Every aspect of your business is important, but stock could be considered the backbone of the whole operation. After all, it’s what your customers come for – and what brings in the profit.
Unfortunately, I see many businesses that don’t treat their stock like the valuable asset it is. Of course, no-one does this on purpose – but the common practice of manual stock control can cause more damage than you may realise.
In 2016 alone, it was estimated that a staggering $4.5 billion was lost due to inventory shrinkage in Australia’s retail, warehousing and distribution sector.
Download HARMONiQ’s Effective Stock Management eBook
The losses don’t stop with physical stock either. They extend to the opportunities you’re failing to pursue due to being unable to harness your stock data.
Are you losing more than you think?
The reason it’s so hard to notice when your stock is being mistreated is that manual processes have long been the norm, and technological improvements are ignored. And it’s more common than you might imagine – it’s how many inventory and distribution-based businesses run.
But as more businesses realise there are better ways to manage their stock, the more you’ll find yourself falling behind the competition with your manual processes. Here are three reasons why.
1. You lose more – and you don’t know why
Inventory shrinkage is a part of business – but how much is too much? It’s estimated that Australian wholesalers and retailers lose an average of 1.24% total turnover per year.
A lot of this loss is to do with mistakes that stem from manual stock control, including:
- Damaged stock
- Missing or wrongly stored items
- Ordering too much or too little
Manual handling isn’t the only problem. When all your inventory information is recorded through paperwork, it could take weeks – or longer – to find where a problem originated. This makes your chance of identifying and rectifying your shortcomings very slim.
2. Staff are working harder, but achieving less
Nothing in your business works in isolation. Every process and action rely on another to make the business work. However, manual inventory control can have a staccato effect on the overall process.
Errors in stock management can lead to an extensive knock on effect, making it hard for your staff to achieve efficient workflows or see purpose and results of their actions.
This is caused by:
- Poor visibility over inventory, availability and/or deliveries
- Detailed and arduous tasks that increase the risk of human error
- Unclear communication between departments, or between two staff in a supply chain
This often results in physical stocking errors, such as over and under purchasing and restocking. It also creates confusion across the business, with sales reps selling unavailable stock and customers receiving incorrect orders.
3. You’re left guessing what your customers want
Stock isn’t just about what you have, but what you can offer. The disconnect manual control creates between departments of your business mean you have limited visibility over your customers’ needs.
You’re likely to be holding onto dead stock and selling out of in-demand items with little to no warning, tying up capital in the process. Not to mention, incorrectly shaping customer expectations, and affecting your competitive place in the market at the same time.
These factors can all convince customers to go to another supplier – and stay there.
Work smarter, not harder with inventory management software
It can be hard to change from what you’re used to, but if you do what you’ve always done… well, you know the saying. By embracing modern technology, you’ll be able to move your business away from the ‘same old’ and into the future.
One such technology is inventory management software. The same way that manual processes restrict you, inventory management software can open doors to new opportunities and capabilities.
Whether it’s a sales team wanting insights into buying behaviour and popular lines, or a warehouse worker who needs to be able to find and deliver an item more efficiently, an inventory management system can help by delivering:
- Accurate reporting and non-paper-based data for accurate and easy stocktake
- Real time alerts of stock variances and easy identification of problem areas
- Flagging discrepancies in performance
- Insight into consumer behaviour and product demand
The capabilities of purpose-built software open doors not only in the management of physical stock, but the way that stock is communicated and viewed across the business.
Don’t just apply – integrate, with HARMONiQ
A fully integrated inventory system like HARMONiQ recognises businesses individuality, while also working with the demands of the industry. Businesses that have implemented the technology have been able to eliminate or simplify labour intensive tasks and achieved tangible efficiency improvements:
- 5% decrease in frequency of out-of-stock items
- 95% of orders delivered complete and on time
- 7 times more likely to find and access procurement data needed for decision making
HARMONiQ is an all-in-one platform with advanced inventory management functionality that can help you revolutionise your stock and inventory management.
With an integrated solution like HARMONiQ, you not only fast-track yourself to a competitive leader but embrace technology to better your business and protect your assets.
Download the HARMONiQ: Effective Stock Management eBook today as your next step guide on becoming an organisation driven by smarter warehousing—because your computer system should not be a barrier to implementing an effective stock management process.
Robert Butler is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the inventory management in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.