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7 types of inventory reports that help fuel business growth

For any inventory-driven business—such as retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers—proper inventory management is at the heart of a healthy and sustainable operation. When inventory levels are out of balance, you run the risk of either having too much stock on hand, which can quickly run up warehouse costs, or having too little, which can lead to stock-outs, lost sales, and unhappy customers.

Optimizing inventory across multiple sales channels reduces these risks and positions your business for greater success over the long term. So, how do you achieve accurate, optimal inventory? The answer is simple: reporting.

Building a highly profitable enterprise is achievable when you have full visibility into your inventory—at every location and at all times. Consistent reporting and review of inventory data is how you make this happen. The key is knowing what inventory reports to run.

What is an inventory report?

Before delving into the seven types of inventory reports that help accelerate business growth, it’s important to understand the basics: 1) What an inventory report is and 2) its benefits.

An inventory report offers a real-time summary of your existing stock. Further, it distills key details such as stock levels, the fastest selling products, category performance, and other important data like inventory status and performance. And while reports can range in form and length, the most useful should always be clear and exhaustive.

Benefits of an inventory report

As a business grows, so does the importance of regular, accurate reporting. And considering that many online businesses, on average, are selling within five channels, full transparency across distribution networks, warehouses, and third-party marketplaces (think Amazon and Etsy) becomes even more crucial.

The bottom line is that consistent, real-time reporting provides a single source of truth. That is, a clear and complete picture of your total assets. Reporting also supports detailed analysis of the numbers to promote smarter, informed decisions on everything from when to reorder products and move aging stock to sales forecasting.

Good reporting habits lead to profitable business decisions and, ultimately, a high-performing and sustainable e-commerce business. Mastering inventory management via sound reporting enables you to:

Benefits of inventory reports

Inventory reports arm you with the information required to ensure that you always have the right amount of stock, in the right place, at the right time.

7 types of inventory reports with QuickBooks Commerce

QuickBooks Commerce offers an all-inclusive e-commerce solution to track inventory and fulfillment across numerous sales channels and locations—from point of purchase to shipping. Seamless integration with major e-commerce platforms offers peace of mind that product listings, orders, and stock levels are current and synced with your bookkeeping records.

The system also offers powerful reporting capabilities to help you track inventory as it moves through various sales channels. Reporting is the linchpin to managing inventory as accurately and optimally as possible.

Know your reports and the value of each:

1. Inventory Detail report

An Inventory Detail report presents data at a granular level so you can quickly ascertain current stock on hand, the amount of stock committed to sales orders, the cost of maintaining the stock, and stock location.

This report uses what’s known as the FIFO (First in First Out) method for valuing stock and shows the different price levels of purchased products. Using filters, you can drill deeper into the data to uncover inventory by warehouse, category, product type, or product levels as of a particular date.

When looking for items on a particular purchase order, you can again use filters to search by the PO reference number. This report will only show items that are in stock at the time it is viewed.

2. Inventory Stock on Hand report

The Inventory Stock on Hand report provides a detailed overview of your total inventory—complete with a list of all products and product variants in stock, the value of those products, and a list of any out-of-stock items. Simply put, this report is an important measure of how much capital you have on hand, which helps with reordering, forecasting, budgeting, and financial planning.

Business owners should always know how much merchandise they have in stock. So, if there is one report to run frequently, it’s this one. To bring this point home, just consider the negative impact on customer loyalty and repeat purchases when items are out of stock. If you consistently (or even once in a while) run out of merchandise, your customers will quickly revert to alternative vendors. This means immediate loss of revenue and potentially the loss of long-time, repeat-purchase consumers.

3. Stock Reorder report

The Stock Reorder report simplifies the process of replenishing inventory when minimum level criteria is met. Within this report, you can view all stock and backorders as well as see product variants that have fallen below the reorder point and variants with negative stock. The report also identifies product suppliers.

Leading e-commerce solutions, like QuickBooks Commerce, send an alert when products reach the minimum inventory level. For example, if Widget A dips below the set minimum criteria within any sales channel, the business owner is notified and can immediately contact the supplier to replenish stock.

4. Incoming Stock report

This report offers an overview of what products are due from open purchase orders within a specific date range. The Incoming Stock report provides much-needed insight to safeguard you from over- or under-ordering stock. It also displays each product’s primary vendor for ease of ordering. As backup, the report also identifies alternative vendors should your go-to suppliers be unable to fulfil an order.

5. Historic Inventory report

Easily export data on stock levels and moving average cost for each variant at any point in history. The core purpose of the Historic Inventory report is to show inventory quantities and values at certain points in time. For example, to see exact inventory quantities and values as of October 2012, you can select this date as the report end date. The report would calculate inventory quantities (and their respected values) as of that date.

Reporting on historic inventory levels and costs provides a rich set of data that supports accurate inventory forecasting—and, even better, eliminates guesswork. With a reliable set of metrics and measures based on historic trends, this report also helps owners set realistic, data-driven realization rate goals.

6. Inventory Location report

Whether you follow a multi- or omni-channel approach, knowing how much inventory you have in every location is critically important. The Inventory Location report allows you to track stock in real-time across warehouses, distribution centers, and third-party marketplaces—supporting complete transparency into your total assets.

Maintaining a current view of inventory by location fuels a highly efficient fulfillment process and mitigates the risk of low or negative stock counts. For example, you can quickly identify one or more locations that are running low on a given product. Based on the data, you can then decide if you should reorder stock or transfer inventory from a nearby warehouse (if this method proves more cost- and time-efficient).

7. Custom reports by dimension

Custom reports allow you to slice and dice data to extract precise information. Create reports based on dimension to quickly identify stock by location, variant, supplier, and product. This level of granularity enables you to track stock movement and fully optimize inventory management.

The wrap…

These seven inventory report types offer a sound starting point for businesses looking to optimize the inventory management function. Deeper insight into data across inventory channels leads to informed business decisions and, ultimately, fuels business growth and prosperity.

Running a business is hard enough, so make it easy on yourself by aggregating inventory data in one place for full visibility into your multi-channel inventory network. When you fully optimize inventory management, you can build your enterprise with clarity and confidence.

Work smarter

Manage your orders, maintain inventory, and track fulfillment from across all sales channels. Get started today with QuickBooks Commerce.

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