But the question remains: how? What is the best way to manage inventory as an inventory manager? What are the main roles you should act on as you manage the life of your business- the product.
We look at three key roles of any good inventory manager, and how wearing different hats can make or break your growth.
Know the Product In and Out
Managing the product properly requires more than a passing knowledge of the product. The manager responsible should be able to decipher many details of the product:
- What classification is the product?
- Does it have multiple SKU’s or variables?
- Are there different assemblies?
- Are there any current trends with the product to be aware of?
This will help inform the manager everything from where the product should be housed to when it should be reordered. Manager should fundamentally understand the product lines inside and out, making proactive decisions based on all the many things they know.
Know the Technology
It seems to make sense that inventory managers understand the technology, but it isn’t always so obvious. For one, many managers simply don’t. They know basic functionality, but have a hard time grasping the nuances of the modules and features. We are not talking about spreadsheets, of course. Any small business that wants to remain competitive should have inventory management software- and management who is willing and able to learn it.
A big part of managing inventory is making predictions. This requires an understanding of the daily interactions and the whole big picture. In short, it has everything to do with forecasting.
For example, a company is offering a sale. It is a BOGO product. Now it is the responsibility of the inventory manager to order more. But the question is, how much more? Double? Triple? Is there a seasonal demand already in place for the product. Perhaps the manager needs 10 times more.
The point is that the inventory manager needs to forecast, encompassing many different variables to consider their ordering habits. It is something that could potentially take a lot of practice and research, but it will pay off tremendously when managers can find those patterns.
The above example is just a single product. The big picture includes a whole array of things to consider. This includes storage location, scale, tools and equipment needed, staff members to handle flow, shipping, and so on. It really is a comprehensive approach, and something inventory managers should be more than happy to take on.
The addition of inventory management software could change things up dramatically for a small business. But if the company has a manager to tackle these issues, the transition will be far smoother. Consider finding or making adjustments to a dedicated individual or team who can accommodate massive new inventory expansion.