If you are a business owner, stock control should be a priority. Companies that know what stock they have on hand can enhance profit margins and serve customers better at the same time.
Stock control is essentially having an overview of the stock the business owns, both physically and in the cloud. Staff should have access to information about every item in the warehouse, as well as information relating to the flow of inventory in and out.
Stock control is important for the following reasons:
It Improves Operational Efficiency
Having good stock control improves operational efficiency, particularly in the warehouse. Companies avoid both over-and under-stocking, allowing them to use their warehouses at maximum efficiency.
Sophisticated stock control also transfers much of the labor of managing stock to software. In so doing, companies avoid manual processes, allowing them to direct their staff to pursue higher-value activities.
It Reduces Stock Shortages
Over the last 18 months, shortages have dogged supply chain companies and retailers. Products have been missing from shelves, leading to lost profit opportunities.
Stock control helps to reduce the likelihood of running out of stock. It attempts to accommodate changes on both the demand and supply sides, helping to maintain minimum stock levels. Companies can better predict when items are going to face a squeeze and then seek strategies that mitigate the effect.
It Improves Multi-Channel Stock Tracking
While some retailers continue to sell via a single channel, many do not. These days, companies sell via brick-and-mortar stores, their websites, Amazon, eBay, and even social media. Because of this, it is more important than ever to track stock and integrate stock control with each channel.
It Improves Returns Management
Assigning items to the correct location is another perennial challenge of any warehouse-using business. With millions of goods in stock, it is all too easy to send customers the wrong products.
Stock management reduces the chances of this happening. Customers are more likely to receive the items they ordered and, therefore, less liable to make returns. If they do return stock, then proper stock management also makes it easier to process incoming items and send them back out again.
It Reduces Shrinkage
Shrinkage is a largely euphemistic term that either refers to missing stock or theft. When companies do not track every item in their possession, shrinkage starts to become a problem. Lack of tracking and barcodes means that it is easier to steal.
However, full-stack stock management helps to prevent this. Systems provide visibility of the status of all products, deterring theft or preventing it altogether.
It Improves Forecasting
Lastly, knowing what customers are demanding right now or in the past is trivial. However, developing a reliable indicator of what they might want in the future is more demanding.
Stock control helps to reduce guesswork by giving you and your team more accurate data for forecasting. Improved analytics that compiles data from a range of sources tell teams what they need to order over the short and medium-term more reliably.