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Five Ideas to Improve Your Business’s Stock Management

If you run a business, large or small, stock control is a logistical problem that you are likely to encounter. You need to find the most effective way for your company to manage its stock, but you might be unsure how to go about doing this. Here are five easy to follow tips that if implemented will hopefully improve your business’s inventory management.

Discount Old Stock

If you find yourself with old stock left in your warehouse or stockroom, you may be struggling to come up with ways of getting rid of it. The stock is still obviously an asset for your company, you paid good money for it so you can’t just throw it away, yet it’s taking up valuable space in your stockroom. The best idea is the simplest, discount the item in question in the hope that you can shift the units quicker. Although your profit margins on the stock will be slightly smaller, you will have freed up that space in your warehouse for new stock which might sell better.

Invest in Inventory Systems

Organisation is the key to any successful business, so in this case you might want to think about investing in some inventory control software to help your company run more smoothly. The best thing about inventory control software is that it does most of the difficult work for you. Good software will allow you to merely scan through barcodes to register your stock. It will also begin to tell you when you need to re-order certain items, as well as provide you with feedback as to how quickly different items you stock are moving.

Designate an Inventory Receiver

This is especially relevant if you run a small business. As easy as it may seem to just allow the person who is nearest to the door to sign for a new delivery, this leaves everyone confused as to what stock has been delivered and when. Designate the job of inventory receiver to one of your staff, one of their tasks will now be to always sign for and make a record of any deliveries that come in. This way, if anyone has a question about stock, they’ll know exactly who to go to and better yet, your inventory receiver will always be able to answer their questions.

Manage your Levels of Stock

You need to find a good balance between having enough stock to supply your customers comfortably, whilst not having so much that you’ll find it difficult to shift. Only keeping the bare minimum in your stockroom might be cheaper and require less space, but you become very dependent on the reliability of your suppliers. Don’t take any chances; find a happy medium so you’re sure you can serve your customers well.

Locator System

If you haven’t already, you need to devise an easy way for your staff to locate certain stock within your warehouse or stockroom. Keeping particular items of stock in a fixed location will allow your staff to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Keeping your stock organised in a logical manner also means that any new employees shouldn’t have too much trouble discovering how your warehouse works. What this also allows you to do is begin to map out your warehouse, creating brilliantly efficient stock system for your staff.

Posterita are a global point of sales software system that provides many innovative features such as inventory control.

 

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Ways to Save Money When Starting a Small Business

When you’re starting a business, you try your best to keep costs down, including and especially your start-up expenses. If you can, you use space, supplies and assets you already own, and when looking for software, you look for the lowest-priced items that you need. For some of those items, you can find many basic tools for free if you know where to look, and free always fits the budget!

Office Documents

If you can’t afford the exorbitant price of Microsoft’s popular Office 2010 or any other yearly version, but you really need a word processor, a spreadsheet and other common document tools, fear not: You can download a free, open-source program called Open Office.

Open Office provides all the tools the Microsoft product does. Your default file extension is .odt, but you can save in Microsoft-compatible formats and a rich text format as well. Open Office even lets you export your document into .pdf format that allows you to secure the information, allow or prevent others to change the document, allow or prevent printing or copying. You can even require a separate password to open the .pdf.

Invoices, Quotes, Receipts

One of the easiest programs you can find is free for a business of less than five employees. You work within various templates to customize your invoices, quotes and receipts. Your invoices can even include a remittance slip if you’d like.

You can email or fax the invoice directly from the program, save drafts until itemization is complete, sort clients and maintain separation, apply payments and even export into .pdf format for your files or to send as email attachments.

The program is Express Invoice Invoicing Software by NCH Software. The Express version includes almost all the features the paid-version possesses, and again, it’s free. As you expand, you can purchase the full version for extra bells and whistles, but for a small business with one person, you get the records, invoicing and a good selection of additional tracking tools in Express Invoice.

Why the employee limit? Express Invoice can also act as a check-in/check-out clock for up to five people, allowing for hours and wage tracking and payment.

Maintain your invoice and payment records online or locally in the downloaded program files. Full adaptability allows multiple choices all down the line.

File Storage

Keep electronic files not only locally but secured online in free online storage sites. In case of catastrophic failure, don’t rely on just your back-up procedures to recover most of the data: Your computer could be hacked or a trojan infest the back-up. And those possibilities don’t approach physical theft or damage of the actual equipment.

There are several excellent, highly secure free storage sites on the Internet from which to choose. Look carefully at the Terms of Service and the security guarantees. Play it doubly safe and store your files on different sites—just in case.

Expenses

Know what you can and cannot note as a business expense. You may not get 100 percent of the cost allowed, but even 50 percent that qualifies as a tax deduction will certainly help: Consult a tax advisor or the IRS to make sure you’re not expecting a tax credit for non-deductible expenses or percentages.

Make sure you check back each January, for tax laws change, and don’t forget state tax exemptions and deductions. Often states have different standards and restrictions than the federal tax code allows.

Keep all your receipts! Scan all of them to duplicate your records between hard copies and electronic copies. Scanning them into electronic format is especially important with many register receipts: The ink fades after a short time, and if you can’t read it, you can’t claim it.

Summary

Save as much as you can as often as you can and in as many ways as you can. Save money, save data and save energy and worry. Good luck!

This post was contributed by John Walker (visit his site here).  John lives in London, UK where he works as a financial analyst.

 

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