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From retail to sporting goods: How inventory management is reshaping six industries

15 Mar, 2023 | Inventory Management

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Introduction

Inventory management can make or break a business, so it’s important to get it right. Impacting everything from customer satisfaction to revenue, efficient inventory management can enable small businesses to grow into large, successful corporations. But the road to this kind of scaling has its challenges. From tracking inventory levels to managing supply chain logistics, inventory management can be daunting, especially for companies in highly competitive industries.

This blog will take a deep dive into six of these highly competitive industries and explain how an inventory management system (IMS) can take their operations to the next level.

6 industries that can’t ignore inventory management

Retail – the crucial role inventory management plays

Inventory management systems have been a game changer for the retail industry. With these automated systems in place, stockouts are a thing of the past and orders are guaranteed to be delivered on time. That’s because the IMS continuously tracks the inventory. If levels reach a predetermined low, the system triggers an alert and automatically orders more stock. When it comes to seasonal products, IMS can take historical data and combine it with future events to forecast the amount of product a company needs to stock. This is how the retailer makes sure it can meet customer demand.

The retail giant Walmart has taken its inventory management a step further. It has initiated a vendor-managed inventory model, which basically puts their inventory control in the hands of their suppliers. Each of Walmart’s suppliers has access to the big box store’s information systems, and can check out stock levels and sales data for their specific products. Armed with this, the supplier itself – not Walmart – sends new stock to the chain’s warehouses when they’re needed. For Walmart it’s more than shifting responsibility for stock levels to their suppliers, these “feeder” companies have to bear the costs of maintaining those levels as well.

Health care – how IMS improves efficiency and outcomes

The healthcare industry has two objectives: providing patients with the best treatments and doing it in the most cost-effective way. Inventory management systems fill both of these objectives. It will track all items from medical devices to medications, ensuring that there’s always the right amount of them on hand – enough to cover needs without excess that would lead to waste.

Inventory management systems also track dates on the items they monitor. This is especially relevant to medications that should not be used after their expiration dates. The automated system will alert the staff when these expiration dates are coming up on particular batches of drugs, giving ample notice to discard them safely.

Inventory management plays a vital role in ensuring patient safety, improving outcomes in the healthcare industry.

Food and beverage – keeping everything fresh

While it’s important for restaurants and cafes to have oversight on their stocks of food and beverages, for warehouses that handle these edibles, it’s a necessity. For this kind of business to run well, it’s not only vital to know what’s in stock at any given time, it’s critical to know when that stock is going to go bad, and to know that well in advance. An inventory management system can alert the staff to these expiration dates, ensuring as much as possible that older stock is accessed before newer arrivals.

For the food and beverage industry, there are great advantages in combining IMS with warehouse management systems (WMS). When these automated systems work side by side, the oversight on stock levels will immediately inform the WMS to make adjustments. Tracking and managing perishable goods in this way ensures that the food in stock is always fresh and ready for use

Automated warehouse management systems for the food industry can simplify the process of storing, retrieving, and delivering products, saving businesses time and money.

Manufacturing – it’s a revolution

For the manufacturing industry, it’s all about having the right raw materials in the right amounts at the right times. Without automated inventory control, it would be overwhelming to keep on top of this, but when these systems are in place, everything runs smoothly. Having the right amount of stock at all times means there are no supply chain interruptions and no production delays, and that translates into maximized profits.

Take a car manufacturer as an example: Hundreds of different parts are required to assemble a single vehicle. These parts have to be ready to be used as they’re needed. If any aren’t there, the production line will come to a halt. An effective inventory control system can prevent that from happening.

Ecommerce – optimizing online sales

There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that ecommerce is booming. But as its popularity is soaring, more and more shoppers are expecting to receive their orders in record-quick time, sometimes even on the same day. That means their selections have to be in stock, ready to be picked, packaged, and sent out. An inventory management system will make sure this happens. The system’s oversight does more than check stock levels, it can order more when these levels reach a predetermined low, ensuring customers can always get the items they want – and get them in the shortest turnaround.

Sporting goods – a surprising beneficiary

Businesses that specialize in sports gear face the same challenges as other retailers do, except when it comes to seasonal items. Most sales companies deal with some items that are seasonal – like Christmas decorations or Valentine’s Day gifts – but with this segment it’s everything. There’s football from September to the end of the year, winter snow-related sports like skiing and snowboarding, and summer activities like baseball. Any company selling sports-related items has to have them ready to go, in enough quantity to meet demand during their particular season. While making sure of this, they have to be able to deal with inventory that’s off season, storing it cost effectively.

Let’s look at a company called AQ Outdoors. This company had been struggling with its inventory, unable to manage its in-season stock with its out-of-season one, a situation that resulted in stockouts on some items and overstocking in others. They also faced challenges when it came to optimizing their supply chain and reducing lead times.

AQ Outdoors turned to Cin7 Core. With features onboard like demand forecasting, inventory tracking, and purchase order management, our software ensured the company had the right products in stock at the right time to meet customer needs. This not only helped improve customer satisfaction but also helped AQ Outdoors reduce excess inventory and avoid stockouts. The inventory management system has been key to AQ Outdoors becoming a success in the competitive sporting goods industry.

 

Conclusion

Inventory management systems are a necessary component for any company that has to store and deal with stock. They streamline operations, manage costs, and improve customer satisfaction. An automated system like Cin7 Core can do all this and more.

Schedule a call with one of our experts and take charge of your inventory management today!

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