6 tips to manage your company's inventory and supply efficiently


One of the major challenges facing companies that distribute or manufacture products is managing their inventory and supplies. This challenge is even more present for companies that sell their products both online and in stores. Poor inventory management and tracking can lead to additional costs, delivery delays, customer dissatisfaction, decreased sales and even business closure. However, good inventory management can improve operational efficiency and profitability.

Here are some tips on how to effectively manage your inventory and supplies:

Make a sales forecast

The first step in inventory and supply management is to forecast sales. Analyze past and current trends, as well as forecasts of future demand to determine how much product to order. A general method for conducting a sales forecast is as follows:

  1. Analyze sales history: Review past sales data to determine trends and fluctuations. This can give you a general idea of where your sales will go in the future.
  2. Identify factors that influence sales: Identify external and internal factors that impact your sales. This can include seasonal events, promotions, changes in customer preferences, etc.
  3. Make assumptions: For example, you may assume that sales will increase by X% due to the upcoming promotion or that sales will be lower due to the current economic situation.
  4. Use forecasting models: There are many forecasting models such as linear regression, time series analysis and artificial neural networks.
  5. Refine your forecast : Adjust your assumptions and use the results of previous forecasts. This will help you improve the accuracy of your forecast.

Use inventory management software

Inventory management systems automate tasks such as receiving, shipping and managing inventory levels. They also track inventory levels in real time and automatically place replenishment orders. A general method for this step is as follows:

  1. Select inventory management software: Look for options that offer these features such as inventory level management, replenishment ordering, returns and refund management, and reporting.
  2. Connect your software to your customer portal: Automatically adjust your inventory with every sale made on your online ordering platform.
  3. Import your products: Import your products into the inventory management software with information such as product name, description, cost and quantity.
  4. Set up replenishment thresholds: Set up replenishment thresholds for each product so that the software can automatically generate replenishment orders when stock levels fall below these thresholds.
  5. Track inventory levels in real time: This will allow you to monitor inventory levels and adjust replenishment orders accordingly.
  6. Manage returns and refunds: This will allow you to track returned items and adjust inventory levels accordingly.
  7. Create reports: Use the reporting features to get information on sales trends, inventory levels and replenishment orders. This allows you to make informed decisions.
  8. Use automation to improve efficiency: Use automation features such as automatic generation of replenishment orders to improve the efficiency of your inventory and supply management.

Keep optimal inventory levels

Avoid overstocking or underestimating inventory quantities. Overstocking can lead to storage costs and capital losses, while underestimating inventory can lead to delayed order delivery and customer dissatisfaction. Here is a general method you can follow to keep an optimal level of inventory:

  1. Establish minimum and maximum stock levels: Establish minimum and maximum stock levels for each product. The minimum stock level is the amount of stock you need to order more products at, while the maximum stock level is the maximum amount you want to have in stock at any given time.
  2. Use replenishment thresholds: Use replenishment thresholds to trigger replenishment orders when stock levels reach the defined minimum level. Replenishment thresholds can be configured in inventory management software, which will automatically send a replenishment order for the product in question.
  3. Track regularly: Track stock levels regularly to avoid shortages or overstocks. Check stock levels regularly to ensure they are in line with your minimum and maximum levels.
  4. Avoid excess inventory: Avoid having too much inventory on hand, as this can lead to additional storage costs and obsolescence risks. Make sure you have the right amount of inventory on hand to meet demand without excess.
  5. Optimize delivery times: Optimize delivery times by working with reliable suppliers and using fast delivery services. This will help you reduce waiting times and ensure timely availability of products.

Monitor delivery times

Delays in delivery can cause inventory problems. Monitor your suppliers' delivery times and make sure you place orders on time to avoid delays. Here is a general method you can follow to monitor your delivery times:

  1. Set clear expectations: Clearly communicate estimated delivery times when ordering and make sure you meet those times.
  2. Track shipments: Many carriers offer online tracking services, which allow you to track the progress of the delivery and contact the carrier if there are any problems.
  3. Contact carriers: If a shipment is late, ask for an explanation and work with the carrier to resolve the problem.
  4. Provide excellent customer service: Inform customers of delays and what you are doing to resolve the problem. Offer alternative solutions, such as express delivery or a refund.
  5. Evaluate carrier performance: Evaluate carrier performance to identify those with the best delivery times. Use this information to choose which carriers to use in the future.
  6. Optimize your shipping processes: Package products quickly and efficiently, use printed shipping labels to avoid errors, and ship orders as soon as possible.

Diversify your suppliers

Having multiple suppliers can help reduce the risks associated with dependence on a single supplier. Build strong relationships with several reliable suppliers to diversify your supply chain. Here is a general method you can follow to diversify your suppliers:

  1. Identify risks: Risks may include dependence on a single supplier, quality issues or delivery delays.
  2. Search for new suppliers: Search for new suppliers using online platforms, trade shows or peer recommendations. Evaluate suppliers based on their experience, ability to meet your company's needs and history of delivering quality products.
  3. Establish working relationships: Clearly communicate your expectations for quality, delivery time and price. Establish clear communication protocols to resolve issues and improve collaboration.
  4. Regularly evaluate supplier performance: Regularly evaluate supplier performance using key metrics such as delivery times, production costs, product quality and customer service levels.
  5. Negotiate prices and terms: Negotiate prices and terms with your suppliers to get the best rates and improve your profit margin.

Conduct regular stock checks

Regular stock checks can help identify problems such as damaged or expired products, inconsistent stock levels, and stock losses.

  1. Establish a check frequency: Establish a regular inventory check frequency based on the size of your business and your sales volume. This could be weekly, monthly or quarterly.
  2. Use an inventory management system: Computerized inventory management systems are useful because they track inventory movements in real time and generate reports on inventory levels.
  3. Compare inventory levels to sales data: If inventory levels are too high or too low, adjust stock orders accordingly
  4. Perform physical inventory checks: Physical checks can include manual item counts or the use of barcodes and barcode scanners.
  5. Eliminate obsolete products: Eliminate obsolete products by removing them from inventory or selling them at discounted prices to prevent the accumulation of unsold inventory.