Do you think that your small business is too successful and efficient to be impacted by common inventory management issues? Well, you may want to think again! Despite their overall success, some of the biggest names in the business world have had their bottom line hit by mishaps in inventory control and management. From too much inventory to running out in minutes, these mistakes resulted in millions in losses for major corporations, as well as damage to their customer service reputations.
Pairing Manual Methods with Complex Inventory Systems
Are you using barcodes to keep track of your products and orders? If not, you could be making a critical mistake when it comes to managing inventory-related tasks and operations. With a barcode system, you are far less likely to run into inventory errors that could cost you time and money, both of which are precious resources for small business owners. You can eliminate the risk for these errors, including miskeyed data, paper-oriented mishaps, and issues with reporting and documenting processes. Opting for a highly organized inventory system, such as using barcodes, is one of the most effective and effortless steps you can take in reducing common inventory mistakes.
The tendency for human error is one of the biggest drawbacks of manual inventory management. Also keep in mind that any investment made into a barcode system can save you the time and manual labor that it takes to track inventory operations by hand. On top of that, you can use the system to improve timing your orders and avoid disappointing customers by running out of items—thus preserving all-important customer loyalty.
Not Researching Options for Small Business Tools
When it comes to managing orders, many small business owners get tripped up by the order fulfillment and shipping process. Using a barcode system can help reduce the number of errors related to shipping orders, but order management or shipping tools enhance efficiency that much more. With data-driven metrics to guide your process, you can rest assured delays, stock outs and overstocks are minimized.
If you’re unsure of which order management and shipping tool is best for your business, you’d do well to discuss your options with a business consultant. Also, ZenBusiness has a list of some of the must-have technologies for small business owners. Last but most certainly not least, try using software with financial reporting tools. Being able to see what you have in outstanding invoices, expenses, and sales in real-time will help you make better decisions about inventory.
Providing Impersonal Responses to In-House Inventory Mistakes
Last but not least, it should be said that no matter what safeguards you have in place, mistakes will still happen from time to time. When they do, it’s to your advantage to approach mistakes with humility, particularly when it’s time to resolve those concerns with your customers. If your current practice is to send automated emails or short communications around inventory issues, your customers are less likely to feel valued. That means they are less inclined to return for your business.
So for example, if you ship the wrong item or an item runs out post-checkout, consider calling your customer personally, or sending a personalized email, to take full responsibility. You can offer a discount when the item comes in, or a replacement item of higher value at the lower price as well. And when your customers come to you with a problem, always handle those conflicts in a compassionate and constructive manner.
Inventory mishaps happen to all businesses, big and small. With the right customer service standards and inventory management tools, however, inventory mistakes don’t have a catastrophic effect on your small business. When it comes to keeping both customers and profits, this is an investment you won’t soon regret.