Inventory Management Systems

Description of all the necessary equipment

Running a clothing store without the help of an inventory management system is a tedious job. My sister, who manually tracks and reorders high demand items, is frustrated because she has no inventory management system in her store. Her frustrations can be eased if she adopts a low-cost inventory system. With an inventory management system, she will be able to manage expenses, quantify shrinkage, and enhance client-shopping experience. Thus, she should install an appropriate inventory management system with the right equipment or features designed for her clothing store.

The necessary equipment will be composed of tracking management software and inventory management hardware. In the absence of appropriate information about the cost of the stock, the quantity of the stock, and orders, a retail business cannot operate smoothly. In this respect, inventory management software will be essential equipment required for a clothing store. The software will be able to track, control, and consolidate sales and purchases. Through this, employees will be able to undertake their day-to-day chores with ease. The inventory management hardware will comprise of bar code scanners, security tags, and computers. The above equipment will be assembled to form an inventory system with the following features:

  • Order management feature: the system should be programmed to inform the clothing store owner when stocks should be replenished. Through this, the stock database will be able to be automatically updated when a product is sold.
  • Asset tracking feature: the inventory system should also be able to track assets. Therefore, the system should be installed with barcodes scanners. The scanners will be able to track merchandise using the unique serial numbers. Through this, the efficiency of the store workers will be enhanced.
  • Service management feature: in a clothing store, clients are a vital asset. Therefore, keeping them satisfied is of major significance for the business. My sister’s clothing store should use inventory management software to monitor the expenses of resources they use to offer services.
  • Product identification feature: stocks should be attached with electronic loss-prevention tags. The labels will prevent shoplifting and unintentional damage to inventory. The tags are easily attached to commodities. Typically, electronic sensors adjacent to the storefront trigger them.

Explanation of the costs involved in the creation of the system

The cost of creating the above system should be small. When selecting the type of software to be purchased, all the required software features needed for the business should be considered. For the targeted clothing store, an inventory management system costing $ 25 per month would be appropriate.

Like any other retail business, having the right barcode scanners will be very crucial for the inventory management system. Therefore, the store owner should be able to select cheaply priced and efficient barcode scanners among the many devices available in the market. The business should purchase three scanners, each costing $ 100.

One of the key objectives of installing the inventory management system is to deter shoplifting. Thus, the company should install an appropriate security system to be integrated into the inventory system. The shop owner should purchase two Sensormatic ultra post slave pillars to be positioned at the exit door. The pillars cost $ 1, 200. The security tags will be purchased at the cost of $ 2 per tag.

The clothing store should also have four computers that will be integrated into the system. The computers will store and process all the data utilized and generated by the inventory system. The computers will be purchased at $ 200 per computer. The cost of installing the inventory management system will be $ 325.

Description of the ongoing maintenance, which will be required

Irrespective of the type of inventory management system installed, there are maintenance procedures that should be regularly undertaken to attain a maximum efficiency of the system. As such, the installation of an inventory system without proper maintenance will compromise on the inventory outcomes.

For maximum efficiency of the inventory, the store should always be organized. It will be tough for the inventory to record accurate data if the clothing store is in disarray. Therefore, all the shelves and units should be prearranged and clean. Similarly, apparel should be easy to see and tally. Stickers should be attached on hard to recognize clothing. Regular maintenance will also necessitate that inventory is separated into clusters. The store will be required to categorize its inventory into groups like children, women, and men’s clothing.

Equally, the clothing store should undertake regular cycle counts. They should not wait up to the yearly physical inventory tally arrives for the employees to undertake inventory control reviews. Regular cycle counts should be carried out to determine the inventory challenges and correct them where necessary. As such, it is advisable to carry out a cycle counts every quarter. Through this, the clothing store can be able to a more accurate back-office data that will enhance the performance of its inventory management system.

A time, computers utilized in the inventory management system may slow down. In this regard, regular maintenance should be undertaken. Unnecessary programs should not be installed on PCs. Similarly, the existing software, including the inventory management software, should regularly be updated. The PCs also should have an up-to-date antivirus program.

Workflow diagram describing how the system will work

Indicated below is a workflow diagram showing how the system will work:

Flow diagram of the clothing store's inventory management system.
Fig 1: Flow diagram of the clothing store’s inventory management system.

At the start, the stock arrives from the distributors. After that, the items’ details are entered into the systems. At this stage, the products are fitted with unique barcodes and RFID tags to ease their identification. After that, the items are placed in the clothing store. Here, they are categorized according to the gender and age of the consumers.

At the transaction stage, the customer picks his or her product from the shelves. After that, the shop attendant scans the merchandise. The bar codes or RFID attached to the item informs the scanners about which item’s detail the client is purchasing. After that, the scanners convey the details to PCs by interpreting the bar codes and updating the information in the database. The inventory management software then deduces the information from the serial numbers and matches those data to the brand of goods they characterize.

Through this procedure, the clothing store owner will be able to monitor the sales of her products automatically. She will also be able to track the most selling products with ease. At this stage, the software is also able to monitor the outgoing items via purchases and the remaining stock. By doing so, the shop owner can be informed about real-time occurrences on her premises.

The inventory adjustment enables the shop manager to lessen her inventories even when sales have not been made. At this stage, breakage, wastage, write-offs, and consumption of own stocks are accounted for.

At the reordering stage, the software utilizes data in the database to generate commendations for replenishing strategies. The shop owner can reprogram the system to make an electronic order or choose to do so manually. Notably, efficient inventory systems permit space for human decision-making. As such, the system presents noble evidence to support conclusions but enables the managers to come up with the final decision.

Once a decision is reached that new stock is to be ordered, the system can be reprogrammed to convey its needs for supplementary products from the suppliers. After that, an electronic data interchange occurs. The clothing store manager and the vendor can then view the message sent to the suppliers. The retailers will then react by sending the required products to the store. Afterward, the items are replenished. After that, the flow diagram illustrating the inventory management system ends.

Conclusion

Based on the above illustrations, it is apparent that the installation of the inventory management system will end the troubles currently experienced by the shop owner. Besides, the system will enhance the efficiency of the employees and improve customer satisfaction. With an appropriate inventory management system, she will be able to manage expenses, quantify shrinkage, and enhance the client-shopping experience. Similarly, the system will enable the shop owner to deter shoplifters. The automated inventory will be of benefit to the business as it will remove error-ridden manual processes and increase its sales and profits.