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Small Business Inventory

May 17, 2021
Bill Kimball

inventory management for small business

On the flip side, having too few of an item on hand can lead to a loss of potential customers. Imagine customers go to your brick-and-mortar store only to discover that their favorite product is out of stock. If you think they’ll just come back when the product is in stock, think again. A study of German consumers by GT Nexus found that 63 percent of shoppers who encountered out-of-stock inventory chose to buy the product from a competitor or didn’t buy it at all. Don’t worry, you can download a report of your current inventory and update your inventory quantities in bulk using the import tool. This is especially helpful for adding new inventory and verifying current stock.

inventory management for small business

The ability to easily import from QBO and export inventory data directly back to QBO simplifies operations and ensures accurate numbers for financial reports, taxes, or regulatory compliance. Products might be assigned serial numbers, lot numbers or batch numbers to track groups of products created with the same materials and at the same time.

Lightspeed: Best Inventory Management Software For Retail And Restaurants

Follow the techniques above, and your retail store or ecommerce business will soon be running an effective small business inventory management system. If you are a small business with less than 100 SKUs, yes, you can. It will just require a lot of time and energy to update continually. You’ll want to maintain a spreadsheet with all of your SKUs or products and update them daily to record sales, purchase orders, and shipments received.

It’s easy for stockroom and warehouse staff to check in a stock shipment with only the packing slip, but that’s a big mistake. Using a POS system like Lightspeed keeps product details organized and keeps real-time inventory counts. Inventory management is a continuous process between retailers, product suppliers, and customers. SOS Inventory is the perfect operational stock control system for the small business. It is an invaluable tool for structuring information from every department to generate one clear picture of the entire organization. Both are doing their best to maintain accurate inventory information when reporting their data to management.

Online Inventory Management

Excel inventory management can become overly complicated, or even nightmarish, if you don’t organize it or if you have too many products, but it works well for small businesses. With built in formulas, you can automatically tally sales figures, organize based on the number of sold products, or based on sales value to integrate with your accounting and profit/sales reports. Creating running inventory totals, and sales data based on the period is also possible, so long as your Excel inputs are correct. You might want to open another store, add new product lines, or start selling online. Modern inventory management software makes it easy to add products or sales channels. Plus they allow you to compare sales data from right across your business. NCR Counterpoint is a cloud-based point of sale and inventory solution for retail, wholesale, and e-commerce sellers.

That limit increases to 100 monthly orders on the next plan up and tops out at 5,000 monthly orders on the Premium plan. Shopify’s inventory features place it at the top of the heap when it comes to eCommerce inventory. Combine that with Shopify’s POS, payment processing, gateway, and marketing features, and you have one formidable package for merchants. That means you can start with the free plan and sign up for a higher subscription tier as your business grows. However, large businesses may find the limited number of shipping labels on each plan and the relatively simple reporting to be too constraining. While Zoho Inventory is a worthwhile tool, it may be best suited for smaller businesses. Whether you’re starting a restaurant, opening a bar, or ramping up a retail store, having a library of available items in your facility is important.

This is termed your expected or starting QOH for purposes of your inventory count. Your POS does the math for you by tracking your received items and subtracting the sold items to give you an expected QOH for each item you carry. Most POS systems support bar code software, including labeling and scanning. Even if you are purchasing stock accurately, not properly receiving shipments can leave your business open to loss due to error and theft. To receive inventory correctly, companies should receive and unpack all boxes in the same space, count each box, and check the items received against original purchase orders. Lightspeed Retail has built-in purchase ordering, vendor directory, and product catalog features so that businesses can send POs directly through the software.

  • Courtenay cut her teeth on the world of business when she was eight years old, licking envelopes to help her dad mail calendars to his clients.
  • It is not the vendor or bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • In fact, it’s a one-stop shop for all your business needs, including everything from inventory optimization to point-of-sale and manufacturing—pretty much everything except for accounting software.
  • Carry too much of it, and you’ll have less cash to spend on other parts of your business.
  • Inventory Analysis – Analyzing your inventory is relatively easy, and you can do it with Excel.

Online or multichannel businesses can use an order management system like Orderhive. For retailers, good inventory management involves having the proper systems in place to keep products organized and automating processes like stock tracking to maintain real-time data. Inventory management is the process of having the right products, in ideal quantities, at the right time to sell to customers. Accurately managing inventory can increase revenue by preventing stockouts, overstock, and unsold products. When learning how to organize inventory for small businesses, the easiest solution is to use a software program to automate the process. Most small businesses find that as their sales volume grows, their inventory management needs increase.

Other Top Inventory Software Options

That one other employee checked and saw the 100 each of Part A sitting there and shipped it the second customer. Take physical inventory regularly, whether you do it all at once or use a cycle-count strategy to focus on different segments at different times. This step is one where the right tools can make a big difference. Too much or too little stock on hand will reduce profitability over the long term. You can also avoid disappointing customers with stockouts and back orders. Use software that helps forecast demand and re-order accordingly.

That means older products are used or sold first, whether in a store or warehouse. Packaged products that linger on the shelves are more likely to be damaged.

inventory management for small business

A POS system automatically keeps track of inventory as it is sold and received, so you do not have to do any math to get your expected QOH to perform an inventory count. With a POS system, you can quickly print an inventory list for physical counts. This list includes the name of each product to be counted, SKU, bar code, and the quantity of each product that you should have on-hand.

Sales trigger other actions, and when enough sales of a certain product occur, levels drop to reorder points, then triggering a purchase order. Each area of the business talks to the other, ensuring production keeps pace with demand. Good inventory management doesn’t just ensure that your products are always in stock.

Product management can boost your sales and ROI when used correctly. There are several inventory methods that you can use to track and analyze your production and sales system. ABC Analysis and cross docking are two of the most common, but there are many solutions that might fit your business better. With the right inventory management system in place, you can focus on what’s important.

inventory management for small business

Or work with a developer to create a custom inventory management software solution with the Square Items API. Download reports and receive a daily stock alert with items that are low or out, so you always know how much you have in stock. Many businesses find it helpful to have tighter controls over higher-value items by grouping inventory items into A, B, and C categories. In this article we discuss basic inventory management techniques, explain what to look for in good inventory management software, and go over some best practices for managing inventory. It’s important to evaluate your business on a regular basis to ensure that you’re on track to succeed. One of the most integral part of your business is inventory management. Check out our guide to how inventory management software can help you reduce costs for more info.

Your customers won’t be disappointed by stockouts, and your business won’t have as much cash flow sitting on the shelves. For many small businesses, inventory management is something left to those rare moments when you’re not doing something else.

Many owners who start an online store adopt drop shipping methods, but this supply chain fulfillment strategy can be adopted by many types of businesses across all industries. Stock control is used to show the amount of inventory you have at a given time and applies to all items from raw materials to finished goods.

FIFO is most effective for businesses that sell perishable goods, because it cuts down on spoilage costs and is the most accurate way of measuring the value of your inventory. But it also applies to businesses that sell non-perishable goods. Turning over old stock is a good idea no matter what line of business you’re in. Many small businesses still use pen and paper to track inventory, but popular POS systems like Square, Vend or Lightspeed offer inventory systems let you do a whole lot more. Carry too little, and you’ll lose sales and customers when products go out of stock (customers generally don’t like it when products are out of stock when they need them). QuickBooks Commerce offers five subscription plans, each with limits on users and orders as well as increasing access to advanced features. That allows you to customize the price you’ll pay for your specific business needs.