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Inventory & Stock Control - Part 2: Getting Great at Inventory and Stock Control

16 December 2015

By Dan Hawkins

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In our last post we explored the challenges of inventory and stock control and the role it plays in your overall efficiency. Our role at Volo is to provide you with the systems and advice you need to increase your effectiveness in this important area. Over the years, together with our customers we’ve accumulated a range of best practices on the subject, covering listing, data, stock levels and pricing. It’s very hard to address any of these areas if you don’t have the right information on which you base your decisions. This post outlines the Volo approach to getting visibility into your stock movements.

You could become paralysed without accurate information on what’s happening to your stock. This is where good analysis and reporting come in. Multi channel ecommerce systems like Volo come with detailed reporting that allows you to analyse where you’re at and provide you with alerts to certain stock situations. Here is a sample of the Volo reports that can help you improve your inventory and stock control.

Dead Stock vs Slow Stock

You can use the ‘Dead Stock’ or ‘Slow Moving Stock’ reports to identify both dead (for example stock that’s not selling or has never sold) and slow moving stock. This enables you to make decisions on stock disposal or construct special offers to shift the products and can improve cash flow.

The ‘Zero Stock’ report tells you how many days you are out of stock on key SKUs. Stock outs are a problem for your items that sell well, since this means that you’re losing sales.  You can narrow down this analysis to individual SKU items. After this, you can make decisions on whether you re-order the inventory or discontinue offering it.

It also helps to have an early warning system. This should factor in both the speed your items are selling (and how many days’ stock of a product you have left) as well as the amount of time it takes your supplier to deliver new inventory. You can use the Volo ‘Stock Forecast’ report to forecast stock availability and configure alerts to remind you when items need to be re-ordered. This is a big time-saver for you, as it frees you up from looking at figures all day to run the other areas of your business.

Reporting with Volo

It goes without saying that you should keep your best sellers and your most profitable items well stocked. Use the Volo multi chanel ecommerce software ‘SKU Best Sellers’ report to work out your best sellers by value, volume or both. You can use the ‘Margin’ report to evaluate which SKUs are making the biggest contribution to your profit. Focus on keeping the best sellers and the most profitable inventory constantly in stock. You can do this by using the ‘Stock Forecast’ and ‘SKU Sales Velocity’ reports.

Having said that you should keep the good stuff well stocked. This is because keeping control of your inventory and stock costs is also about having the right amount of the good stuff. We’ve already mentioned the ‘Stock Forecast’ report as your aid for when to re-order. There’s also a question of how much to re-order. Here your ally is again the ‘SKU Sales Velocity’ report, and this allows you to deduce the correct quantity to re-order.

Click here to learn how Volo customers became great at Inventory & Stock Control.

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