What is Stock Control and How do You Improve it?

Alex Pang-16 March 2021

Your eCommerce store is booming and you’ve even expanded your product range to meet more orders. The big question is, do you have a firm handle on your stock control and inventory?

Stock control can feel like a wavering balance. Lacking enough inventory means lost sales and too much inventory can be expensive for your business in terms of maintenance, storage costs, and risk wastage.

To save your business from all this, an effective stock control system will help you maintain optimum inventory. You might be wondering, so where do I start? To maximize the potential of your business, a good starting point is to understand what stock control is as well as its importance.

What Exactly is Stock Control?

Stock control involves maintaining an accurate quantity of stock. The process includes ordering, storing, and tracking business supplies as well as finished products.

This ensures that your business meets customer’s demand without delay and reduces the cost of holding stock. It also helps your business avoid purchasing too much or running out of stock.

Benefits of Stock Control

Now let’s look at how stock control adds value to the growing demands of your business.

Protects against overstocking

Stock control ensures that you don’t have to deal with excess inventory. When overstocking happens, you might end up offering a huge discount or they end up being dead stock. Time becomes your greatest threat as your products can either expire or become obsolete.

Stock control lets you stay on top of the situation by making sure your sales forecasts are top-notch.

Keeps shrinkage in check

Shrinkage takes place when unsold inventory is less than anticipated. This often means that the goods were misplaced or stolen. When you have effective stock control systems in place, you’ll be able to assess these leaks and determine the areas you need to improve.

Improves customer satisfaction

When your business consistently meets the needs of your customers, they are more likely to make repeat purchases. If you showcase products that are not available for purchase, they’ll go elsewhere. Good stock control keeps your customers happy and promotes loyalty.

Boosts inventory management

A good inventory management system helps you monitor inventory levels as well as order requests. It also provides a big picture of your products from ordering, shipping, warehouse stocking, and customer purchase trends. Stock control ensures that your business operations run smoothly.

How to Improve Your Stock Control

Below are 7 easy steps on how to improve stock control that you can implement within your online business.

Accurate forecasting

To improve stock control it’s crucial to accurately predict the demand for your products. Leverage your software to consider the following variables:

  • Market trends
  • Seasonal fluctuations
  • Last year’s sales
  • Current growth rate
  • Your marketing budget
  • Understand product performance

Maintain up-to-date stock levels

Maintaining up-to-date stock levels ensures your inventory is managed in a timely manner and goods are restocked as required. Determine the stock you’ll always need and decide on your minimum and maximum stock levels. This helps you know what you have to work with at any given time.

You could also split your inventory into different categories and analyze them separately. This helps you highlight high sellers so you can keep them near the shipping area for easy access.

Invest in stock control software

Effective stock management will require you to use software to streamline operations. This helps you save time and avoid the menial work of updating paper stock reports. The sad truth is, 43% of small businesses don’t track stock levels or use manual processes.

Train your staff on using mobile devices such as barcode scanners to track stock movements. Utilize inventory management software that easily integrates with other software including POS and accounting.

Deal with  slow movers and returns effectively

Slow moving products end up becoming dead stock. Consider putting them on sale or cross selling them as add-ons to related products. When it comes to managing returns, create a system where you separate returns from other inventory. Identify the reasons products were returned before putting them back into circulation.

Monitor supplier performance

Having a good relationship with your suppliers helps you provide goods to your customers at a reasonable price and timeframe. They can even notify you of potential shortages and go to the extent of helping you find a way to meet customer demands.

To get the most of your relationship, you have to track their performance. Some metrics you could use include:

  • On-time delivery
  • Contract compliance
  • Accuracy of quotes
  • Technical support
  • Price variances

Constantly review inventory control

Instead of waiting at the end of every year to do a stock take, conduct spot checks regularly to resolve any discrepancies. Make the task more manageable by printing a stock count sheet for a group of items and you can cycle through. When you make the count smaller, you’ll be able to accomplish the task.

Let NextSmartShip Help

Small and medium-sized eCommerce business owners are usually pressed for time. Effective stock control improves business performance and reduces inventory mistakes. Your staff will also be better equipped to make informed business decisions.

Partnering with a third-party logistics provider helps you gain access to high-quality  inventory management software and remove the chip from your shoulders. NextSmartShip cares deeply about the success of our clients. We provide real-time inventory management as well as eCommerce fulfillment solutions.

Our software systems integrate seamlessly with your eCommerce platform. Once you send your inventory to our fulfillment centers, we scan SKUs and store your inventory. You can monitor this entire process through our free API or app. When you get orders, they’re synced to our fulfillment system so we’ll pick, pack, and ship it on time. The tracking numbers for the shipped product will then be synced to your site. You’ll also be able to monitor your product performance using our reports. Reach out to us today and let us help you improve your stock control and shipping.

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