How to Fix Your FBA Inventory Management Bottlenecks
by Joanna Lupo
The Amazon FBA program simplifies many of the supply chain management aspects of eCommerce. Streamlined delivery, product warehousing and return processing are just a few of the conveniences enjoyed by participants.
However, FBA merchants still need to be strategic in how they run their operations. Otherwise, bottlenecks are likely to develop, which can erode profitability.
In this post, we'll discuss common FBA inventory management bottlenecks - and how to use our RestockPro tool to correct them.
You can't sell what you don't have. And without the right restocking workflow, that's exactly the situation you'll find yourself in. Customers want to buy from you, but this can only happen if you've carefully restocked each product at precisely the right moment.
Create a more manageable restocking process with RestockPro. Unlike spreadsheets, which are outdated the moment you create them, RestockPro pulls in actual quantity-on-hand data from FBA locations. It also tracks inventory that you've recently shipped to FBA warehouses, calculating a total inventory number for each SKU. This information is then used to prioritize your most urgent restocking actions. RestockPro then "flags" them accordingly (red flags require immediate attention, while yellow flags will soon become priorities).
Too busy to resolve restocking issues now? No problem, as RestockPro will keep things flagged until you have time to work through the list. From the convenient dashboard, you can quickly toggle between views that return pre-filtered lists of restocking suggestions. Want to see which restocking suggestions are more than a week past due? Simply click the red "alerts >7 days" widget from your RestockPro homepage.
Rather than clicking through endless lists of SKUs, RestockPro presents the exact information you need to run your FBA business.
Inefficient Shipment Prep
In theory, shipping to FBA warehouses should be significantly easier than sending individual parcels to consumers. Oh, if it were only that easy!
For each new shipment, FBA merchants have a number of steps to coordinate:
- Creating purchase orders for suppliers
- Gathering and sorting local inventory
- Preparing FBA documentation
- Printing stickers or other prep work required by Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon")
- Documenting and uploading box contents
- Preparing boxes with shipping labels
- Tracking shipment status
- Ensuring that Amazon properly accounts for your received inventory
If done manually across a merchant's entire product catalog, these activities could require an entire back-office support staff. As an alternative, many merchants use a tool like RestockPro to do the heavy lifting. RestockPro allows you to prepare inbound shipments with a few clicks. Your data is even uploaded to Amazon, saving you the frustration of logging in and out of multiple systems.
Better yet, merchants can get real-time updates on their FBA inbound shipments. If an issue arises, sellers can make note of any follow up work that needs to happen.
Purchase Order Disorganization
An email here, a PDF there. For many Amazon sellers, purchase order management can be a serious pain point. That's especially true when suppliers make a mistake or pass along unexpected fees. Purchase orders (POs) are a contractual agreement between you and your vendors, which makes them even more important to your business.
By managing your POs with RestockPro, you're able to create organization from an often disorganized eCommerce function.
In addition, since RestockPro-generated POs are natively digital, our system actually uses the cost data in its profitability calculations. Instead of exporting cost data from your accounting software or manually keying in data from paper records, RestockPro keeps track of everything for you. For merchants processing hundreds or thousands of orders, this simple feature could save countless hours of labor over a twelve-month period.
Solve Your FBA Bottlenecks with RestockPro
Making the decision to automate your FBA inventory management process is not one to take lightly. Our RestockPro team is here to make your transition as easy as possible. Sign up for a risk-free trial of our software, and one of our RestockPro experts will reach out and help set things up.
At eComEngine, our goal is to help you succeed as an FBA merchant. We look forward to delivering on that promise through our RestockPro tool.
Start your free trial of RestockPro today!
Originally published on January 12, 2017, updated April 23, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.