The lifeline for any online seller is his inventory. If there is no inventory there is no point in having a store or being a retailer!
After the #BigBillonDay fiasco, Inventory Management has become the talk of town and the need of the hour. Online Sellers have taken up the issue on hand and are having their own ways of a work around.
This is what Flipkart said in their apology mail reading inventory issues-
“We ran out of the stock for many products within a few minutes (and in some cases, seconds) of the sale going live. For example, most of our special deals were sold out as soon as they went live. We had ensured availability, anywhere from hundreds to a few lakh units for various products, but it was nowhere near the actual demand. We promise to plan much better for future promotions and ensure that we minimise the out-of-stock issues.”
So simple and straight, we all understand the importance of inventory management.
Here are 5 ways on how you can improve your inventory management.
1. Plan in advance
The answer to all inventory issues comes with anticipation and planning. Ask a woman who runs a household and she will tell you this is no rocket science. You just need a way to understand the demand and the supply matrix.
While sales information is good data to start with, make sure to check the stocking data, and break down operating inventory into reporting levels of safety, replenishment and excess or obsolete stock
2. Make frequent checks & changes
Supply-savvy operations update their calculations about every three to six months to ensure that decisions are based on the most accurate information.
Be ready to change rules when required. Bringing in flexibility to a business is a boon. For example, on seeing the Xiomi sales- suppy & demand; Flipkart could have changed their stocking levels for forthcoming sales.
3. Cross functionality can work wonders
Inventory Management may be one man’s responsibility but it is a multi-functional discipline, which means a lot of teams are involved. The supply chain band, the marketing team, the promotions crew and many more are involved to make it a success. However this also means that the coordination among these teams is very important and is easily susceptible to chaos.
A suggested approach would be to set up a cross functional team, which has a representative from each of the different functional units to stay in loop of the updates and bring in direction towards inventory management
4. Maintain consistency in multiple market places
It is important that you don’t accidentally sell the same product to more than one customer. Hence it is always advisable to keep a clear and consistent stocking system for multiple marketplaces like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal etc…
It is also important to ensure consistent levels of stocking in warehouses, workshops and consignment locations at various places.
5. Make life easy with the right technology
With ecommerce booming, there are many enterprise management systems that have evolved too. There are many inventory management systems available but one must only go ahead with one that is customisable and suits the area of business after looking into top considerations when looking for an ecommerce Inventory Management System.
Recommended services by Browntape Technologies offers comprehensive modern software for online sellers that not only takes care of all inventory management needs across multiple platforms in one single place; but also helps you auto fetch orders, print shipping labels and pack orders in less than half the time it usually takes.
It is important for every online seller to strike the thin balance in not running out of stock and yet not locking most of the capital in inventory.