• Alison Folwell

5 features for better stock management


As a merchant business, optimised stock management is really important. Having better visibility of what stock you have available where, and how quickly you can get it, is key to providing good customer service.


But availability isn’t the end of the story. You also need to be profitable, while offering competitive pricing to win customers’ loyalty. Yet resource is always stretched thin and most businesses don’t have the capacity to be keeping an eye on every single item all the time. In an ideal world, there would need to be an element of automation involved to free up your workforce’s time to focus on the most urgent issues and keep on top of the items which are needed most often or which represent the best sources of profit and revenue for your business.


Well, the world may not be ideal, but we are working our collective socks off to get a lot closer to it. So here are five metrics which can help you not only create efficiencies in your stock management processes, but also reduce waste and improve profits.


1. Low Stock Items (aka "What do I need to order next?")


Sounds simple - and it is! This is a very straightforward tile which sits on the dashboard and lets you know how many stock lines are running low, thereby instantly drawing attention to the items that need checking. Flex bonus: you can set your own criteria as to what constitutes “low” stock for a given product line, and of course you have all the info to hand to make the decision about whether to restock a particular item or range.


2. Orders Without Stock (aka "Better check it's all in hand!")


Again, fairly self-explanatory, but this is a really important one for managing customer service levels. The tile simply tells you how many orders are currently on the system that don’t have the right products in stock to fulfil the order. It speeds up the process of checking where gaps may be, and is a quick way to help you check that everything is in hand. If you know an order will be delayed it lets you then manage customer expectation up front, or take steps to avoid the delay in the first place.


3. Stock Valuation (aka, "Instant sense check of stock vs sales")


This is an at-a-glance total of the value of your current stockholding. It’s not necessarily vital every day but it saves a lot of digging around for information or report running, and you can set your own parameters for alerts and warnings where necessary to help you keep on top of things. It is a great sense check of how stock value relates to sales, which can highlight any worrying gaps, either where sales are not sufficient to warrant the current stock valuation, or where stock can't keep up with forecast sales. There is no right or wrong, but it's a really useful indicator!


4. Stock Turn (aka, "How hard is each product working for the business?")


This is a brilliant little metric which helps you understand the true value of every item in your stockholding. We’ve covered this in a lot more detail here, but the crux of the matter is, it lets you see exactly how much value each item is adding to your overall stock profile. You can then make more informed decisions about ways to improve, either by splitting out problem stock lines in new ways, running an offer or sale on a particular product line, or changing the purchasing patterns.


Whatever decision you make is up to you, but the key is you get a clear and accurate view of how well every item in your inventory is working for your business.


5. Stock Confidence (aka, "How accurate are my system stock figures and where do I need to focus?")


This exclusive feature can revolutionise your stock management processes, streamlining the way you run things and massively reducing the time taken.


Stock Confidence is essentially a gauge of the accuracy of the stock figures held in your system. Expressed as a percentage, it is calculated via a complex algorithm that takes into account a number of factors which contribute to erosion of stock over time, such as sales, damage, theft, loss or error.


The biggest advantage is that it instantly shows you where you need to focus your attention across your stockholding, reducing wasted time, optimising availability and identifying gaps and opportunities. Find out more about Stock Confidence here.


WHO DOES IT HELP?



These stock metrics are relevant to many roles within a merchant business. These include:


Stock controllers and managers – optimising stock availability and value day in, day out, and forecasting stock requirements; simpler, faster, more accurate stocktakes etc

Buyers – Anticipating stock requirements to ensure availability of the right products at the right time to help optimise stock profile and profitability etc

Sales team – To provide better customer service and fulfil more orders; to create opportunities on the most profitable lines of stock and plug gaps where there are issues etc

Customer Service Team and Administrators – easier access to information; answering client queries; certification access and much more

Commercial Director – Maintaining profitability, availability and range; forecasting; P&L management etc

Managing Director / Owner / CEO – instant transparency of stock levels, turnover, availability and profitability; enables optimisation of stock profile and investment; quick visibility of stock performance etc


Like what you see?

These are just five of the metrics included in Merchanter that will help you manage stock more efficiently and profitably. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch, or register here for login details to try the demo system for yourself.