7 Common Ecomm Inventory Management Mishaps (and How to Avoid Them)
Avoiding common and costly inventory management mishaps can be a full-time job. With your packed and busy day, it’s hard to figure out where to carve out the time to proactively address potential mistakes, but in the long run, both your employees and your bottom line will be more productive if you do.
Want to get ahead of some of the common—and most costly—inventory mistakes? Check out our list of 7 mishaps you can easily avoid.
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Poor quality and long shipping times
Don’t compromise your shippers and transporters—they are vital to customer satisfaction. A good shipper—that is, the person or company who supplies or owns the items being shipped for the business owner, unless a third party is involved, like in ecommerce dropshipping or franchise—can be relied upon for a quick drop. On the other hand, the transporter is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport, and also usually shipping, handling, taxes, cargo fees, and more.
Sloppy warehouse management
When audit season comes around, solid warehouse management will keep your records accurate and your holding costs low. While the right technology is critical when it comes to managing warehouses, it’s also imperative that you examine the people managing your inventory. Help your employees and yourself stay committed to high-quality warehouse management by exploring SMART leadership goals. You may also benefit from shift scheduling software, which will provide employees with accurate and up-to-date shift information they can easily access. You can also use this software to let workers know about any important shift changes through a handy real-time alert system.
Cutting corners and shortcuts
A warehouse shift can be lengthy for any employee, and managing inventory can cause headaches for even the best managers. The temptation to cut corners is hard to resist. You’ll quickly see how shortcuts may seem like they have immediate benefits, while in actuality, they can be disastrous long-term—not to mention dangerous. Taking breaks, using safety labels, clear aisles and exits, and proper cleaning and storage are simple ways to eliminate shortcuts and prioritize safety.
Out-of-date inventory technology
Managing inventory is an extraordinarily high-tech industry. Be sure you stay on top of the latest systems and analytics, especially when it comes to mobile inventory technology. Some business owners worry that the cost is too high, but the right software can help you identify and prevent the kinds of common inventory errors that really crush your profits. For example, updated inventory management apps can help you identify errors like obsolete inventory and mislabeled items.
Making sure your employees are properly trained and certified, especially on safety measures, is an easy way to avoid safety and security risks. There is no other way to ensure you feel confident with those working hard to make your entrepreneurial efforts come to fruition. Make sure your employees are adequately trained on all the tools they use. To develop employees that consistently exceed expectations, focus on hard skills (like software training for those using technology) and soft skills (like conflict resolution and communication skills). Alternatively, consider working with a staffing agency to help you recruit the type of candidates you want on your team.
No matter what you do or how good your products or service can be, you will encounter unsatisfied customers. How you react to their unhappiness will define how you build relationships with clients. Believe it or not, unhappy customers are actually one of the easiest groups to build loyalty and rapport with. Ship the wrong item to a customer? Refund their money and send them the correct item. With an accommodating service like that, you will almost guarantee they will shop with your company again and again.
Third-party services that disappoint
When you work for a company, it’s easy to pass the blame off on third-party services that work poorly and move on. But when you own that company, you want to make sure your third-party partnerships are as dedicated as you are to your business and customers. Never settle for a paltry experience no matter what your budget decrees. Good quality service is and should be affordable. Look for third-party services, like billing, payroll, inventory control, and quality assurance with excellent reputations. Start by looking at companies known for reliable and engaging account representatives.
There are plenty of challenging parts to running a company that relies on inventory, and inventory management often tops the list. However, when it comes to keeping stock of your inventory and managing those who interact with it, business owners must stay focused and informed. The less you care about the details, the more you stand to lose.