It’s Time for Spring Cleaning Your Inventory Management Solutions in the Face of Our New Year, Same Pandemic

March 16th 2021 11:00:00 AM

We were all hoping that with the turn of the calendar from December 31, 2020, to January 1, 2021, the pandemic would magically lift. In our collective hopes and dreams, we were waiting to hear, “That’s a wrap,” from an unseen director and then we could all go back to business as usual. Unfortunately for any of us, COVID-19 and its new variants are still with us.

Now that we are past our New Year’s celebrations and are looking forward to spring, what can we do to move forward in the face of the ongoing pandemic? It’s a good time to take a look at your inventory management practices over the past year or so, get rid of any (figurative) cobwebs that are hanging around, and make any necessary changes. “Spring cleaning” now will get your company prepared for the longer, brighter days that are coming. 

Are you actively looking to update your inventory management solutions at this time? Simply contact us online or call (330) 645-9959 to make an appointment with a Scanco Solutions Expert. 

COVID-19 Played Havoc With Inventory Management in 2020

As soon as the news was released about the virus (and despite numerous cautions to the contrary), consumers rushed out to do much more than simply stock up on household items. They started hoarding toilet paper and other goods, which caused retailers to impose purchase limits. There were even times when products were unavailable due to stock-outs. 

Even as e-commerce companies saw a surge in orders as consumers became much more comfortable with online ordering, some products stubbornly stayed put on warehouse shelves. It’s not an exaggeration to state that inventory levels are an issue for many companies. This is much bigger than a simple stumbling block that can be resolved by simply making a few adjustments over the short term. 

Survey Shows Inventory Optimization a Priority for US Retailers

Symphony RetailAI and Incisiv have recently announced the results from their Category Planning & Assortment Optimization Executive Survey. The respondents were a group of high-level North American retail executives. Both large companies with revenues over $1 billion (58% of respondents) and smaller retailers (42%) participated in the survey. 

  • The majority of respondents (95%) said that improving on-shelf availability and reducing the number of stock-outs was their “top priority” in 2021. In 2020, 67% of retailers surveyed stated they were mainly focused on “assortment optimization” to meet customer demand.
  • Most of the retailers (77%) said that they planned to commit more floor space to support customers who want click-and-collect or curbside pickup services. 
  • When asked about their current category management technologies, most respondents said their current solutions were unsatisfactory. Seventy-nine percent rated them as either “average” or “” Over half of them (58%), said they have no integration or only partial integration. 
  • Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they used either “basic analytics” or “no analytics” in their category management processes. 

The events of 2020 had a tremendous impact on the retail industry. They made retailers aware that they had to be prepared for possible interruptions to their supply chains at any time. Demand for products may also be interrupted due to large-scale events in a way we have never seen before. 

Your team needs to find a way to move forward. How can they make decisions about what orders to place for the spring, summer, and beyond when the data they normally would rely on from the past year is skewed due to COVID-19? They have to make inventory optimization a priority.

2021 Inventory Management Must Run Smoothly

Rather than looking at the previous year’s ordering patterns to get clues about how much stock to order for the same period this year, companies may be better served by looking at their current sales cycles. These sales numbers will indicate the items that are resonating with customers most on a weekly or biweekly basis. 

During the pandemic, the moving parts of the inventory management system must be kept running smoothly. These include mobile barcode scanning devices and software. You need a high level of accuracy, visibility, and real-time updates to stay on top of inventory. 

Some retailers are focusing their attention on promoting products they know are continuing to sell well during the pandemic. Others are trying to promote items that are still moving reasonably well and build demand for another one that is moving more slowly. 

Scanco Inventory Management Solutions: Options to Fit Your Needs

Scanco knows that there is no other business that is exactly like yours. For this reason, we offer inventory management solutions for small, mid-size, and large enterprises. 

  • Scanco Mobility is your option if you want to move from paper counting and data entry to an automated inventory system. Fully integrated with Sage 100, you and your team can look up items and their quantities in real-time. Your team members have multiple hardware options for scanning barcodes and looking up items, too. 
  • Scanco Warehouse 100 takes automation to the next step. This option allows you to automate numerous warehouse transactions, including physical count by item, item inquiries, inventory transfers, data entry for shipping invoices, directed picks for order picking, voice prompts, and more. Warehouse 100 also conveniently runs on iOS or Android handheld devices. 
  • Scanco Enterprise was specifically designed to take on even the most challenging distribution challenge. It’s an all-in-one warehouse inventory management, picking, and shipping solution that is integrated with Sage 100. Track pallets, print reports, and send messages to your team to alert them about rush orders with ease. 

It’s the time of year that we want to clear out the things that we no longer need or aren’t working for us. That includes making changes to our inventory management solutions to reflect the current business climate due to COVID-19. To get help with your virtual spring cleaning, contact us online or call (330) 645-9959 to make an appointment with a Scanco Solutions Expert. 


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