In a nutshell, stock control is checking how much stock you’ve got, and ensuring sure you have the correct amount. Although it sounds really simple, it is actually quite complicated: the term “stock control” applies to any and all items you use in order to produce a product or service, from raw products to finished goods, and includes every stage of the of the production process – from purchase, to delivery, to re-ordering the stock.
As a business, you’ll want to make it your priority to always have sufficient stock levels so that you can satisfy the needs of your customer – but you also need to satisfy the needs of your business. Having too little stock makes it difficult to meet the customer’s demands, but having too much runs the risk of losing money, products going obsolete, and high costs of storage. The key is getting the balance right.
How you manage your stock will ultimately depend on what that stock is: you’ll need to consider the type of stock you use and how much of it you hold, the shelf life of the items, the ideal amounts to order for each item, and the minimum amount of stock levels you can accept. This is all important because good stock management will help you maintain the right levels to meet customer demands.
Using a stock control software can ensure that your shelves are always appropriately stocked. Traditionally, stock would be controlled manually, with businesses using books to record which items have been bought and sold, with a reorder system based on that information. This may still be an acceptable method of stock control for smaller businesses with low amounts of stock, however, computer based stock control software is fast becoming the norm. These can track what stock you order and sell, while recording the costs. They often include barcode scanners and can sometimes be industry specific, or provide you with information on particular methods of stock management, making life much easier.
Stock control software can also provide you with instant feedback on your stock levels, and sales reports on what is or is not selling, which can help you identify what stock to buy, when to buy, and how much of it to buy. These reports are also great for forecasting future sales. All of these are essential not just for good stock control, but for good business management in general.
However, stock control software can be costly, especially as staff will need training on how to use it. There’s also the potential threat of equipment failure, which could prove chaotic.
It’s important to understand that stock control is an integral part of running a business, requiring constant monitoring to keep up to date in order to satisfy both your customers and your business, and a stock control software could make this process significantly easier and less time consuming.
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