Ever wondered what all the fuss is about with regards to inventory management?
Check out our ABC guide below to discover the key elements of inventory management.
A – Automation
Automation is the process of removing the manual element of checking each item and recording its key details, such as expiry dates and location, by hand. This process can be automated by combining RFID and barcoding technology with the latest ergonomic scanners and label printers, such as our GS1 UK-accredited StockAssist solutions.
B – Barcodes
Invented by Woodland and Silver and patented in 1951, the barcode is based on the Morse code, which is extended to thick and thin bars, and is a now widely-adopted method of representing data in a visual and machine-readable format. Utilised across numerous applications and products, barcodes usually consist of lines of differing thickness which are read and interpreted by barcode readers.
C – Challenges
Online healthcare retailers face a number of obstacles and challenges, such as fierce competition, expiry date management, high costs of wastage, consumers’ reluctance to buy online and lack of inventory management automation.
Overcoming these challenges is critical to the success of online pharmacies and other healthcare providers.
Keeping on top of your fast-moving items whilst ensuring your inventory is replenished in time is a fine art. That’s why investing in a reliable stock management software solution can help ensure your stock levels update in real time. Automating your inventory management system allows you to have an overview of your stock at your fingertips, resulting in time and cost efficiencies when managing consumer demand and replenishing your stocks.
E – Expiry Dates
Identifying the products which have a shorter shelf life is key in avoiding unwanted and costly wastage. A manual process can often result in items being overlooked or not accounted for, which in turns may cause products to expire before they can be shipped. This can be avoided by investing in inventory management solutions which manage SKUs efficiently, whilst eliminating wastage costs and reducing overheads.
F – Forecasting
Make sure you keep a full inventory of your products which you can then use in conjunction with your sales reports. This will help you understand stock movements and identify any patterns in demand. You can use this information to help devise your stock replenishment strategy.
G – Goals
Setting your stock control objectives is crucial in order to evaluate your inventory management effort. In addition, a rigorous approach to managing your supplying chain can help define any goals and objectives you may have for your suppliers and distribution partners.
H – Holistic approach
A trusted and accredited inventory management solution such as StockAssist offers an unrivalled holistic view of you stock control processes. Designed to take away the pressure of manually managing your stock levels, our StockAssist solutions provide you with information such as quantity by item, location (across multiple locations too!), expiry dates and tracking history… all at the touch of a button!
I – Inventory
Defined as “a complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building”, inventory, also referred to as stock, relates to the goods in your warehouse and stock rooms which your customers are buying from you. Managing your inventory levels so that you are not holding more stock than necessary can be tricky. Automating your stock management effort will ensure that your inventory is managed effectively and efficiently.
J – Journey
From organising your warehouse into selected areas through to labelling your stock correctly, inventory management is a journey which can be challenging at time, but which, if done correctly, can result in maximised profitability and reduced overhead costs for your business.
K – Keyboards
Managing equipment, records and items in a sterile environment requires hardware and accessories which can be easily cleaned. Our range of antibacterial devices includes antibacterial keyboards which feature a tempered glass surface, making them fully washable. The surface is treated with NANOARMOUR-2 dual layer antibacterial protection, which include silver nano particles with antibacterial properties.
L – Labelling
Labelling your stock items following GS1 UK’s guidelines will ensure that detailed information on each product can be easily imported into an inventory management solution such as StockAssist. Our solutions include label printers with pre-installed software to allow you to print and label your stock items correctly.
M – Material Movements
Preparing a list of the main categories of your stock will help you plan the layout and item locations which will allow you to tidy up your stock more efficiently. Clearly labelling the areas in your stock room will let your staff locate the items easily and quickly. Using our StockAssist solutions will ensure that material movements are recorded in real time, allowing you to have full control over your inventory – anytime, anywhere.
N – Numbers
Numbers are very important in inventory management, from identifying products through to highlighting the number of items in stocks. Our easy-to-use StockAssist report functionality includes a selection of pre-created reports showing all stock locations and users, so that you can have real-time insightful information on each warehouse and each item, as well as having access to stock-take reports across multiple locations. Our StockAssist solutions also contain our bespoke Report Generator software, allowing you to extract specific information from the system. All reports can be viewed on screen, exported as Excel files or printed directly from the system.
O – Opportunities
Using a trusted inventory management system like StockAssist will allow you to focus your time on other opportunities, such as business development and client relationship management.
P – Profitability
A reliable stock control solution can not only facilitate your supply chain management efforts, but, most importantly, it can minimise the risk of wastage and reduce the overhead costs, thus impacting positively on the profitability levels of your business.
Q – Quantity
Make sure you keep a full inventory of your products which you can then use in conjunction with your sales reports. This will help you understand stock movements and identify any patterns in demand. You can use this information to help devise your stock replenishment strategy. Using one of our accredited StockAssist solutions will simplify this task by providing you with a complete overview of your inventory at the touch of a button.
R – Returns
Unwanted, damaged or faulty goods returned by your customers need to be managed extremely carefully as they could upset your perfectly created stock balance. Remember, stock surplus can be very costly! Returns should be sent back to your suppliers where possible or disposed of, to avoid storing items which ultimately you are unable to sell.
S – Scanners
Our solutions include the best and most ergonomic wireless scanners available on the market, such as those by industry-leading Italian manufacturer Datalogic. The full-touch hand-held display devices that deliver sturdiness, power and performance in a smartphone form factor with the intuitive, user-friendly experience of Android™ to facilitate and support your inventory management process.
T – Traceability
Using RFID and barcode-reading technology, our inventory management solutions, specially developed for the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, can precisely locate inventory batches, serial numbers and final recipients, offering our clients the certainty that their products can be tracked throughout the supply chain, from arrival into the warehouse through to delivery to customers. In addition, returns can be managed smoothly and efficiently, avoiding the need for excessive paperwork and complicated return procedures.
U – Unique Solutions
Businesses may require tailor-made solutions uniquely developed for their inventory management needs. With invaluable expertise gained in delivering complex implementations involving barcode tracking, mobile devices, web applications, label printing, conveyor control, PLC integration, robot connection, RFID and laser etching across a number of industries, your unique project will be in safe hands with KMsoft.
W – Wastage
Because of the automatic stock prioritisation logic built in as standard in StockAssist Medical, you won’t have to throw away expired products ever again, saving you money and time! If you select a product to fulfil an order which has a generous expiry date, StockAssist will suggest an alternative – if available – with a shorter expiry date, which means that product rotation will be optimised automatically for you.
X – Factor
When researching inventory management solution providers, ensure you prepare a check list of the criteria and challenges which are important to your business. This will help you shortlist the best matches to your criteria. If you are looking for a reputable and trusted provider with the X-Factor, look no further than KMsoft.
Y – Yield
Has your annual yield increased? If so, this could be the right time for your business to switch to an automated inventory management solution.
Z – Zero Wastage Costs
Identifying the products which have a shorter shelf life is key in avoiding unwanted and costly wastage. A manual process can often result in items being overlooked or not accounted for, which in turns may result in products expire before they can be shipped. This can be avoided by investing in inventory management solutions which will not only manage SKUs efficiently, but which will also eliminate wastage costs and reduce overheads.
If you would like to find out more about stock control, read Your Ultimate Guide to Inventory Management.