To say that owners of startups are busy people is an understatement. You have employees to manage, orders to fill, bills and invoices to pay and customers to keep happy. While these tasks are important to your new business, whether it’s a medical company, automotive business, or something in the aerospace industry, it is also crucial that you get a handle on your inventory and, if needed, order certain custom parts in bulk.
As for why this is important, and tips on how to do so as effectively as possible, consider the following.
Parts = Products = Profits
In order to fulfill orders or make repairs on items, you must have an adequate amount of parts on hand in your manufacturing or repair department. If any of these parts must be custom-made, it is imperative that you order them far ahead of time and in bulk quantities, as it won’t be possible for you to run out to a local parts supplier to obtain what you need.
Your goal as the owner of a startup is to never run out of essential parts to tackle whatever order comes your way.
Every Part Is Important
To get a good handle on what you should order in bulk, start by creating an in-depth list of every product you make or repair, and which parts go into the process. If you have an automotive repair shop and specialize in repairing combustion engines, you will probably need a variety of parts and components in a wide range of sizes to quickly and efficiently help each customer who comes in the door. For example, o-rings are one of the most common seals used in machine design. Although they are small, they will play a huge role in your team’s ability to fix engines. Sourcing your o-rings with a trusted company like Apple Rubber will help ensure that your supply chain will not be negatively impacted; they have over 300 million o-rings in their inventory and can handle custom bulk orders with ease.
Research Your Wholesalers Carefully
To find reliable manufacturers who can handle your custom part needs, Lightspeed recommends asking your local Chamber of Commerce for suggestions or networking with other business owners. Once you have the names of a number of wholesalers and/or other companies that handle bulk orders, conduct what is essentially an interview with the manager or sales department of each business to be sure they have a strong understanding of the products that they sell, and if they stand by their quality and durability. You should also ask the wholesaler what the turnaround time is for custom part orders and if they offer expedited shipping if needed.
Once you have your vendors in place, Fit Small Business suggests carefully processing your deliveries. Receive and unpack your bulk custom orders in one room, count the boxes to be sure everything is there and then check the items that you receive against the purchase orders.
Be Careful Not to Over-Order
In addition to determining what custom parts you will need on hand, you will also need to calculate how much to buy. Money can be tight for startups, so you don’t want to order huge quantities of custom parts for repairs or products that you don’t anticipate will be very common. You may have an idea of what projects will keep your team the busiest; use this knowledge to make an educated guess as to what you will need the most of, and place your custom bulk orders accordingly. You can always tweak these amounts over time.
Inventory Management Is Doable
Placing bulk custom orders is not something that you want to do in a haphazard way. Fortunately, getting a handle on how to do it properly is not an impossible task. By having an accurate list of what parts are needed and which ones are used the most, and then carefully selecting your wholesale vendors, you will be sure to keep your manufacturing and repair departments humming along smoothly.