fulfilment process, or motivate up-sales by placing tempting items for your customers next to best sellers to promote extra spend.
Controlling and optimising your inventory is core not only to your bottom line, but also to your ability to fulfil orders efficiently and satisfy your customers demands timeously. In a world where you often cannot control the supply chain of your stock items or materials, and predicting demand is still just that- a prediction, a powerful stock management system is a powerful tool in controlling, analysing and balancing your stock levels in an uncertain environment.