5 Tips for Effective Inventory Management & Planning

Ordering, stocking, and managing your business’s materials or products is no easy job. It involves a great deal of foresight, industry knowledge, and an impeccable dedication to organization. Unfortunately, many businesses struggle to create, implement, and stick to effective inventory management practices. Often, this results in a failure to meet customer demands consistently, and potentially a failure of your business. To ensure you do not fall victim to the same hazards, our team at Plastic Pallet Pros has compiled this list of inventory management best practices. These are just a few of the tips we have picked up over the years that have made us a trusted resource for companies across the nation. Read on to get started on your most organized inventory management plan ever.

The Six Inventory Types

Understanding how to manage your inventory starts with understanding what types of inventory exist. While there are many more types of inventory out there, these are just a few which may be most important to you and your business.

Finished Products

Typically stored in a warehouse until they are sold or shipped, a lot of work and raw material goes into these finished products. Your own inventory may start even sooner, with those raw materials.

In-Transit Goods

Once the finished products have left the warehouse and are being transported to their final destination, such as a storefront, they become “in-transit” goods.

Cycle Inventory

This type of inventory refers to products which are shipped to a business from a manufacturer or supplier and are then sold to customers. An example would be any product on store shelves, such as the latest electronics.

Anticipation Inventory

When a business is expecting a large surge in sales, such as a Black Friday event, they will often order excess product in expectation of meeting that new demand.

Decoupling Inventory

If a supplier or manufacturer is about to go out of business or a certain product is being discontinued, there are instances where retailers will set aside parts, supplies, or complete products in anticipation of consumers still demanding those goods.

MRO Goods

Standing for Maintenance, Repair, and Operating Supplies, MRO goods support the production process.

Now that we understand some general types of inventory, it’s time to gain a better understanding of how we can better manage said inventory. These all take time to implement and perfect, so don’t worry if this all seems like a lot to handle.

Tip 1: Prioritize Inventory by Price and Demand

Inventory specialists across industries usually create priority groups to help them understand which products are most important to their business. Typically, products are grouped into the three following groups:

Tip 2: Perform Regular Inventory Audits

Whether your business performs them yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, or all of the above, you should know that these regular audits are a crucial component of effective inventory management. By manually counting your inventory and ensuring that it matches your recorded numbers, you will be able to catch any discrepancies right away, find the cause, and protect your business in the process.

Additionally, if during this process you find that an unreliable supplier is late, or frequently shorts your orders, you will be able to find a solution much more rapidly and avoid dealing with uncertainties concerning your stock.

Tip 3: Keep Your Processes Consistent

If everyone on your staff processes your inventory differently, you are going to have a hard time sorting through all the pieces when it comes time to perform an audit. Even the smallest discrepancies can cause major headaches further down the road, so be sure to set a standard procedure and stick to it. From verification to unpacking, counting and accuracy checks, every step of your inventory process should be exactly the same for every person involved.  

Tip 4: Keep Track of ALL Your Sales

On any given day, you should be able to know exactly what you sold and how much of it you have sold. Having this information readily available allows you to analyze which items sell faster than others, which products have seasonal or weekly peaks, which items sell together, and more incredibly important inventory data which will influence your future purchasing. Having an intimate understanding of this data will help you keep your inventory managed and your business decisions smarter. 

Tip 5: Use the Proper Organization & Technology

The proper packaging is crucial to ensuring your inventory is being handled properly. If your business is just starting out, you may be able to get away with improperly packaged materials strewn about your warehouse. But once sales begin to pick up, that haphazard system will not be conducive to further growth.

Good inventory organization, such as using the proper pallet stacking techniques, can make the difference between fulfilling your orders on time or not. Make sure that your organization methods, tools, and integrated technology are the best option for your business by working with a professional.

Work with Plastic Pallet Pros

We hope you found these inventory management tips helpful.

Plastic Pallet Pros is dedicated to providing the highest level of service for your pallet and organizational needs, especially when it comes to managing inventory. From order to delivery, we want to help you develop the best solutions to drive your business forward into a more productive future.

If you would like to work with the best in the business, contact our team today!