Good inventory management is fundamental to the operation of businesses, including e-commerce. It is a challenging task to have a managerial control of the e-store inventory. You can't promise something you can't deliver, right? Therefore, an up-to-date flow control of incoming and outgoing goods to meet the demands brings security and predictability for replenishment.
To avoid the risk of logistical problems that can damage the organization's image, good inventory management practices are indispensable to achieve good results. Check out, in this article, life-saving tips to manage the stock of your virtual store. Enjoy your reading!
1. Define the need for inventory control
It is important to define what you really need to have in stock. There is a technique known as DropShipping, which consists in the virtual store not working with its own stock, but rather offering and selling products that are allocated in the supplier's stock. This is one of the ways to obtain greater advantages in virtual business.
There is also the Cross docking method, which works by crossing docks: the supplier sends the goods to the logist to check and verify that everything is right according to the order. Soon after this, the product is packed and forwarded to the customer.
However, if this is not your case, you can use your own stock, well defined in categories, to facilitate the location of products and to take inventory. In addition, you can opt for a hybrid model using these techniques together, evaluating each supplier and the demands of your online store, so as not to decrease your variety of products and to facilitate management.
2. Constantly work with metrics
To achieve success in management, it is necessary to have metrics that allow the accurate diagnosis and the most appropriate measures for your online store stock. These indicators favor in the harmony of the operation of the stock. The main metrics are
2.1. storage capacity
This metric indicates how much you are using your available space for inventory. You need to have an excellent knowledge of your storage area. By understanding what capacity is available to receive and allocate each product, you should have, by current industry practice, about 85% total stock occupancy.
2.2 Cycle time
Cycle time is a metric that refers to the time related to the process of purchasing and receiving goods. This is made possible by calculating the time it takes from the time the goods are ordered from the supplier to the time the order is received in your inventory.
Thus, this indicator shows exactly how long in advance you need to place the order and avoid delays in the sales process to the final consumer. This avoids dissatisfied customers not being able to meet delivery deadlines.
2.3 Stock coverage
This is one of the key metrics: it lets you know how long your current inventory will meet the demand flow without the need for immediate replenishment. To calculate this indicator, you need to cross-reference the amount of products you have in stock with the sales forecast, and there may be some market variations.
2.4 Average consumption
With this indicator, you have a demonstration of the quantity of items consumed in a given period. Although this metric has variations such as promotions, economy and weather, in general terms, it serves to have a good notion of the amount of a certain product that you need to have in your stock.
For example, if you want to know the quantity of a certain item sold per day and you know that you sold 6000 in a month, on average, you will know that 200 units are sold per day. So you have a control of estimating how many products your stock should have to cover this sales flow.
3. Keep the products with the highest outflows easily accessible
This is a valuable tip, because starting from the basic principle for the organization of the virtual store stock, what is most requested should be easily located to speed up the process. Put the items with the highest demand in your inventory in the most accessible places, so that they can be quickly separated and checked for shipping to the customer.
Automating the inventory management control makes this task easier and prevents errors. It is common for basic points to be neglected when it comes to virtual store stock. So be sure to always check that cleanliness and organization are up to date.
4. Keep track of arrivals and departures up to date
To maintain inventory control, it is necessary not to neglect at any time to keep the information of incoming and outgoing goods updated. Depending on the number of orders and the size of the stock, this task becomes more complex, which requires that all records are properly updated.
Choose a good software to facilitate this control: there are free and paid versions that come with integration tools with other sectors such as finance, supplies, invoices, etc. Thus, all stock control is centralized and more efficient.
5. Invest in a good relationship with suppliers
The suppliers are your business partners that provide all the supply for your online store stock, so it is essential to have a good relationship with them. Don't just stick to price, but to trust and good relationship through transparency in the dialogue and the desired quality of service.
Be clear in the negotiation of contracts, check if these suppliers are aligned with the deadlines you need to keep the stock up to date with the demands. A good partner will always be willing to serve you when necessary and this will make all the difference in your business results.
So, don't forget to train your team to know all these tips and engage in these good practices. In this way, you will get the best out of what e-store inventory management can offer your business.
Have you organized your online store's inventory? Are you excited to put all these life-saving tips into practice? Then share your experience with us by leaving your comment on this post. Don't forget!