Good stock control and inventory management should not really start with a trip down memory lane, to try and see what sold this time last year, where it was sold and with what margins. It cannot be wise to trust the safety of your business to memory alone; with the right stock control and inventory management system in place this task will seem almost automated. With the facts at your fingertips business managers and merchandisers have the time to use their experience to make a reliable judgement, using sound historical information, on style and price trends; order quantities, brands and the differing performance of the business at shops, your web site, plus eBay or Amazon if you use them. Why spend 10% of your available budget on a particular brand when for the comparable season last year it struggled to make 7% of your full price sales?
An effective and clear ordering, stock control and sales tracking system is vital therefore in the medium to long term. A buying mistake can lead to over ordering which leads to excess stock, which naturally leads to poor cash flow, which then leads to a major loss of profit. Similarly you need to keep an eye on what you have ordered and when it is due so that you can plan your seasonal purchases, and budget, to best effect.
With the best will in the world, buying is not an exact science and you are unlikely to ever get it perfectly correct, but it can be so much more efficient. Ordering ‘errors’ may be the reason why you go on sale in June/July when some other retailers start their sale in August. At its simplest therefore, missed trends that are there to see in last season’s sales figures, over-ordering or mis-timed deliveries are responsible for many of the products that you pay for in March but only manage to sell in a June/July sale at a large discount. If you have the precise historical sales information you need, and have an on-going record of what’s been delivered and of what’s still outstanding, and all this is available at your fingertips, then you’re buying, cash flow and the businesses sales performance and profit will definitely improve.
Keeping on top of your orders should be a fast and simple exercise. Fast order entry and receipt is essential. Critically, ensure that your system can quickly and efficiently generate the order paperwork and barcode labels you will need – as always, a matrix driven size/colour system is vital. On a practical basis you may not receive a complete delivery, so check how your system deals with partial deliveries and produces barcode labels on-demand to match. Check that the system can give you precise historical analysis by supplier, department, type etc. – both summarised and by size and colour and that you can analysis your budget spent to-date in the same way and over time – right down to the size and colour level.
Easy to use, stock control inventory management matrix driven capability runs throughout Top to Toe. Our easy to use grid technology makes order entry by size, colour, department, type, and of course brand, very quick and very clear. The unique, fully integrated, Top to Toe reporting system allows you to view any combination of size, colour, supplier, department, brand etc. in any variation you choose, at any level of detail. Large deliveries or partial deliveries can be received with ease, outstanding balances can be tracked, and barcode labels can be designed and printed. Cash flow can be assessed at the press of a button; and with good inventory management comes more customers, improved cash flow and of course, more profit.