It’s essential for all businesses—including small businesses—to keep inventory. Tracking inventory prevents you from buying too much—or too little. And it helps you understand when and how much to purchase, and which items consumers want or your business needs. Inventory management fuels accurate projections, precise planning, and consistent profits. If you own a small business, how can you keep inventory?
Small businesses keep inventory by recording what’s on their shelves using an inventory management system, such as pen and paper, a spreadsheet or an inventory app. Proper inventory management ensures businesses can account for all products and access important product details like quantity, location, purchase price and more.
Some small businesses use a periodic inventory method. They keep inventory with manual counts and compare the results with items listed on spreadsheets. Other companies use the perpetual inventory method, choosing to keep data accurate around-the-clock by using inventory management software.
Physical inventory and cycle counting manually track inventory with scheduled time to count materials, supplies, and products.
Physical inventory – A scheduled count of all supplies, materials, and products. Many companies take inventory annually and stop business operations to ensure employees are available to count.
Cycle counting – Scheduled, ongoing counts throughout the year. Employees count inventory in subsets or groups of supplies, materials, or products. Instead of an annual count, some small businesses schedule daily or weekly counts. Cycle counting doesn’t require business closings or extended interruptions in production schedules.
Manual inventory tracking includes several steps:
Perpetual inventory provides a continuous, real-time status. Inventory management software scans QR codes or barcodes to continuously update inventory status as items are bought, sold, transferred, discontinued. It reduces errors and time spent physically counting. And your employees will be happier with an automated process. Automated inventory helps you plan and project to prevent under- or overstocking. How can you get started?
Your preferred inventory app can help you through the process of gathering the information below. In general, you can expect to:
List items – Make a list of supplies, materials, products, and details about each of them, including:
Create QR codes or barcodes – Use small business inventory software to create and print QR codes or barcodes. If you want access to lots of details about your products, QR codes store hundreds of times more data than barcodes.
Print QR codes or barcodes – It’s fast and easy to print QR codes or barcodes from the software. Purchase a portable printer that prints quality labels. Test and scan the labels before applying them to all your items.
Scan labels – Use a smartphone or mobile device to scan labels into inventory software.
Sortly is easy-to-use inventory management software that gives you real-time status of your inventory… and so much more.
Sign up for a free trial of Sortly today. Scan a few items with your mobile device and see how fast it is to categorize them. Keeping inventory for your small business has never been easier.