In business terms, inventory is both a noun and a verb. An inventory most often refers to a list of property and assets and to actually inventory a business is to actively engage in making a list of items vital to the business itself.
Taking inventory also encompasses contemplating every phase of a business and discovering what segments are working well and where changes could benefit outcomes. Two linking components fit this review: Training for employees and production geared to sales.
In small business operations, on-the-job training is often the easiest method for getting employees ready for work success. Yet developing a more wide-ranging training system establishes a path for each employee to achieve their best performance. Training should be a complete system which outlines each job with the supporting documents, manuals and procedures necessary to build confidence and skills.
Taking the time to review your overall training system is more than inventorying your present workforce and deciding how many seasonal workers you may need. It involves looking at all aspects of your labor requirements and developing pathways for delivering information and instruction. Training opportunities help employees become critical thinkers and problem solvers, what you most seek in helping your business succeed. So don’t just count the number of your employees, but make the effort to develop training systems which encourage your employees to develop skills and abilities.
The link between inventory and profit is more than accounting for numbers or widgets; it parallels how well production is linked to sales potential. If your marketing strategies are on target, production and sales will balance out. Otherwise you may need to discover where to adjust sales strategies or target new market segments. That is why business plans and marketing strategies are meant to be fluid and adjustable. If you need to make adjustments at any time of the year, you should be able to shift production to follow buying trends and market fluctuations.
While the term inventory carries a very specific business connotation, it also can help you think in terms of how individual parts of your business are linked and blended. It is more about review and adjustment then just counting items on a shelf. It encourages new ways of business planning, over and above profit based solely on units sold.
Employee training and production paralleling sales are but two business components that benefit from inventory reviews. You can pinpoint many other areas of your own operation where careful review and action-oriented adjustments will make a difference. So next time you think about inventory, consider its broader meaning and potential for the best return on your investment.
The above information is presented for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.