Missing Inventory? – Every once in a while, you won’t be able to find the inventory you need. If a raw material can’t be found, you’re going to have trouble making your finished product. Similarly, if something is misplaced during the work-in-progress phase of production, you’re not going to have what you need to make your goods. Logically, if your finished goods can’t be located, you’re going to have trouble delivering to your customers. Misplaced inventory translates to added expenditures. So, it’s essential that you have good inventory management systems in place to help you avoid losing inventory and losing money.

Counting and tracking – You should focus your inventory management efforts on making sure you know where all of your inventory is at all times. As soon as you get a shipment in from a supplier, it’s a good idea to have someone count and organize all the raw materials. This is called a “physical”. Once this has been done, someone should record all the raw materials on an inventory spreadsheet or with inventory management software. This way, if you can’t find a critical sub-component or assembly, you’ll know that it’s in stock and wasn’t misplaced by the supplier or shipping company before it even reached you. You should also keep track of work in progress (WIP) and finished products in the same manner. Ideally, at least a random sample of your inventory should be counted each day as a part of your general inventory management systems and a complete physical should be conducted once a month or once a quarter at a minimum.

If your warehouse or stockroom is crowded and disorganized, inventory can easily become misplaced behind or underneath other inventory. As a part of your warehouse management system, it’s a good idea to make sure all of your inventory is visible. If you need to place some goods behind other goods, document their exact locations in your inventory system database or with inventory software.

Are Inventory Management Systems The Answer? – Well, they certainly help. But remember that no inventory management systems are perfect as there is always some operator error! Sometimes things will get erroneously thrown away or broken (shrink), misused, or misplaced. It doesn’t matter how organized you are! Additionally, there’s a chance that whoever is in charge of your inventory control efforts could make a mistake when they are counting or have a fat finger when entering the data. Clerical errors are sometimes difficult to avoid. Just do everything in your power to ensure that all of your goods are in their proper place and tracked. If you do, you’ll be far less likely to have to deal with the problem of misplaced inventory and the resulting disappointed customer.