The supply chain management of India has been severely affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic stricken world is dealing with some issues regardless of the immense diversity and development, one of which is how to manage inventory systems? While there is no hard and fast rule that you can follow to ensure sufficient stock during this pandemic in your business, there are stock management tips that can be adopted to ensure that relevant items are always available, stock of these lasts longer, and regular updates on depleting supplies are tracked.
Following is a list of measures that you can adopt to ensure sufficient stock during this pandemic in your business.
1. Maintain Contact With Suppliers
In order to ensure sufficient stock during this pandemic in your business, you need to have a good number of supplier contacts, so that if one supplier runs out of stock, you can catch hold of other suppliers. For most retailers, the main aim is to retain the number of orders they get.
In the pre-COVID-19 world, most retailers functioned by procuring items based on their cost, but in a pandemic stricken world, the best resort is to explore and maintain relations with alternate suppliers. This will ensure the lesser risk in case of a supply crisis with your primary supplier, and would also contribute to better stock and inventory management.
Establishing contact with local suppliers, or even little distant ones, for that matter, would allow you more control over the goods you retail, increase time to market, and need lower minimum buys, thereby decreasing overall expenditure.
2. Focus On Changing Consumer Demands.
Ensuring sufficient stock during the pandemic doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have a stable and ample quantity of each and every item. It implies focusing on goods that are a necessity to the consumer you are catering to. Maintaining contact with suppliers would also ensure the procurement of goods that are less available by local vendors. These goods can open doors for new opportunities, as consumer demands have drastically changed during the pandemic. Hence, an important stock management tip would be to keep an eye on these changing trends.
Take, for instance, sanitisers. The FMCG industry used the situational demands posed by the pandemic as an important insight, and there were a number of players entering the industry. Most retailers now have more than a dozen brands of sanitisers that start from modestly priced to expensive ones.
3. Market Products Adequately
Many big brands have cut off their marketing budgets because of the pressure it places on other necessary activities that need to be performed, like fixed expenditure on employees’ salary, generic machinery failure, and technology and software costs. Hence, if you want to ensure sufficient stock during this pandemic in your business, don’t create marketing campaigns for goods and items that have very little availability, or are very difficult to procure. Advanced stock management systems or Inventory management systems will help you in making a quick analysis about the goods that need a little push with sales, discounts, and special offers.
Another way to boost sales of available items is by adding reviews under them. This is also a great strategy for managing inventory effectively. For instance, the beauty industry or makeup industry received a setback due to the shut down of physical stores, as most customers would want to try the products before purchasing them. Hence, several retailers paid attention to the importance of customer feedback and reviews on items. Another feature that they came up with was the “try it on'' feature for makeup products in their applications. Using tutorials and influencer campaigns is another way to promote items that are in stock and can be sold via online mediums.
4. Focus On Inventory Management And Delivery
The efficient stock and inventory management system is the reason why retailers and e-retailers have a silver lining in the pandemic. With brand’s physical stores being shut down, many retailers are using this as an opportunity to build their business, as many of these brands either don’t have fully developed digital channels to deliver products, don’t know how to manage inventory systems or don’t have one, or can’t afford to invest in it presently. So, one of the most important inventory management tips for retailers is to rely on consumer insight gained through marketing, reviews, and other mediums and procure items from brands that are most required. Once done, you can move ahead and ensure sufficient stock of these items during this pandemic.
Ensuring sufficient stock during this pandemic in your business could also be done by the usage of automated inventory or stock management systems. It will automatically upload the goods you have presently and will update the quantity whenever the orders are delivered.
5. Deliver Appropriately
While it is important to ensure sufficient stock during this pandemic in your business, it is equally important to deliver the products timely. As a retailer, you might be interested in stock and inventory management, but what if customers are driven away because of your rigid delivery policy?
Many e-commerce platforms have added a customisable delivery window as a feature to their applications. While Amazon had an edge over its e-retail counterparts because of its same-day delivery, one day and two-day delivery window, now more and more retailers are adding this feature to their applications for enhanced customer reach.
The humanitarian crisis that started with the pandemic has not even spared the big businesses, hence, having failed to ensure sufficient stock during the pandemic in your business is not something you need to beat yourself up about. But since we understand the pressure of running a business, we have curated this blog to help you adopt changes with regards to the pandemic.
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Q. What are discretionary and non-discretionary goods?
Ans. Discretionary goods are consumer goods that are regarded as non-essential, and non-discretionary goods are the ones classified as essential or require mandatory expenditure.
Q. Which industry's sales have been the most affected by the pandemic?
Ans. Some industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic; these include, consumer electronics, travel and tourism, and transportation.
Q. What are some good inventory management systems that can be used during the pandemic?
Ans. Some of the best inventory management systems that can be used during the pandemic include, Ordoro, inFlow inventory, Upserve, Cin7, Zoho inventory, Sortly, veeqo, unleashed, and boxstorm.
Q. Have e-commerce platforms benefitted from the pandemic?
Ans. E-commerce is one sector that has seen immense growth during the pandemic. As stores are closed, most people are dependent on e-commerce portals for everyday items.
Q. How can the functioning of retailers and e-retailers improve?
Ans. According to McKinsey, the best strategy to ensure optimal functioning of retailers and e-retailers is by shipping the products and goods directly to them. The presence of middlemen like warehouses adds to the overall delay in the delivery and supply of these goods.