Guest Contributor: Marcus Lansky, Founder at Abilitator.biz
When you are a seller, you typically have inventory. And when that inventory gets out of control, you have a problem. Issues with your stock can cause headaches that an Advil won’t take away. After all, the products you sell are the backbone of your bottom line, and when these items go rogue, your profits take a nosedive. If you want to get ahead of the game, now is the time to make changes so that you can get through your next busy season with success. Keep scrolling for a few common problems and their oh-so-simple solutions.
The Problem: I can’t keep up with my inventory.
The Solution: Start documenting.
Inventory management is crucial for small businesses, whether you have a brick-and-mortar commercial location or operate out of your home. When you’re first starting out, it might be enough just to know instinctively what you have and what you need. However, when you begin to grow, you have to implement an inventory management system. The simplest way to do this is to start with an inventory spreadsheet. Techwalla explains that this is a simple and straightforward process, and as long as you know the number, its price, and quantity on hand, you can start to track your ingoing and outgoing products.
The Problem: My warehouse is too small.
The Solution: Add more space.
Looking at your warehouse as the only space that you will ever have is a huge mistake. Although it’s difficult and can be costly, you always have the option to add space. If you cannot build on to your current building, but you have spare room on your property — or even in a corner of the parking lot — it might make sense to build a small steel building. Doing this can give you the floor space that you need without changing the layout of your home or office building. There are many different types of detached buildings, and each has pros and cons. Armstrong Steel explains that, for example, some steel frame designs are better for warehouse space, while others are more suitable for commercial operation.
The Problem: My customers keep getting the wrong items.
The Solution: Implement QA procedures.
Quality assurance is something that should be a priority from the time raw goods enter your location until the point of departure after a customer places an order. If it’s not, you are asking for trouble. Implement a system of quality assurance checking, and especially before shipping if your customers routinely complain of getting the wrong items or of damaged goods upon arrival. In addition to making sure the item packed matches the purchase order, this last once-over can also ensure no components are missing and that it is securely packaged. It’s also your last chance to remove the item from your inventory database or spreadsheet.
The Problem: Half my inventory was last year’s news.
The Solution: Get rid of it.
Obsolete inventory is a costly problem. Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do with items nobody wants. You could write it off and take it as a loss, donate it as a tax deduction, bundle it with other items, or offer it at a hefty discount. Alternatively, if you’ve tried and you simply can’t get your customers to bite, look for a salvage buyer that might be interested. You won’t likely recover your entire investment, but they will handle pick-up, saving you the expense of having to move unwanted goods. To reduce the chances of having excess items next year, pay close attention to historical sales so that you can better forecast for the next quarter.
There are many other problems and solutions that you will learn as you gain experience as a seller. But the above are a few of the most common. They are also some of the most easily preventable if you’re willing to put in the work.
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