Maintaining adequate inventory is consistently one of the biggest headaches in the retail industry. But in 2020, inventory management demands have only become more complex due to pandemic-related supply chain shocks — which are projected to remain long after the world reopens.

Regardless of current events, potential snags are always found scattered throughout the retail supply chain. But there are some smart ways you can alleviate some of the most common obstacles to keeping stores well-stocked.

Here’s a look at retail’s top nine inventory pain points and how to remove them from the equation.

1. Warehouse Maintenance

This is the most obvious pain point, but also one of the biggest. Owning or renting warehouse space is a costly proposition, and it becomes particularly difficult if you’re running and staffing multiple locations.

Contracting with a third-party storage and logistics provider is an easy way to not only outsource common warehouse operations, but to also get the problem off your hands and potentially reduce costs. For example, PODS containers can be filled with inventory and kept on-site at your stores, or off-site at your nearest indoor PODS Storage Center.

Watch the video to see how PODS moving and storage works.

Solution: By partnering with a moving and storage service like PODS to support your inventory management operations, you can remove the need to constantly maintain a physical warehouse space of your own (and as a bonus you also reduce your footprint).

Want PODS to take charge of your inventory management? Get more information about our services by contacting us today.

2. Booking Drivers

Retailers must find ways to get their inventory from a warehouse storage space to its store locations. Unforutnately, with that also comes additional financial and logistical headaches of obtaining transportation. Finding trucks and qualified drivers that will reliably ship your goods on time is far from easy.

PODS containers used for inventory management being hauled on a semi truck

Solution: Here’s another case where PODS can ease your pain. On your shipping schedule, PODS will transport any storage containers filled with inventory. Whether they are kept at your facility or at your preferred indoor PODS Storage Center, our trucks can transport inventory directly to your store locations.

3. Retail Overstock

Global supply chain issues were cited as one of the leading causes of retail overstocks, but another major reason is due to poor inventory forecasting accuracy. While there are age-old options to address this problem, such as liquidating overstock, modern technology can help many retailers eliminate this issue.

Solution: Inventory forecasting software tracks trends specific to your business, as well as calculating the lead time, safety stock, and reorder point that works best for you. Find a good demand management program among these top-rated softwares.

4. Seasonal Inventory Management

These first two pain points become even more challenging for retailers that rely on seasonal inventory, such as holiday-oriented products. Renting, loading, transporting, and storing an entire store’s worth of excess inventory for a full year really takes normal inventory pain points to the next level.

A woman browsing Christmas ornaments at a seasonal pop-up shop.

Solution: Why not just keep the extra inventory inside PODS containers, and then allow PODS to handle inventory management from there? (PS – It works for one of the world’s leading Halloween retailers, whose excess inventory lives in a PODS Storage Center in between trick-or-treat seasons)

Did you know The Container Store uses PODS for seasonal storage? Check out how the retailers temporarily stows away fixtures and inventory during seasonal campaigns in this case study.

5. Retail Overstock

Global supply chain issues were cited as one of the leading causes of retail overstocks, but another major reason is due to poor inventory forecasting accuracy. While there are age-old options to address this problem, such as liquidating overstock, modern technology can help many retailers eliminate this issue.

Solution: Inventory forecasting software tracks trends specific to your business, as well as calculating the lead time, safety stock, and reorder point that works best for you. Find a good demand management program among these top-rated softwares.

6. Facility Remodeling

Remodels can have a transformative effect on a retail store’s business. But the renovation process itself can take a major bite out of profits. Inventory often must be transported off-site and stored to make space for construction work, and precious business hours are lost as a result.

Construction workers talking inside a facility that's being remodeled

Solution: What if you could safely store all that inventory on-site at facilities that are undergoing renovations? It’s possible with PODS. A national restaurant chain did just that by storing inventory on-site in PODS containers, and it didn’t lose an hour of business during its remodel.

7. Tracking for Inventory Management

The last thing you need as a retailer is to find out that you’ve got less inventory than you expected. Unfortunately, this still happens entirely too often thanks to human error — and the old-fashioned practice of tracking inventory by hand.

Solution: General inventory management software abounds these days (here are some highly-rated ones). By maintaining an accurate count of your inventory, you’ll save more of your resources. Better yet, that sinking feeling of not having the inventory you thought you did will be a thing of the past.

8. Stocking a New Location

Placing a new store’s first order is a stressful process. You’ll want to make sure you order a surplus to keep up with the surge of customer interest that a new store often attracts, while also making sure you calculate carefully so as not to have too much overstock.

An empty shelf inside a clothing retail store

Solution: Coordinating the numerous shipments you’ll need and finding a place to store them while you’re putting the finishing touches on your store adds another layer of complexity — but here’s another place where PODS can help you breathe easier.

A PODS Business Solutions Specialist can help you sort out the logistics of gathering your first round of inventory, and finding a secure place to store your shipments.

9. Expediting

Expediting is a common problem for retailers and with the rise of faster fulfillment expectations due to e-commerce, it’s only getting worse. Keeping in touch with suppliers to ensure orders arrive in a timely fashion can be an incredibly time-consuming process, and it’s yet another area where technology can ease the pain.

Boxes moving on a belt inside a fulfillment center for inventory management

Solution: B2B e-procurement networks are an efficient solution that allows for a streamlined, online connection between your retail store and its suppliers. You’ll be able to keep in touch with multiple suppliers in one place, not only browsing their offerings and placing orders but also ensuring shipments are on schedule.

PODS Storage for Inventory Management

By following the advice we offered in this article, you can start to take control of your biggest inventory management challenges.

With storage and shipping always being a critical component of the retail supply chain, you will need a partner to help you in those areas. Get assistance with your inventory management needs by contacting PODS today.

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Originally published Jun 29, 2018 6:52 PM, updated Mar 11 2021

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