Distributors, suppliers and retailers in the food industry are embracing real-time inventory management as a way to optimise workflow and gain better visibility of their stock levels.
Real-time inventory management is an automated process of recording sales and purchases through the use of software. It gives you a complete picture of what’s happening with inventory, allowing your business to react quickly to supply chain needs.
Rather than periodically updating inventory at pre-determined intervals (usually manual data entry), you can get up-to-the-minute updates on all your inventory as and when you need it.
Here, we look at the benefits of real-time inventory management for food businesses:
- Avoid stock-outs
- Enhance customer experience
- Manage inventory levels
- Meet delivery schedules more easily
- Improve decision making
- Optimise workflow
1. Avoid stock-outs
There’s nothing worse than having a ready and willing buyer, only to lose them because your business doesn’t have enough stock of the desired product in store or online.
This can have a knock-on effect onto your business brand, leading to dissatisfied customers who will end up turning to your competitors instead.
Having inventory management software in place allows you to spot low stock areas in your inventory quickly and react accordingly to meet customer demand.
2. Enhance customer experience
This leads on from our first point – real-time inventory management is important when it comes to customer satisfaction as well. You can avoid any mishaps during order processing and provide your customers with clear transparency over what items you have in stock.
In the current climate where word of mouth has never been more important, a bad experience could result in customers showing their frustrations on social media, resulting in a drop in future sales.
Therefore, a great customer experience can lead to a great review which attracts more customers and the cycle goes on.
3. Manage inventory levels
Real-time inventory management provides a summarised overview of the cost of your inventory, the sales potential, as well as a clear picture of ageing products. This minimises the risk of being left with dead stock by prioritising sales on ‘soon to expire’ items ahead of stock with a longer shelf life.
You can also plan their storage better (for example, if you know you have a lot of refrigerated orders coming in next week, you’ll need to make sure you have enough fridge space ahead of the delivery).
4. Meet delivery schedules more easily
As we mentioned earlier, real-time inventory management gives you a complete picture of your inventory, meaning you know what is and isn’t available at any moment.
It goes hand and hand with planning delivery schedules for your food business. You can ensure that you’re fulfilling the deliveries you’ve promised and plan for future orders accordingly.
5. Improve decision making
Businesses that understand the importance of inventory management can reap the rewards of gaining actionable data and detailed reports that help all areas of the business.
By investing in inventory management software, you can get insights into profit margins on each product, the highest and lowers sellers, and much more, allowing your organisation to make better-informed decisions on inventory and stocking.
6. Optimise workflow
Real-time inventory management also helps you better predict bottlenecks or trouble spots in the inventory flow. If your business is spread across different locations, you can easily access data at each site, helping you manage finances and tweak sales requirements.
Workflow optimisation gives you a critical competitive advantage that enables you to get one step ahead of your competitors.
Put the foundations in place now
It’s clear to see how real-time inventory management can bring substantial value to your business. It will improve efficiency, productivity and allow your company to better respond to sudden changes in the market. Making the change now will put the foundations in place for new growth for years to come.
An ERP system can be the way forward, but you need one that’s designed specifically for the food industry.
Our guide covers all you need to know about food ERP systems including what kind of features you should look for in addition to real-time inventory management. Click the button below to find out more.