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Supply Chain, Inventory Management for Smaller Businesses

Misplacing your keys is irritating, but when you’re a small business and you have no idea where your inventory is or how much you have, it can become a serious problem.

Inventory management should be a high priority, but according to a recent report, 21 percent of small businesses are still using spreadsheets to manage their inventory, 15 percent rely on accounting programs, 14 percent are clinging to manual inventory control and a whopping eight percent don’t even bother.

If you’re in this huge majority that’s still shunning modern inventory management software from your 3PL, it may be time to take another look at what these tools can do for you and your company.

Saving Time, Saving Money

Investing in inventory management tools can require a bit of upfront expense, but in the long run you’ll find that you save a significant amount of time and money, while preventing losses and customer-angering backorders.

These are just a few of the benefits of implementing a software-driven supply chain and inventory management system in your warehouse:

  • More efficient package handling. A good inventory system also means good data and analytics on your warehouse. You not only know how many items you have, but where they’re located and if you dig a little deeper, you can learn how they’re sold.If you often send two products out together, for example, you might find that moving them to bins that are side-by-side will save pick time that really adds up!
  • Leaner distribution warehouses. There’s a delicate balance to be struck in any warehouse. If you have too much inventory it ends up taking up a lot of space and preventing you from bringing in other products that might be selling better. On the other hand, not having enough means back orders and customers who may defect because they don’t want to wait. Lean warehousing is all about predicting exactly how much inventory is ideal, and with a good inventory package, you’ll be able to stay lean and mean.
  • More information all the time. It could be argued that the entire world is sinking in a sea of data, but when it comes to your inventory and supply chain, more is definitely more.Having information on where packages are and when they’re due to arrive, whether that’s at your location or your customer’s, is vital to moving those items as quickly as possible. Fast shipping is important to today’s shoppers, but they can be kept happy with a customer web portal where they can track their shipments.

Just because you’re a smaller eCommerce business doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a good inventory management system. If you’ve grown to the point that you feel like you need help in this area, partnering with a 3rd party logistics company can get you the tools you need, as well as the highly-trained professionals who already know how to use them.

December 27, 2017
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