As companies look for ways to work leaner, greener, and more agile, one of the first areas of focus is inventory control. The dominance of e-commerce and a focus on customer experience are driving a push to serve customers more quickly while eliminating excess inventory languishing on warehouse shelves. It's more important than ever to know in real time exactly what goods are stored in your inventory, where they are, and how quickly you're likely to need more.
Whether you have your own warehouse, or work with a logistics provider, a technologically sophisticated inventory management system can help ensure that you know what you've got, you know where it is, and you know how much of it you need to keep in stock.
It's never a good look to sell a customer a product that you don't actually have in stock. Whether you backorder the product, or offer them a refund, their experience with you has automatically become less than stellar. An inventory management system tracks your goods into and around the warehouse by scanning barcodes or RFID chips at every step of the process. Up to the second updates ensure that you won't have to tell another customer that they bought something that you don't have.
Real-time information from an inventory management system has an added benefit for e-commerce sites. If this information is integrated into your user interface, customers will be able to see how many items are left in stock, or how many have been sold over a certain period of time. As your stock becomes limited, perceived scarcity may drive even more sales. On the other hand, a perception of trendiness or popularity can also nudge consumers to finalize a sale.
If you have your own warehouse, you know that pinpointing item location is crucial for efficient picking, packing, and shipping. If you contract with a 3PL provider, or a warehouse that provides fulfillment services, you need to be confident in their ability to quickly locate your items and ship them to your customers. An inventory management system can help you be certain that all of the goods in the warehouse are in their proper spot. When all of your inventory is in the right place, the process of getting it off the shelves and on to your customers is that much quicker.
Excess inventory contributes to waste, and takes up space that could be used more efficiently for other goods. Too little inventory, on the other hand, runs the risk of not being able to keep up with customer demand. Finding the Goldilocks option of a "just right" amount of inventory requires the use of a functional, transparent, inventory management system. Since the inventory management system is tracking every move of your goods - including how many you sell at any given time - you can fine-tune your estimates for how much inventory to keep in stock.
Controlling your inventory with a good management system also helps you stay on top of your warehousing needs. By keeping in stock only the inventory that you need, you won't pay for unnecessary space. Keep your inventory at the "just right" point, and you can save money on warehousing without risking the all-important customer experience.
At Overflo, we pride ourselves on staying on the cutting edge of technology integration, inventory management, EDI, XML, and RFID. If you are looking for a warehouse to help you take advantage of all that technology has to offer in the logistics arena, contact us today for a free quote.
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