How Distributors Can Make Year-End Inventory Counts Easier for Customers

By Mark Hill

Fourth quarter is often considered the most important quarter of the business year — it’s a time to assess your company’s success and develop new goals for the coming year. It’s also a time to evaluate your company’s current tax and financial situation. Your customers are doing the same thing. But, before they can gain an accurate view of their financials, they likely have a daunting task ahead of them — assessing their year-over inventory usage.

Inventory is what makes their businesses go. The products, parts and supplies they consume are all necessary in their day-to-day operations. There’s one problem, however. The overall cost of inventory often gets overlooked, leading to a mad dash at tax time. Not only are inventory counts a necessary evil for the company tax return, but it offers your customers opportunities to improve their businesses from the inside out.

So, your customers roll up their sleeves and attempt to gather the inventory data they need:

To reduce loss and theft of inventory items

Tracking inventory usage helps businesses identify areas of inventory mismanagement due to waste, loss or theft.

To eliminate obsolete inventory items

Over time, operations and procedures change, leading to unnecessary inventory items left to sit on a shelf collecting dust. Effective inventory control frees capital that may have been spent elsewhere.

To evaluate inventory turns

Having a good inventory turnover rate equates to ideal inventory levels. Inventory turnover rates that are too low or too high can make the difference between profit and loss for many companies.

To optimize their business processes

If a company does not know what supplies they need on hand to operate efficiently, they can’t align their processes to meet business goals.

This is an excellent strategy — in theory. Unfortunately, your customers often struggle to gain an accurate representation of the items their employees use on a regular basis. The reason for this is that many companies are still relying on paper processes to measure consumption and manage inventory. Paper and pen methods, or even the use of spreadsheets, fail to account for all the moving parts of the inventory cycle. The result is excess inventory levels, increased costs, unnecessary purchases, shrinkage and missing inventory, all of which cost your customers significantly.

What if you could offer your customers a solution to their problematic year-end inventory troubles? Industrial vending solutions and inventory control software can do just that. Today’s solutions are designed to vend a variety of the most common inventory items and provide your customers with added control over how they manage their inventory. Where once inventory control was little more than a guess, now customers can receive detailed consumption reports, set customizable user permissions and restrictions, and streamline their inventory purchasing through automated replenishment. Suddenly, the burden of tracking and managing inventory is removed and replaced with increased visibility and control.

Vending is not only a value-added service your customers are looking for, it has incredible benefits for the distributor, as well. In addition to increasing customer satisfaction by providing them a solution to one of their biggest challenges, distributors can anticipate an increase in wallet share in two ways. They can grow wallet share through selling the product in the vending machine and grow wallet share from sales outside the vending machine. Let’s face it. Distributors are never getting 100% of a customer’s spend, but through value-added services like vending they can increase sales in other areas, improve customer stickiness and minimize the chance your customer will be lured away by the competition.

Visit 1sourcevend, a NetPlus Alliance Preferred Supplier, to learn more about industrial vending and inventory control solutions for your distribution business.

Contact Mark Hill at mhill@1sourcevend.com.