Inventory control (stock control): Definition, systems, and management
What is inventory control? Inventory control, also known as stock control, is regulating and maximizing your company’s warehouse inventory.
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At first glance, inventory control and inventory management seem similar. After all, they both cover similar bases revolving around the question, “How much stock should I order?”
Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they actually deal with different aspects of inventory optimization.
Inventory control involves warehouse management. This includes:
The goal of inventory control procedures is to maximize profits with minimum inventory investment, without impacting customer satisfaction levels
Inventory management, on the other hand, is a broader term that covers how you obtain, store, and profit from raw materials and finished goods alike. The right stock, at the right levels, in the right place, at the right time, at the right cost.
Keeping control of your stock so that you’re able to hold the least amount of inventory in your warehouses makes for easier organization, lower holding costs, better cash flow, and more space within your warehouses. When it comes to inventory control procedures, less is definitely more.
To do this, two formulas stand out:
EOQ is the optimum inventory you should purchase to minimize the costs of ordering and holding. You’ll need to know your annual fixed costs (D), demand in units (K), and carrying costs per unit (H).
The Reorder point determines the right time to order more stock. Calculating this means adding together your lead time demand in days and safety stock in days:
Once you have your optimal stock levels set, make sure that your inventory doesn’t go too low by keeping an eye on stock movements and tracking orders as they come and go.
Any inventory control system worth your time will combine EOQ and reorder points with low-stock alerts to send notifications automatically.
It may seem like a simple concept, but it really does make a difference to have your stock meticulously organized. This includes labeling your stock with SKUs that are easily understandable and simple to read. Start with an initial stocktake and then use the right inventory management techniques to keep track of movements and levels.
Quality control is another essential part of inventory control. Choose a supplier that has the same quality standards as you do and get plenty of samples before you develop a long term relationship. Once you have your suppliers, batch tracking ensures your stock consistently meets your highest quality standards.
Even with EOQ and reorder points set, anticipating future demand is notoriously difficult. To avoid obsolescence and spoilage, inventory forecasting must be utilized to keep inventory levels low yet adequate to match customer demands. Even big players fall victim to improper inventory forecasting.
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