10 Tips for Inventory Management
When Sakowski is running low on inventory and needs to consider a reprint, she gets reports from Acumen that show where every copy of a book was sold. “We start with the major wholesalers and chains to see how much inventory is just sitting there. We also call the chains if they’ve made large initial buys to see how their sell-though is going,” she explains. “We have, on occasion, requested that overstock be returned to us. … If it looks like the sell-through is good, we then have to rely on our gut feeling about how long the demand will continue,” she says.
9. Reconcile inventory at least monthly.
Berrett-Koehler does not own a warehouse, but sells through a fulfillment warehouse in Williston, Vt. All inventory movement is tracked through reports and is reconciled with Berrett-Koehler’s available inventory every month. “Trying to reconcile inventory once or twice a year is extraordinarily difficult in trying to determine what went wrong and when. It’s much easier to do when dealing with one month’s worth of activity at a time,” says Liss.
10. Don’t overcomplicate matters.
Leaver believes that inventory management “is really an extension of marketing. It’s all about having a keen idea of what’s going on in the marketplace,” he says. “If you take large positions without analyzing the raw data, you’ll get things wrong. You need to look at the raw data and speak to the people. … If you rely on an off-the-shelf system, you’ll get it wrong. If you rely on anecdote, you’ll get it wrong.” It’s a balance of both, he says.
Cheryl Dangel Cullen, president of Cullen Communications Inc., has written 15 books on effective marketing, printing and graphic design. Contact her at www.CullenCommunications.com or (815) 469-5309.