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5 Inventory Management Tips for Electronics Buyers

April 3, 2024
Tips for achieving the balancing act between having enough inventory on hand and having too much product on the warehouse or stockroom shelves.

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Managing inventory has always presented complex challenges for organizations. Unavoidable factors like changing customer behaviors, seasonal variances, long order lead times, delays and budgetary constraints can all impact even the best-laid inventory management approaches. 

Manual processes can also complicate the inventory management strategies, which can benefit greatly from technology tools aimed at streamlining the process. 

“Inventory management platforms can reduce inefficiencies and improve inventory handling, replenishment and fulfillment,” TechTarget points out. It says inaccurate data and analysis; delays in reordering; ineffective production planning; and inventory defects and waste can all contribute to a company’s inventory management headaches.

5 Inventory Management Success Tips
The most effective inventory management strategies help procurement departments, supply chain professionals and other stakeholders streamline processes, operate more efficiently and drive down inventory carrying costs. Here are five tactics you can start using today: 

  1. Adopt a good inventory management system. A sound inventory management system is the beating heart of any enterprise, offering real-time access to data that enables business leaders to forecast trends and shifts in buyer needs, as well as gain full transparency into demand and inventory levels. “Inventory management systems output powerful analytics and provide much-needed visibility into operations,” Kristy Short writes in “8 tactics for inventory management.” “For example, monitoring run rate to gain visibility into how much of an item you are selling at a given time helps accurately predict future demand.”

  2. Take control over your own inventory. Don’t rely on suppliers and providers to accurately report on inventory levels. Take the lead role by regularly monitoring, auditing and managing inventory in your system to maintain an accurate picture of goods. Some tips Short recommends include keeping an eye on what’s coming into your supply chain; regularly checking the quality as well as the quantity you receive; and conducting inventory checks periodically throughout the month or quarter.

  3. Leverage vendor-managed inventory (VMI) strategies. In “The Importance of Inventory Management in Electronics Supply Chain,” Ninaad Acharya describes how companies can use VMI to reduce stockouts, minimize excess inventory and reduce the burden on in-house inventory management. This inventory tactic can also help solidify supplier relationships which, in turn, may lead to better pricing and terms. For best results, Acharya says businesses must work closely with their suppliers to establish clear guidelines and expectations for inventory levels and replenishment. Organizations should also use software tools to track inventory levels and usage, both of which can help anticipate future demand and support better decision-making.  

  4. Conduct an ABC analysis. This inventory management technique ranks inventory items based on their importance to a business. “This is most helpful when a business needs to prioritize which items to order and store, allowing for more oversight on certain inventory items,” Evan Tarver writes in Forbes. When conducting an ABC analysis, he recommends dividing the inventory into three categories:

    A Items: The most important items that account for 20% of the inventory items but up to 80% of the inventory value.
    B Items: Items with medium importance to the business that account for 30% of the inventory items and roughly 15% of the inventory value.
    C Items: The least important items that account for 50% of the inventory items but only around 5% of the inventory value.

  5. Experiment with advanced technologies. The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart warehousing technologies can help businesses optimize inventory management by providing real-time visibility into inventory levels, locations and movement. “With IoT sensors and smart tags,” Acharya writes, “businesses can track inventory in real-time, streamline supply chain operations, and automate tasks such as inventory counting and tracking.”

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