Small Business Owners

Streamlining Your Stock: Strategies for Leveraging Inventory Automation

Learn how to streamline your inventory management for enhanced efficiency and strategic business growth with automation.

Inventory is at the heart of your business and is where most of your revenue is tied up. With so many SKUs, and products flowing in and out and navigating the rapidly changing world of retail, the ability to streamline operations and enhance efficiency isn’t just an advantage; it's a necessity. Automation to improve inventory processes offers a transformative process for handling physical goods. Turn inventory management from a logistical challenge into a strategic advantage.


Enhance Item Location Tracking and Sales Channel Synchronization

A shelf with boxes on it, along side a clipboard with a checklist.


The foundation of efficient inventory management lies in knowing exactly what you have and where it is. Inventory Management Systems (IMS) leverage automation to track items with granular precision, not only in the warehouse (and across multiple warehouses) but also across sales channels. Finale Inventory software is equipped with 80+ plug-and-play integrations across omni-channel marketplaces, brick-and-mortar POS, shipping software, and accounting solutions. These integrations allow businesses to update stock levels in real time.

By automating the tracking process, sellers ensure their inventory data is accurate, allowing for more informed decision-making. Integration with sales channels also means that when an item is sold, its stock level is automatically adjusted across all sales channels and within a central data hub, providing an accurate and seamless count. Timing is key here: look for IMS providers that have real-time syncs as sync delays can lead to overselling.


 Navigate Compliance with Ease

A magnifying glass hovering over a lot number on a box.


In many industries, compliance with regulatory standards is non-negotiable. An automated IMS aids in this aspect by facilitating serialization and lot ID tracking, which are crucial for identifying and tracing products throughout the supply chain. This not only helps in meeting compliance regulations but enhances product recall capabilities and improves customer safety. 

Through serialization, each item gets a unique item identifier, making it easier to track its journey from production to sale (think: electronics). Lot tracking, on the other hand, groups products, allowing for better management of expiration dates and quality control (think: produce or health goods). Automated systems can manage these identifiers efficiently, ensuring all products meet the required standards and regulations. 

Those looking to boost their warehouse further can incorporate barcoding into inventory systems. Barcodes allow for immediate product identification and tracking, reducing the time to input updates in the inventory system while minimizing errors. This integration simplifies compliance by linking physical items to their digital counterparts, ensuring accurate records for audits and regulatory adherence. 


Optimize Ordering for Smarter Stock Management

A conveyor belt with boxes.


Efficient ordering means having the right stock at the right time. Automation enables businesses to order for multiple sales locations and from several vendors by utilizing velocity calculations. These calculations consider each item's sales velocity, helping businesses predict how quickly products will sell and when to reorder, including factors like safety stock and delivery timelines.

Incorporating seasonality into velocity calculations further refines the ordering process. By analyzing past sales data, connected inventory management systems can predict seasonal fluctuations, ensuring that inventory levels are optimally adjusted for peak and off-peak periods. This strategic foresight prevents stockouts during high-demand seasons and avoids excess inventory when demand wanes, maintaining a balanced stock year-round.

By analyzing sales data, automated systems can generate precise ordering recommendations and even initiate purchase orders, making the procurement process more efficient and cost-effective.


A Clear Financial Picture

An open laptop with a flowing report coming through the screen.


At the heart of inventory management is the need for precise financial visibility. Automation enhances financial granularity by accurately calculating cost of goods sold (COGS) and integrating seamlessly with accounting systems like QuickBooks Online. This integration gives businesses a comprehensive view of their financial health, enabling them to make more informed decisions.

With automated build of materials and COGS calculations, companies can accurately determine their profitability and manage their pricing and advertising strategies effectively. Customized reporting, powered by automation, offers insights into sales channel performance, helping businesses identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement.


The Path Forward

A small business storefront with a bar chart and an arrow showing growth.


Leveraging automation in inventory management not only streamlines operations but also transforms inventory into a strategic business asset. Integration with accounting systems like QuickBooks further bridges the gap between inventory management and financial reporting, providing a holistic view of the business's operational health. Embracing these strategies will not only improve efficiency but also position your business for sustainable growth and success in the competitive market landscape.

This is a blog created in partnership with Finale Inventory. Finale is the only multichannel inventory management solution to support changing workflows as your company grows.  Learn more about Finale and start your free 14 day trial today.

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