From the beginning to the end of all retail operations, keeping track of your store’s inventory is crucial to maintaining efficiency throughout the rest of your business operations. Luckily, in today’s digitized world, inventory control systems make managing your store’s products easier than ever.
Store inventory software can help your business thrive by introducing you to proven growth strategies. Stock control lets you stay on top of regular customer demand and supply chain interruptions, so you’re always prepared to offer the best services and products possible.
What Is Inventory Control?
Store inventory control lets you track stock levels, from incoming to outgoing goods. The inventory management process uses cloud-based software to monitor your inventory across your physical and online retail facilities. The system integrates all your inventory tasks, including:
- Warehouse storage
- Data entry
- Stock counting
Rather than completing all these tasks manually, inventory control software compiles these responsibilities into one convenient platform, organizing your inventory records and saving you time between completing your business’s various operations. The system will monitor stock that leaves or enters your stores and warehouses, giving you a comprehensive overview of all product movements from a single control system.
Inventory control helps you keep track of where items are in your warehouse so you can find products efficiently. It also gives you an idea of when stock levels are running low so you can prepare for new shipments.
To begin an inventory control program, all you need are your past sale records and current information about what you have in stock. The software will analyze this data to discover sales trends and help you anticipate optimal times to order more products.
Different Types of Inventory
Inventory exists in different forms at many points in the supply chain. Taking advantage of the various types of inventory helps your business stay stocked and offer excellent customer service.
Before products make it to your retail stores, they go through several manufacturing steps, including:
- Raw materials: Manufacturers use raw materials to assemble partially or fully finished goods.
- Work-in-process: An in-progress inventory designation allows your company to keep track of products while they’re still being manufactured. Companies use this information to know when they can expect future product shipments and to determine the root causes of defects.
- Finished goods: As a retailer, you deal most directly with products that are finished and ready to be sold. Once they’re shipped to your warehouses or stores, you can put them in store packaging and stock your shelves.
- Transit: Transit, or pipeline, inventory, are goods that are currently traveling from one place to another. Once your supplier tells you your shipment is on its way, it becomes transit goods until you receive it.
Be aware of these steps in the manufacturing and shipping process. Delays earlier on in the supply chain may result in a lack of products for your warehouses and stores. To mitigate some of these issues, you can stay prepared with other forms of inventory you have more control over, such as:
- Safety stock: Also called buffer inventory, safety stock is items you order and store in excess of customer demand so you have extra items in case unexpected supply chain issues arise. Making space for safety stock helps you prepare for surprises or take advantage of supplier bulk discounts.
- Anticipation stock: If you know you carry certain items that will be in high demand during a peak season, you can order stock in advance to keep meeting customer needs even as they surpass your usual supply chain operations.
As your business accumulates inventory, your primary goal is to move it to stores and customers as quickly as possible. An inventory control system can help you manage extra stock while maximizing your use of space and saving you time and money.
Why Store Inventory Control Matters
Retail inventory management helps you save time and money while operating your business at maximum efficiency. When you have a variety of inventory types and products to keep track of, your store needs an accurate picture of how much stock you have to sell, as well as when you can expect future shipments and what to do during supply chain interruptions.
Some of the biggest benefits of store inventory control are:
- Storage organization: By knowing which items are most popular with buyers, you can group fast-selling items together in easily accessible areas of your warehouses. When you need to restock or ship these items, they’re ready to go, and you can easily see when they’re running low. As a whole, an organized warehouse helps you fulfill orders quickly and may even let you decrease your storage space by consolidating items, saving you money.
- Efficiency: Technology like inventory management software and barcode scanners let you perform tasks with more accurate results than manual processes, resulting in fewer mistakes and more productive workdays. Some inventory control programs will also help you automate the rest of your inventory processes from receiving to stock transfer, so you can leave this work to the machines and delegate other responsibilities to your staff.
- Better customer relationships: When you use accurate software to improve your inventory operations, you’ll find, stock and ship products faster than ever. Customers will appreciate your fast turnaround times. In addition, you’ll be more organized, which means you’ll be more likely to have products in stock when customers want them most.
Inventory Control Solutions
Depending on your business needs, you can find an inventory solution that works best for you. The two main types of inventory control systems are periodic and perpetual:
- Periodic: If you’re a small business, your staff may be able to handle many of your inventory operations before software intervention. Periodic inventory control updates your stock count in the software systems after your employees have conducted a physical inventory count.
- Perpetual: For a more frequently updated inventory control option, perpetual systems use barcodes and scanners to immediately add or remove products from your database once you receive or sell them. You won’t need to do manual inventory counts and can conveniently check your exact stock levels at any time.
When searching for an inventory control solution, look for one that will merge seamlessly with your existing workflow. The best inventory software will fit in with your established operations, letting your business easily transition into its most productive iteration.
Learn More About Finale Inventory Today
Inventory management can make all the difference in how your business stocks its retail stores. An effective inventory control system will help your stores and warehouses stay organized and prepared for any supply chain surprises.
Finale Inventory is the name you can trust for all your inventory control needs. Our systems include features and advantages to help you keep track of your inventory and integrate several other important platforms. We’ll work with your business to offer you the best combination of services for your needs.
Contact us today to learn more about improving your business strategy with our top-of-the-line inventory control system!