Thursday, August 29, 2013

Inventory: Organization is Key


 
A well organized space helps with inventory, even if it's small

Like anything in life, at some point you have to figure out what you have in stock. Even if you make your own jewelry or handcrafted items you have to know how much you have and where it is located. Logical reasoning tells us that the smaller the store or workshop the easier it will be to count those items. The more spread out your inventory is the harder it will be to count. The first rule of inventory is to know where everything is located.

 
 
Storage bins work well for small items
 
 
If the store is small you probably know which items are on display and which items are in the storage room or area. For those who handcraft from home, you probably have a good idea of where all your supplies are kept and where each finished product is located. Organization is the key to keeping track of things. If you haven’t done it already organize your products. You can use open bins, open shelves or even cardboard boxes that are labeled, as long as you know where everything is stored.

 

Open shelves, while not attractive keep everything handy
 
 
For items that are kept in our storage area we use open shelves with bins. If you use inventory software you can input bin number for each item. This helps in locating the item for shipment. If the items come in boxes you might want to put a picture on the face of the bin. This helps when an item number is long or confusing. While I know certain items based on their number, most items are a mystery to me until I match up the model or item number. If many of your items are sold on the internet you need a way to track inventory. There is nothing worse than selling an item you don’t own.

 

A well organized open shelf with bins
 
 
Inventory is just one aspect of a retail store. You have to acquire items, track items, figure out the optimum price and get the item up for sale, either by stocking your store or placing an ad on a website. Generally speaking it is easier to begin tracking inventory right from the start. Unfortunately many do not begin this process until they have been in business for a year and it comes time to do your taxes. Take my advice and even if it is only written down in an inexpensive ledger, keep track of each item you purchase or make for inventory. There is no going back to the beginning for a do over.
 
A dedicated space works best for crafters

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