There are lots of ways to boost business productivity. Training. Process improvement. Staff wellbeing and motivation. Technology. They can all play an important part. Yet there’s one less-explored element that can make an equally important contribution to your productivity: print stock control.
In any organisation, effective stock control makes sound business sense. Yet in addition to its obvious cost and cashflow benefits, careful print stock control can help you produce more work, which has an inevitable, positive effect on your profits.
How efficient stock control boosts productivity
1. Anticipate the market
Consider these two scenarios:
- Peak season is approaching. Every year, you know (in general terms) the boost it brings to your business. That’s why you order stock based on your experience and gut feeling. Yet this year hasn’t been a normal year, as you’d see if you looked at the data gathered by your print inventory management system. As a result, you underestimate ordering volumes and leave yourself under-stocked when the peak hits.
- Peak season is approaching and you’re eager to order the right amount of stock to cope. You’re looking at the data from your inventory management system and it’s clear you’ll need to order more than usual. Yet because you like to run with high stock levels, you can’t order everything you need because you don’t have space to store it safely.
In both cases, you significantly undermine your productivity. Yet in both cases, effective printing stock control could help you anticipate what lies ahead and prepare for it.
Many businesses stand or fall on the success of a few peak weeks every year. Ensuring your stock control supports your productivity at these times is, therefore, essential.
2. React to the market
Every industry is subject to changing trends. Printing is no different. Effective print stock control ensures that when the market decides print material A is this years go-to option, you don’t have shelves full of print material B you can’t sell.
Stock control is about running lean – about carrying enough to keep productivity high, but never too much that it actively hampers what you’re trying to achieve.
3. Improve stock flow
Efficient print stock control means ensuring stock can flow through the business in a friction-free way. Inventory that is used immediately boosts productivity because there’s no need to store it, rotate it, protect it from damage or search for it amidst piles of other stock.
Stock that ‘sticks’ harms productivity, because it requires more interventions (moving it, rearranging it, checking its use by date etc) before it leaves the business.
It’s inevitable that not all your stock will be used the day it arrives, but the closer you can get to that position, the better your stock control will support your productivity while also minimising waste and protecting cashflow.
4. Improve processing simplicity
When a customer orders a new print product – and even when they order a fairly rare item – how do you respond? Are you able to know instantly whether you have the right print materials in stock? Can you access them easily? Can you instantly access the cost price so you know what to quote the customer?
Or do you spend ten minutes rummaging round a cluttered stockroom shouting something to the effect of, “I’m sure we had one around here somewhere”?
Effective printing stock control makes it easier to keep a tidy, minimalist stockroom. That in turn makes it easier to respond to customer queries and process orders. And that boosts your productivity.
5. Improve fulfilment speed
Printing stock control isn’t purely about volumes; it’s also about holding the right sort of inventory. By using data from your inventory management system to support your print materials ordering, you can ensure that the stock you hold is a better match for what customers need, and you can ensure your stock profile adapts with your customers as their needs change. That means, when customers place an order, your business is better equipped to fulfil that order fast.
6. Improve customer service
Improving productivity comes from the ability to do more for less. Yet to keep ‘doing more’ you need to receive more orders.
Efficient stock control – and the resulting ability to anticipate, react to and fulfil market need – enables you to meet more deadlines. It enables you to deliver faster. It enables you to say ‘yes’ to more customers more often.
All of which brings you more repeat business, more new customers, and a virtuous circle of productivity.
Talk to Soyang
Efficient print stock control begins with the right print materials partner. To explore how Soyang could help you manage your stock better and boost your productivity, talk to us.