Proper inventory management is crucial to the success of your business. Here are some of our favorite “upgrades” that allow you take better advantage of all your inventory management system has to offer.

1. Incorporating a barcoding system to track inventory more accurately and efficiently

Have you ever wondered what allows you to get in and out of the grocery store so quickly? Barcodes. Can you imagine a cashier having to type in each individual UPC code? No, that would take way too long with a cart full of groceries. So why do you have employees manually counting each shipment that comes in? Incorporating a barcoding system to track inventory will increase your team’s efficiency and cut down chances for human error. Barcode scanners take mere seconds to read barcodes and can do so from up to 40 feet away.

2. Use real-time analytics

An inventory management system puts a lot of data at your fingertips. But what you do with that data is up to you. You can use it to help forecast seasonal trends or discover which product lines are unprofitable and need to be cut. Technology allows you to update your inventory in real-time, so you know how many widgets you have on hand the moment a truck comes in or a shipment leaves the warehouse. This data provides you with the bigger picture, allowing your team to analyze and optimize appropriately.

3. Place more importance on popular SKUs

It’s no secret that some items perform better than others, so why treat them all the same? Focus the majority of your attention on the 20% of SKUs that make up 80% of your sales. More often than not, these aren’t your “big ticket” items. These are your bread and butter widgets that move quickly no matter what time of year it is. You want to make sure that you have a consistent inventory on hand to avoid stock-outs and unhappy customers. Do you have two popular items people often purchase together? Cut down on foot traffic in your warehouse and slot them next to each other.

4. Don’t forget about slow-moving products

There are always winners and losers, and unfortunately, some of your products just don’t make the cut. Inventory is one of the most expensive assets your business has, so the less you hang on to, the better. Slow moving items take up valuable real estate that could be dedicated to more profitable items. Do you have multiple warehouses? Shift all of your slow-moving widgets to one location. Is the item discontinued? Sell it for a hefty discount or offer it to an off-price retailer. You’re better off being proactive instead of shoving these items into a distant corner of your warehouse and allowing them to collect dust.

5. Make use of mobile technology

Training your employees is an investment. And while important, taking the time to train team members isn’t always possible. For example, taking on temporary staff to help with the holiday hustle often prevents thorough and lengthy training. That’s why you should implement tools that allow new employees to be up and running in no time. Consider adding mobile computers to your tool box. They’re fast, rugged, and most importantly – easy to use. Many run on an Android operating system which integrates nicely with the inventory management software that you already use.

Does your inventory management system need an upgrade?