How Automating the Inventory Reorder Process Can Improve Small Business Operations
It’s no secret that small business operations can be fast-paced. You may be understaffed and overworked. In particular, the timely replenishment of products is essential to keep customers happy, ensure smooth workflow, and maximise profitability. Many small businesses keep a manual inventory log, but this can make your inventory system prone to human error. Manual stock counting and reordering is also a tedious task. This doesn’t make efficient use of your or your employee’s time and cuts back on the time that could be spent doing more advanced, important business operations. Fortunately, advancements in technology have paved the way for automation, allowing small businesses to streamline inventory reorder management. Learn how automating the inventory reorder process can significantly improve your small business operations.
Monitoring Inventory Levels With Software
One of the key ways you can enhance your inventory reorder process is by adopting inventory management software. This technology offers a centralised platform to monitor and control inventory levels, automate reorder calculations, and generate real-time reports for informed decision-making. Inventory management software often incorporates features such as automatic stock level monitoring and forecasting, which can help you maintain optimal stock levels while minimising the risk of running low or overstocking — both costly mistakes.
It’s possible to automate the entire reorder process. This includes setting reorder points (ROPs) and safety stock levels, establishing preferred suppliers, and generating purchase orders automatically when inventory falls below predetermined thresholds. Inventory management software will typically provide an ROP calculator that takes your lead time, safety stock, and basic stock and multiplies that by your unit sales per day. Accurate and timely reorder calculations can help your small business reduce manual errors, eliminate guesswork, and improve the efficiency of the supply chain.
Accurate Tracking With Barcode Scanning Systems
Barcode scanning systems are another way that you can automate inventory workflow that complements inventory management software. Barcode scanners enable your small business to track and update inventory levels in real time accurately. By scanning barcodes on products during the receiving and sales points, you can automate data entry, minimise data entry errors, and ensure accurate inventory counts.
When integrated with inventory management software, barcode scanning systems provide a seamless solution for automating reorder processes. As inventory is sold or received, the barcode scanner updates the system, triggering automatic reorder calculations when stock levels reach predefined thresholds. This integration eliminates the need for manual inventory counts, reduces human error, and ensures that reorder decisions are based on accurate, up-to-date information.
Connectivity Through Cloud-based Solutions
Cloud-based solutions have revolutionised the way businesses large and small operate, and inventory reorder management is no stranger to operating in the cloud. Cloud-based inventory software offers numerous benefits, including accessibility, scalability, and real-time synchronisation across multiple locations or devices. By leveraging the power of the cloud, you can automate your small businesses’ reorder processes and enjoy the advantages of seamless data sharing and collaboration with employees, stakeholders, and even customers waiting on package shipments.
With cloud-based solutions, you are able to receive real-time notifications when inventory levels reach reorder points or when suppliers update product availability. This lets you proactively make a decision, reordering promptly and avoiding stockouts. Additionally, cloud-based systems often provide integration capabilities with suppliers, simplifying the procurement process and ensuring smooth communication between all stakeholders involved.
Types of Small Businesses That Benefit From Automation
Any type of small business can benefit from automation. Most pertinently, though, small businesses with consistent inventory flow can see the most improvement. For example, if you run a small e-commerce business specialising in a wide range of clothing sizes, you will likely have to monitor stock levels closely. It wouldn’t bode well if your brand was out of stock of a certain size if that’s the whole point of being size-inclusive in the first place. That’s where inventory automation comes in, ensuring you don’t miss a beat — or a sale.
Franchise businesses, in particular, can greatly benefit from cloud-based, automated reorder processes. Franchises typically operate multiple locations and deal with standardised inventory items. By implementing inventory management software with automated reordering, franchises can centralise their inventory control, improve consistency across locations, and optimise their supply chain. This plays into your business strengths and streamlines operations, reduces costs, and enhances customer satisfaction.
Moving Forward With SMB Inventory Automation
By leveraging automated inventory management software, barcode scanning systems, and cloud-based solutions, your small business can streamline its operations, reduce manual errors, and make informed reorder decisions. Automated systems provide real-time visibility into inventory levels, generate accurate reorder calculations, and facilitate seamless communication with suppliers. As a result, you are well on your way to improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction. In today’s competitive landscape, embracing automation in inventory reorder management is no longer an option but a necessity for small businesses like yours to succeed.
Advance your inventory management capabilities to support your business with IoSCM. Call 0800 1422 522 or visit our warehousing courses page to find out more.