As a printing business, it can be tricky to strike a balance between having sufficient inventory and maintain a healthy cash flow for your business. On one hand, keeping inventory makes fulfilling orders easier, but on the other hand, keeping the wrong inventory will end up costing you.
Inventory forecast can help you strike that balance. With sufficient stock, you have a buffer for misprints, accommodate rush orders and improve turnaround time. At the same time, you will have a healthy cash flow that can be used to grow your business.
Before making an inventory forecast, you need to know how much sales you generate. By estimating the amount of sales your business generates, you can then replenish your inventory as needed.
First we recommend measuring your sales velocity. It’s best to look at your sales for the past 30, 60, and 90 days. This will give you an idea on how much sales you will be making in the future. Is your sales coming in at a steady pace or is it seeing a growth in demand?
Seasonal products sell differently than regular products which affects your sales velocity. A seasonal product sells at a markedly different rate during a particular time of the year. Items that sell well in summer will not be the same items that sell during winter. In these scenarios, it’s better to look at sales during the same time period of the previous years to estimate the sales velocity.
For new products, you can use previous product launches of similar characteristics as a basis for the forecast. It should give you an estimate of the new product’s sales performance, so that you will have sufficient inventory to meet customers’ orders.
If this is the first time you are launching a new product, you can safely take a wait and see approach. Just purchase the goods as the order comes in and improve on the inventory at a later time.
Once you have your sales forecast, now you can determine your inventory forecast. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Your current stock levels- how much stock you have? How much do you need to fulfill orders?
- Lead time from vendors – how long does it take from the time you placed an order to the time it takes to receive it?
- The cost of being out of stock – how much does each lost sale cost you?
- The cost of being overstocked – can your profits cover the cost of overstocking?
With all things considered, an inventory forecast can help to minimize costs while also channeling sufficient funds to expand and grow your business.