| by james dykes | No comments

How To Keep Track Of Your Inventory?

Ask yourself these questions: Do I sell more than a dozen items? Do I ship any of these items? Have I ever misplaced an item in inventory? Has anything ever gone missing? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you need inventory tracking. Whether you track your items by name alone or with a code, perhaps an expiration date, inventory tracking can take care of any problems related to the items you sell.
In today’s day and age, the global market is huge and any business that taps into that market needs to know where things are. Most items these days are produced in factories, whether they are tangible or edible. Take Macaroni and Cheese for example. The wheat for the pasta is shipped in from the field to a processing plant where it is ground into flour. That flour is then shipped to a pasta manufacturer who makes the macaroni and then ships that onto the packaging company. The cheese begins with the dairy farmer who sends the milk to a processing plant where cheese is made and the cheese is sent to another processing plant where it is turned into a powder and other ingredients are added and placed in little packets which are then shipped to the packaging company. The cardboard for the box begins with paper pulp from trees; goes to a processing plant that turns it into thin cardboard that is shipped to the printers where the pretty designs are added to the box and the shape is cut out and then that is shipped to the packaging company. With all three things in place, the Mac and Cheese is finally assembled and shipped out to the stores.

To further follow the Mac and Cheese, it is uncatalogued when it arrives in the store, inventoried, placed on the shelf, scanned at the point of sale, taken home and finally consumed. Whew! Now, what happens when any one of these companies has no idea where one of the many ingredients is? Chaos! Production stops, sales are lots, even jobs are potentially lost. No one wants to be the weak link in the chain.

Whether you are selling Mac and Cheese or not, the fact remains that you are selling something and that something needs to be tracked. A good business will know where its inventory is. From where the inventory item was produced, to when it was shipped, to when it arrives at the store and on to when it is sold, the process needs to be tracked and documented or things get lost, misplaced, etc. and then money starts flying out the door and the business may come crashing down.

Inventory tracking can be accomplished in several ways, of which bar-coding is probably the best method. Everything is scanned every step of the way. It is loaded into a database that is accessed by the business owner who then, in turn, can make adjustments to suppliers who may ship things faster, adjustments to the number of items they want to keep in inventory, etc. Not only does barcode track the item to the store, but it tracks the item as it is put on the shelf and when it is scanned at the register allowing for you to know what is selling when to restock it and much more. So, do you need inventory tracking? Yes, you do!

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