When you organize your business, you depend on an accurate accounting of your materials and inventory at all times. Without the right systems, though, you could get left in the dark. Here are the most important inventory management mistakes to avoid.

Unorganized Shelf Space

When you organize your business storage space, you must start with your shelving. Wherever you keep your inventory, you should have a room or wall lined with shelving units. These shelves should correspond to particular categories. For example, if you run a restaurant, you should have a shelved walk-in refrigerator organized by produce type and expiration date. You can set things up according to meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, and more. If you lack these structures, you may forget to use some items.

Outdated Inventory Catalog

An outdated inventory can lead to all kinds of problems. You need a precise picture of what your back-of-house looks like. An inventory catalog is meaningless if it doesn’t reflect what you actually have. You should have a method for tracking and updating your record every day. For example, a retail business with no backstock of jeans for a promotion will quickly run out of product. This, in turn, will reduce your sales. Though you’d likely take stock of your items before a promotion, things like this can happen.

Lack of Automated Systems

Technology has become every businessperson’s best friend. In fact, point of sale systems are now the norm in many industries, from restaurants to hotels. With a POS system, an inventory manager can log and track the items in stock. Whether you need to check for overstocked items or reorder fast-selling merchandise, an automated system can help you understand exactly what is going on behind the scenes.

Be sure to keep these inventory management mistakes to avoid in mind as you go about your business. An unorganized operation will quickly lead to gaps in productivity and efficiency.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.