Competing with some of the biggest supplement brands requires providing customers with a superior product and getting it into their hands quickly. Inventory management isn’t reserved for large companies that have thousands of products in a warehouse.
It’s equally as important for businesses of all sizes who are shipping to customers and stores to sell their products.
For any e-commerce business, especially supplement companies, inventory management is a critical function for success. By streamlining this otherwise complicated process, your business can operate more efficiently.
Some companies don’t streamline inventory soon enough. Eventually, what was working, in the beginning, becomes chaotic, and customer service will suffer because of it.
Here are our recommendations for creating a seamless inventory management system that supports scaling your supplement brand.
Assess all your Assets
You need to determine how much inventory you currently have in stock before you start outlining new ways to streamline it.
If you keep everything organized, this isn’t a hard project, but depending on the number of products you keep on hand, it could require a lot of man-hours to count everything. For some companies, taking inventory requires only a few hours, but for others, it could be an entire week or even month of work.
Find New Ways to Automate
Outsourcing your inventory upkeep to specialized software can both save time and reduce easy errors.
If you utilize automatic identification and data capture, you can reduce the number of man hours spent on counting inventory and significantly reduce your investment in assessing your assets to improve your inventory processes in the future.
Certain software can automatically track the value and level of inventory, which can improve how you communicate what’s available to your customers.
Utilize Just-In-Time Inventory Management
This can be a tricky process to implement, but if you can reduce your inventory on hand, you’ll cut down on costs associated with storing your products. For smaller supplement brands, this may be both unnecessary and too expensive to implement in the early stages of the company.
For larger operations, JIT can help a brand remain competitive in saturated markets. Even without a precise JIT management system, a supplement brand that has a good relationship with a quality supplement manufacturer might be able to better manage their quantities and reorder processes, which would help keep inventory at optimal levels.
Choose a Strategic Warehouse Location
If you’re not storing all your supplements at your place of business (or in your home), then you’re probably depending on a warehouse to keep your products until you ship to customers.
When you’re customers are in a specific region, then you can strategically choose a warehouse location that will reduce both shipping costs and the time it takes for your customers to receive their new supplement.
If you’re customers are located throughout the county, then you can rely on multiple warehouse locations, which is especially possible with programs like Fulfilled by Amazon, which we’re going to explain in more depth in the next tip.
At Ameri-Kal, we can help your company operate more efficiently on a global scale with our international shipping and warehousing services.
Participate in Amazon’s FBA Program
“Fulfilled by Amazon” (FBA) is a specialized shipping program that can help you optimize how you deliver your products to your customers through Amazon. You’ll have access to an online user interface to manage your inventory, which could be at any number of Amazon warehouses across the country.
Amazon will pick, pack, ship and provide customer service for your products. It’ll also qualify your supplements to be eligible for Prime shipping. It’s a pay-as-you-go service, so it is typically cost-effective for many supplement brands.
Aim for FIFO Inventory Management
FIFO (first in, first out) and LIFO (last in, first out) are two common inventory management systems. Supplement brands must consider FDA and other essential government regulations, which could include shelf-life limitations.
As you manage the inventory of your dietary supplements, a FIFO methodology ensures one of your products isn’t left sitting on the shelf (or somewhere in your inventory) for longer than necessary. Essentially, FIFO ensures you’re selling your oldest bottle in inventory before you sell your newest bottle in inventory.
If you’re not using a service like Amazon’s FBA program, then FIFO ensures you don’t leave your products on the shelf for months before shipping it.
Sometimes, outsourcing your distribution will dramatically improve how quickly you can grow your supplement brand and reach new customers.
There’s a lot of steps involved in distributing supplements, but with the right experts, you can be confident the job will be completed both accurately and efficiently.
In fact, you can outsource several tasks to our team including marketing, label design and supplement formulation. Our certified experts have everything you need to produce safe, high-quality supplements.
If you’re thinking about creating a new supplement for your customers, our workbook will help you walk through the process step-by-step. The best part is it’s FREE, and you can download it right now.