Tracey Baker 3 July 2020 3 min read What's in this article? 1. Supply disruption2. Demand volatility3. Understanding current stock levels4. Lack of time and resourceIt’s time to address your inventory management challenges Any organisation that holds stock is up against a multitude of inventory management challenges. For starters, the international trading landscape is more unstable than ever. In addition, customer needs are constantly changing and e-commerce is driving increased competition from traders across the globe. Manufacturers, suppliers and retailers all have lots to think about in order to survive and find opportunities for growth. In this post we look at the top four stock management challenges that businesses need to address, both now and beyond 2020. 1. Supply disruption Over the past couple of years events, such as Brexit and, more recently, the Covid 19 pandemic, have exposed how easy it is for inventory supply to be disrupted. Whether this is due to production shutdowns or logistical challenges, many UK businesses have found it difficult to source the products they need to prevent stockouts. Going forward, businesses will need to find ways to make their supply chains more robust and able to deal with the impact of external events. The coronavirus and Brexit are both challenges for inventory management teams to overcome in the coming months, and potentially years. 2. Demand volatility Customer behaviour is unstable at the best of times. Social, political and economic factors all cause demand trends that can appear overnight and lead to either huge peaks or troughs in sales. Again, Covid 19 has had a severe impact on demand across all industries, and, as regions move in and out of lockdown, demand for different products could continue to rise and fall as a consequence. Having the ability to forecast demand accurately will be critical to helping businesses take advantage of sales opportunities and prevent ending up with excess stock if demand falls away. 3. Understanding current stock levels Despite a broad range of warehouse management systems and barcoding technology on the market, many companies still have outdated processes for controlling their stock. Without having an in-depth understanding of their inventory, it’s almost impossible to make informed supply chain decisions. The technology to provide real-time inventory data is readily available and can help with: Improving picking efficiency Stock allocation across the supply chain Reordering the right stock, to help prevent stockouts, as well as surplus inventory The pace at which orders need to be fulfilled is getting faster, as customers want their goods in record time. Businesses, therefore, need to know where every stock item is, to avoid inventory management challenges getting in the way of customer satisfaction. 4. Lack of time and resource With so much supply chain disruption taking place right now, inventory management teams need time to focus on managing customer expectations and dealing with operational challenges. Unfortunately, those that are still following manual processes for tasks such as forecasting demand and reordering stock will struggle to find the time to focus on the bigger picture. Going forward, businesses will need to invest in new technologies to make employees more efficient and help them overcome stock management challenges. The era of using spreadsheets to run reports and analyse data is over. Automation is already being used across all areas of an organisation to drive productivity – from finance, to marketing and production. It’s now time that inventory management teams had access to the same technical capabilities. Even when the coronavirus crisis is over and Brexit is done and dusted, there will always be another inventory management challenge around the corner. The future is likely to see obstacles such as dealing with the impact of global warming and adapting to continuously changing marketplaces as important areas of focus. By investing in technology now, businesses can future-proof their operations for everything that lies ahead. It’s time to address your inventory management challenges If you’re experiencing any of the inventory management challenges we’ve discussed above, you may benefit from investing in inventory optimisation software, such as EazyStock. EazyStock helps you improve demand forecasting accuracy, manage supplier lead times and reduces the time spent manually updating reordering parameters in your ERP. To find out more, contact us today! Share Tracey Baker 3 July 2020 3 min read Sign up for the EazyStock Newsletter Stay on Top of the Latest News, Trends, Tips, and Best Practices for Supply Chain Management, Inventory Optimisation, Replenishment & Purchasing, and Demand Forecasting with Our EazyStock Newsletter.