Small businesses are the backbone of every community. They provide people with jobs, promote economic growth, and revitalize neighborhoods. But in order to be successful, they need to make sure they have an accurate inventory. This is why it’s important for small business owners to know how best to use their time when conducting an inventory analysis.
It can be difficult when you don’t know where or what your inventory is located inside the store or warehouse that you own or manage. You may not even realize that you have too much on hand! Doing a periodic review of your inventory will help ensure that your supplies are never depleted and also helps prevent theft by making it more difficult for thieves to take advantage of mistakes in the system. Here are some tips to help you conduct a thorough inventory analysis:
1. Start with the end in mind.
Before you even begin your inventory, it’s helpful to start by determining what you want out of your inventory analysis. This will help ensure that the process meets your expectations and is beneficial for you and your business. A few good questions to ask yourself before you begin your inventory include:
What do I want?
Do I want a system that will help me track my inventory and prevent theft? If so, then you need to invest in security measures like surveillance cameras and alarms. Or, do you simply want a record of what is on hand? Tracking software or bar code scanners can help with this.
What do I need?
Do you want the inventory system to be mobile so it’s easy for you to scan items when they are ordered or reordered? Or, would you prefer a stationary system that would require less time to maintain? You may also want an online inventory collection tool if you have a lot of inventory.
Where is my inventory?
Do you want to start with your most valuable items first, like the goods that are used on a daily basis? Or would you prefer to work backwards by scanning least valuable items first? Asking yourself these questions will help you determine if you need to hire an outside service or if you can do it yourself.
2. Know your inventory.
If you want to track everything in your store, it’s important to know where all of your items are located and which items require special security measures or protection from theft such as cameras and alarms. A good place to start would be the back room of your store, which can be a difficult place to inventory because it’s not easily accessible to the public. If you have a large warehouse, you should explore different ways to manage and track your goods such as crates or storage racks.
3. Be consistent in your approach.
Inventory systems work best when they are used consistently over time. This will allow for a better understanding of the inventory that you have and help prevent theft.
4. Analyze your results.
After you have completed an inventory analysis, it’s important to take a closer look at the data. Did you find any inconsistencies? If so, try to determine why there were errors in your data analysis. This may have been due to human error or faulty equipment. If you are confident that the inventory system is accurate, then not all hope is lost! Try to be consistent over time. Perhaps every other month review your inventory data and take corrective actions based on what you discover. Also, try to track trends in your business because this will help you be proactive rather than reactive in the future.
Business owners can benefit from conducting a periodic inventory analysis. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional, the bottom line is that you need to understand your inventory well enough to make informed decisions about how it affects your business operations. This will help you keep an accurate count of what’s on hand and prevent theft at the same time.