Inventory Management

5 Signs Your Inventory Management Needs an Overhaul

July 10, 2024 • 6 min read

When it comes to inventory management, there are some telltale signs it’s time to overhaul your company’s existing strategy. From cluttered and disorganized storage spaces to items your team can’t tell apart, solving these all-too-common issues can make all the difference in optimizing your business’s day-to-day inventory-related tasks.

Here are 5 signs it’s time to rethink how you manage your inventory:


1.    You can’t tell items apart

Many organizations struggle to distinguish between different inventory items. After all, when you’re standing in an inventory closet, you’re often looking at items that look and sound alike…. or have virtually indistinguishable serial numbers printed on the outside of boxes that you can barely reach.

Regardless of what makes it difficult for you to distinguish one piece of inventory from another, these mix-ups can cause real problems for your business. After all, incorrect assumptions about your inventory can lead to loading the wrong items on the wrong truck, placing vendor orders improperly, and more. 

All these errors can lead to more significant problems for your business, including longer wait times for your customers, increased labor costs as employees hunt down the correct products, increased storage costs for inventory you don’t truly need, and the administrative resource burn that comes with making (and then solving) inventory-related mistakes.

One of the best ways to deal with these consequences is to switch to an inventory management solution that offers barcodes and QR codes. Sortly, for example, makes it easy to generate your own codes and affix them to inventory using standard label paper and regular printers. You can use the in-app barcode and QR code scanner to quickly scan items to ensure you’re updating the correct piece of inventory. Additionally, custom details and even item photos can be pinned to the corresponding item’s profile for greater visibility, accuracy and peace of mind


2.    You’re making data entry errors

Unfortunately, human error doesn’t stop with struggling to identify items that look and sound alike. When a business records inventory data manually on a document or spreadsheet, there is an increased risk of human error that can lead to expensive and time-consuming consequences for your business. 

For example, after an inventory audit, it’s easy for a pair of tired eyes to accidentally jumble two rows on a spreadsheet. And unfortunately, this tiny mistake can lead to big problems. Inaccurate inventory records can make financial reporting a challenge, lead to improper reordering practices, and even change the way your business forecasts inventory demand down the line. 

Human audits can help catch data entry errors, but they’re time-consuming and imperfect. For organizations seeking to minimize human error without breaking the bank, automated inventory systems with foolproof barcodes and QR codes are the way to go.

These unique codes eliminate scanning errors and ensure accurate inventory management for your entire team.

Free Ebook: The Complete Guide to Barcoding Your Inventory

This easy, comprehensive guide will help you:

  • Implement a barcode inventory system for your business
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3.    You’re ordering too much . . . or too little 

If you find that, more often than not, you’re having to reach out to your vendors early to place a last-minute order, your inventory management strategy likely needs an overhaul. Same with the alternative: your shelves are full of stock you just don’t need. Either way, something is amiss with the way your team:

  • Counts inventory on hand
  • Determines how much to order 
  • Determines how much inventory it needs

To solve these problems, implement a perpetual inventory management strategy instead of a physical one. A perpetual inventory management strategy that utilizes inventory software ensures that inventory records are always up to date. This is because inventory records are updated every time an item is consumed (or sold) and when a new item arrives, too. As a result, every time your organization sits down to prepare orders, it’s using the most up-to-date version of your inventory list.

The next task at hand is to ensure that your inventory minimums are correct. If it’s been a while since your business has calculated just how much of a particular item it needs to make it to its next ordering date, carve out some time to recalculate this magic number for all the inventory on your list. If that seems daunting, use ABC inventory analysis to focus on your most important and profitable inventory first. 

If none of the above are the source of the problem, there may be a problem with one or more of your vendors. Take the time to audit their past deliveries and performances. If there’s an issue, communicate and collaborate to solve it. If the problem can’t be solved, search for a new vendor or supplier you trust.


4.    You’re relying on a single person to manage inventory

Say none of the above issues are a problem for you. In fact, your business’s inventory strategy couldn’t be better. That is, until the person in charge of inventory takes a week off. If your organization relies on a point person to manage all its inventory-related tasks, your business likely needs a backup plan. 

One option is to have that point person create a standard operating procedure that outlines all of the knowledge they have quietly stored in their heads. That way, should they call out sick, go on a honeymoon, or find another job, your organization has a contingency plan. 

Even better, ask this point person to train other employees until you have multiple team members proficient in inventory management. Many inventory management apps, such as Sortly, can make this process even easier. That’s because the app is intuitive, designed to be collaborative, and meant to be used by all types of employees, not just those who are technologically savvy.

5.    You’re wasting time searching for inventory

Finally, one of the primary signs that your inventory management system needs to be overhauled is that your business is simply spending too much time and exerting too much effort searching for inventory. 

Yes, inventory storage areas should be organized and marked, but good inventory management is much more than a tidy stockroom.

In a perfect world, anyone on your team would be able to pull out a phone or tablet anywhere, at any time, and pinpoint exactly where the inventory they need is—long before they need it. This would allow your organization to plan ahead, coordinate the relocation of inventory, ensure that orders are played thoughtfully and delivered to the right place, and more. 

Whether you’re a restaurant, a general contractor, a hospital, or a boutique interior design firm, knowing where your inventory is at any given moment is much more important when you have multiple locations. The right inventory management software can make tracking inventory and assets a breeze, even if your work is complicated.


About Sortly 

Sortly inventory software

Sortly is an inventory management solution that helps you track, manage, and organize your inventory from any device, in any location. We’re an easy-to-use inventory software that’s perfect for large or small businesses. Sortly builds inventory tracking seamlessly into your workday so you can save time and money, satisfy your customers, and help your business succeed.

With Sortly, you can track inventory, supplies, parts, tools, assets like equipment and machinery, and anything else that matters to your business. It comes equipped with smart features like barcoding & QR codinglow stock alertscustomizable foldersdata-rich reporting, and much more. Best of all, you can update inventory right from your smartphone, whether you’re  on the job, in the warehouse, or on the go.

Whether you’re just getting started with inventory management or you’re an expert looking for a more efficient solution, we can transform how your company manages inventory—so you can focus on building your business. That’s why over 15,000 businesses globally trust us as their inventory management solution.

Start your two-week free trial of Sortly today.