A Traditional Method for Small Business Inventory Control
Simply stated, inventory control is the process of managing everything a business has in inventory. Many small businesses perform inventory operations using an Excel Spreadsheet. This method may suit a start-up company initially or suffice until such time the employee who created the formula moves on. But, today, we have software designed to do it better than our spreadsheets can.
While common for new businesses to use this less costly option, it limits their ability to expand. Confining your operations management to spreadsheets will inevitably result in complications down the line. To prosper, a business must maintain a panoramic view of all its departments, how they intertwine and whether they are operating efficiently. SOS Inventory can offer any type of small business an affordable way to perform inventory control professionally, generate reports, predict future trends and plan for expansion when that time comes.
A Definition of Inventory Management and Control
QuickBooks Online users seeking inventory functionality will eventually conclude the platform is very limited in this respect. The creators of SOS Inventory recognized this problem and designed their software specifically to compensate for these shortcomings, enhancing QBO’s features with complete inventory management capabilities. SOS is ideal for anyone who buys, sells, or warehouses products, whether they handle industrial equipment or perishable food items.
Inventory management begins with knowledge – the knowledge of which products are in stock, how many there are, where they are located, when they were produced and where they need to go to fulfill an order. Over and under buying and/or producing can diminish profits and suppress business growth.
The key to managing inventory is having all information about purchase orders, sales orders, shipping, storage, delivery, and customer satisfaction integrate to produce the complete picture of where the business stands at any point in time. Businesses that do not track inventory cannot prepare for demand or avoid waste. Only inventory control can do that.
The story begins at the supply chain. A company must order the right amount of supplies to meet demand and avoid loss of sales from being out of stock. Inventory operations also encompasses warehousing, supply to end customer and allows a business to establish the correct amount of stock to remain profitable – it pertains to what is in the warehouse already, whereas inventory management extends to beginning and end of the journey, namely the suppliers and the end users.
The Scope of Small Business Inventory Control
Even when limited to handling stock in the warehouse, it can encompass many different procedures in your business operations:
Raw Materials Availability
Finished Goods Availability
Work in Process
Although small business inventory control involves processes leading up to customer delivery, poor customer service can result from problems that start in the warehouse. Running out of stock can frustrate customers and lead to loss of business. Lack of control can result from loss of inventory, spoilage of inventory, storage costs for excessive inventory, etc. Taking control over the amount of stock, its flow and freshness all impact the satisfaction of the customer. Most businesses have the bulk of their money tied up in inventory. To operate with the least amount of investment, managing inventory to remain profitable is essential.
Moving to an Inventory Control Software Platform
You may be handling your inventory on spreadsheets if operating on a desktop or working with an accounting software lacking in fully functioning inventory management options, like those you will experience when using QuickBooks Online. (Or if you currently use inventory control software, you could be paying far more than you would with SOS Inventory). Understanding the limitations for small businesses, SOS Inventory was designed to sync with Intuit’s top-ranking accounting software, creating a seamless method for importing all your inventory information directly into your accounting reports.
What your inventory software will do that your spreadsheets cannot:
Unify all your data from purchases, to physical counts, to barcode tracking to sales orders.
Update your inventory and strategy when updated with new data.
Allow you to make forecasts based on seasonal trends and historical data.
- Track expiration dates of products and where they are in the supply train.
Track down path and location of all components used in an assembly.
Manage your data in the cloud to ensure your information will always be backed up and protected in the event of a power loss or other equipment failure cause.
Controlling Inventory with SOS Inventory Software
SOS Inventory is ideal for small to medium sized businesses looking for powerful, yet affordable inventory software. Do not let the price tag deceive you; you can perform every inventory control function in SOS Inventory that you can with high end ERP software. Accessed and stored in the cloud, SOS will manage your purchases, warehousing, sales, stock and more. Run over 60 different reports for a full view of your inventory at any point in time. Identify top sellers, products that require re-ordering and items about to expire that need to be sold at a discount.
Make Life Easier for Your Control Manager
Is your inventory manager struggling to keep his data up to date on desktop spreadsheets? On top of monitoring staff, communication with other departments, being responsible for company policies and meeting compliance requires, the accuracy of your physical inventory counts falls on his shoulders. He needs accurate information for analysis to make modifications and recommendations. He strives to minimize cost while safeguarding quality. Even if your business is using QuickBooks Online, matching up the warehouse’s numbers with the accounting department’s figures is limited by QBO’s inventory functionality. Why not empower him with the intelligence of SOS Inventory software?
Store Inventory Control
Do you maintain inventory at a brick and mortar store location? When a truck pulls in with new arrivals, does it lead to chaos in the back of your shop? You can keep your products organized to avoid dead stock and the resulting waste and loss of money by relying on SOS Inventory to manage your physical count process. When you scan the barcodes of new store items, your inventory counts, costs, and other pertinent information are all simultaneously updated in real-time across your organization.
Types of Inventory Control
When products are classified for ABC inventory, a different set of rules is applied to them individually according to price, sales volume, etc. to place extra importance on those items that must be closely maintained to ensure profitability.
Aggregate control refers to the treatment of different products or categories of products differently, establishing reorders points for each based on a chosen classification.
Safety stock is additional stock kept on hand to cover additional inventory required to meet higher than average demand.