Why Inventory History Matters
Most of us in the business sphere tend to be laser-focused on the future. Small Biz Daily even found that companies that equip themselves with strategies for the future and actionable five-year-plans double their odds of success. However, while thinking ahead and laying out plans is an essential part of business success, it’s important to remember that future plans are always informed by your past experiences. Taking a good look at your inventory history is the optimal way to get this perspective to drive you into a prosperous future.
Accessing and analyzing your inventory history is one of the most valuable tools in your repertoire for getting a realistic view of your business’ status. It fuels your reports and can be used to chart the path for your restocking strategy, but the benefits don’t end there. Join us as we explore some of the other important functions that a comprehensive inventory history provides.
Inventory history plays an important role in understanding the past, present, and future of the products you sell or distribute. It’s unlikely that you have every product in your catalogue memorized, along with each of its defining features. That means that without an account of your inventory history to refer back to, any potential changes in the product won’t be available for reference later when you need them.
If a vendor stops carrying a product you need, or if a product design goes through drastic changes, you want to be the first to know. That way, when a customer reaches out to reorder a product they’ve purchased in the past, you can fill them in on any changes ahead of time.
Reporting functions as an all-important temperature check for your company, and will impact every area of your business. Without inventory history, you’re missing a huge piece to the reporting puzzle, and placing yourself at a severe disadvantage by limiting your field of perspective.
Without your item history to reflect on, its nearly impossible to determine any kind of meaningful metrics associated with your sales. One of our users, American Storage and Logistics (ASL), can attest to this experience. Before adopting our software, ASL was unable to trust their reporting due to a lack of inventory history. Having historical inventory data allowed ASL to finally create monthly financial reports that were truly reliable. They then used these new and improved reports to help guide their business decisions, including their restocking strategy.
Restocking and Purchasing Strategy
The advantage of having a clear view of your past inventory activity is that you can use this information to determine which pieces are top sellers and need to be re-ordered at a higher frequency, or which items don’t need to be ordered due to low demand. This is especially relevant if you house products that are more complicated or take longer to ship, and therefore can’t be ordered on a whim. Good inventory and warehouse strategy take planning, and you’ll need to be able to access your history in order to make this happen.
Ensuring that your customers are happy is an extremely important step in making sure that they keep coming back. ASL found they were often unable to meet their returning customers’ needs because they hadn’t established a way to access inventory history. “If a customer called us and said ‘I need more rack, sell me more of what you just sold me,’ we couldn’t. We didn’t know what we’d sold them,” James Wiese stated in our ASL case study.
Now that ASL has a better system in place to access their inventory history, they’re able to easily place reorders, instead of having each employee type out every order and set their own prices each time. They’re able to serve their customers with fewer steps, and establish trust in their competency by not pulling customers through the same tedious ordering process every time they need to restock.
Beyond your warehouse and your customers, keeping an up-to-date inventory history also helps your sales reps boost their performance. In another case study of ours, Detroit Radiator Company stated that keeping up with their inventory history allows sales reps to sort all their products by vendor and price; this is information that needs to be handy while the rep is on a call.
This simplified sorting process also helps with the returns process. Any customer calling to make good on a warranty or attempting to return a product will want the process to move as smoothly as possible. Keeping a clear history allows for easy look-up by customer, so their needs can be met in the most efficient way possible.
In summation, the past is what propels us into the future. Access to your inventory history is absolutely essential to taking your business to the next level in every area of your operations.
If your current system leaves you with a muddled view on your inventory history, or worse, no view at all, you’re due for an upgrade. If that sounds like you, get in touch with us! We’re happy to help move your company towards a successful future.