The Fast and Easy Way to Beat Inventory Management Challenges
It may only be September, but most retailers are already gearing up for the holiday season. With Halloween decorations haunting stores since July 5th and Christmas decking the halls since dusk on Labor Day, it seems it’s never too early to get ready for the holiday rush. And one big question for the season is: How’s your inventory management?
Inventory management is a crucial part of profitability for any business, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. But no organization, regardless of size, is immune to experiencing inventory management challenges. In fact, every business that sells physical products will at some point deal with the challenges of inventory management. You might have already battled these challenges in your organization, whether it was a shortage of one item or an overabundance of another.
Top Inventory Management Challenges
Too Much Inventory
While the first challenge that comes to mind for inventory management may be not having enough of a specific item, on the flipside, having too much of another is also a challenge. An overabundance of inventory brings with it higher storage costs and higher insurance rates from your margins. It can also impact your financial resources and cash reserves in the form of negative cash flow.
Planning warehouse space can feel like a Goldilocks story: not too little, not too much, but juuuuuust right. Whether you face the inventory management issue of a product quantity shortage or significant overage, it impacts your warehouse space. Both too much inventory and too little can impact finances and storage space. The less space you’ve got, the harder it is to replenish what’s selling well. The less room you have to bring in products that are selling well, the harder it is to meet consumer demand, which could mean disappointing your customers and losing their return business.
If you’re still using manual inventory tracking procedures across multiple software and spreadsheet solutions, that’s a lot of time spent on redundant work that is prone to error. And it could result in—you guessed it—too little of one product or too much of another.
Especially for businesses that run multi- or omnichannel sales, a lack of accurate inventory visibility can mean taking payment for a product you don’t actually have on hand to sell. Cancel an order, and you could lose the customer’s trust, damage your organization’s reputation, and decrease the chances for repeat business.
Your business might be growing—which is great!—and starting to stock inventory in multiple warehouses across the country or world for faster shipping speeds and cheaper logistics. But this greater coverage can come with the cost of inventory management challenges—and that’s not great. Splitting stock across multiple locations creates a more complicated ordering process, and if your inventory management isn’t up to snuff, you could struggle to deliver.
The First Step to Better Inventory Management
Despite all that you’ve just read, it’s not all bad news. In fact, with the right tools, you can be quite successful.
Let’s start with NetSuite. Your NetSuite ERP is one of the strongest tools you can use for inventory management. In fact, the ERP comes with an inventory management module, which can display real-time inventory levels as well as updates on stock that is en route to the warehouse(s). Data collected in NetSuite allows operations managers to compare available inventory with sales data. The app can even show the exact locations of all items, empowering the warehouse team in order processing.
NetSuite offers other native tools and features that face inventory management challenges head-on, such as tracking inventory in multiple locations, safety stock, re-order points, cycle counts, demand planning, and distribution requirements planning.
But we’ll let you in on a secret: We know how to make inventory management even easier!
The answer? Excel.
Beating Inventory Management Challenges with Excel
You read that right: Excel. The spreadsheet software that everyone is familiar with can be leveraged to make your NetSuite inventory management easier and faster than ever before. And you can do that with CloudExtend Excel for NetSuite.
That’s what MAC Wholesale did. The closeout distribution business buys consumer product closeouts, excel inventory, and discontinued items, then resells to discount retailers such as TJ Maxx and Ross Stores. The company serves thousands of customers and vendors worldwide, and their inventory management needs to be some of the fastest and most efficient you’ve ever seen—some products sell out in a matter of minutes, and MAC Wholesale needed a way to keep up.
So the organization implemented CloudExtend Excel for NetSuite to optimize uploading data from their workspace of choice, Excel, into the ERP that would keep their inventory management flowing smoothly, NetSuite. Sales and IT use CloudExtend to access inventory, sales orders, and more directly in Excel using all the latest data from NetSuite. All told, processes that used to take up to 30 minutes are now nearly instantaneous, and have saved one employee a minimum of 10 hours a week. That’s over 500 hours a year!
Start Pairing Excel with NetSuite Today
If your systems are disparate or disconnected, you’re missing out on valuable inventory insights that can help your business run more efficiently with happier customers. Pairing NetSuite’s solid inventory management modules and capabilities with CloudExtend Excel for NetSuite’s capabilities to manage, edit, upload, and work with data all in Excel gives you a rock solid defense against even the toughest challenges.