Stock replenishment tips for businesses
What is stock replenishment?
Stock replenishment is the process of ordering and replacing depleted or low stock. It’s important to try to achieve an optimal rate of stock replenishment to meet customer needs, while keeping costs as low as possible for your business.
Why's stock replenishment important?
It’s important to replenish stock at the right time so that you can fulfill orders and don’t lose sales. Timely stock replenishment will help you to:
You may be able to save money on warehouse space if you’re not storing excess stock or inventory.
Reduce supply chain risk
Depending on where your stock is coming from, you may experience long lead times, especially during peak periods. Replenishing stock at the right time can help prevent stockouts.
Generate more revenue
Even if you sell items on backorder, you won’t earn any revenue from them until they are in stock and ready to ship. Further, many customers won’t be willing to wait for a backorder and may look for the items they want elsewhere.
Methods of stock replenishment
There are different ways to manage stock replenishment and what’s right for your business will depend on your stock and inventory needs, warehouse capacity, and customer demand. Here are some of the main stock and inventory replenishment methods used:
Periodic replenishment is a process in which companies review inventory levels at specific intervals, say every quarter, and re-order as required. If your stock levels are sufficient, you check again after the set period has elapsed.
Under this strategy, inventory levels are re-ordered when stock levels fall to a specified number or re-order point. It’s a method often used on automated systems to keep inventory levels healthy and profitable.
Companies that anticipate high demand for certain products might top-off inventory at quieter times in advance of sales surges. Depending on the business model, some companies may move existing inventory from storage to picking areas to speed up order fulfilment. This method is also known as lean time replenishment.
On-demand replenishment is simply ordering inventory as needed. The downside of this process is that it can be difficult to manage, if you’re continuously assessing, ordering and moving inventory. Therefore, it tends to be used by smaller businesses and retailers.
What’s safety stock?
Safety stock is additional stock that businesses keep in storage to meet unexpected demand. The benefit of safety stock is that it allows businesses to continue fulfilling orders, should they exhaust their usual stock levels. This buffer also allows businesses to continue moving products as they wait for new shipments of stock.
How to manage and track stock replenishment
Whatever methods you use to replenish your stock or inventory, there are best practices you can apply, including:
Regularly review analytics
Reviewing your sales data can help you improve demand forecasting and maintain optimal stock levels. For example, if you see that backorders for certain products increased during a specific period last year, you could increase inventory for that stock keeping unit (SKU) to anticipate this year’s demand.
Having the right amount of inventory on hand is a real balancing act. If you have excess inventory, you could be paying too much for warehousing or, if your products have a shelf life, they could expire before you can sell them. Equally though, operating with the leanest possible inventory might leave you scrambling to order more stock, and missed sales opportunities should demand increase.
Monitor stock levels
For businesses that manually replenish inventory, regular monitoring is essential. That’s because human error can cause problems in any warehouse. Here’s an example:
In your warehouse, you have one product that has multiple variants. When checking inventory levels, your employee mistakenly transposes two SKUs. Now your records show low inventory for the wrong SKU. You end up ordering more of that product and running out of the other product that you actually need.
If nothing else, double-check stock levels before you reorder.
How to manage and track stock replenishment
Partner with trusted suppliers
Your ability to replenish stock and fulfil orders depends to some degree on your network of suppliers. Do your research before identifying preferred suppliers and try to negotiate the most favourable terms and service level agreements with them.
Centralise inventory management
Keeping all of your inventory data together in a single integrated database will help you be more efficient in managing stock. This is because you won’t have to keep switching and cross-checking between systems.
Automate stock replenishment
Once you’ve collected some sales data, you’ll know at what point you should reorder stock. And if you’re using inventory management software, you can configure it to automatically reorder stock if your inventory falls to a specific level.
Get control of your stock
With MYOB’s inventory management software, you can get control of your stock with automatic re-ordering as supplies get low. The benefits for your business include:
Ability to fulfil orders while keeping inventory costs as low as possible
Better control over your hot ticket items
Insights into what’s selling and what’s not
Ability to oversee your stock from anywhere
Integrating additional functionality, as required.
At MYOB, we’ve got you covered.