The challenges of inventory control are a part of doing business, but recent global issues seem to be compounding those challenges. Due to supply shortages of common shipping and packaging materials, retailers are experiencing difficulties. Labor shortages and pandemic worries have caused many ports in the United States to experience severe backlogs, and retailers are experiencing shortages of popular items all too frequently.

Retailers, wholesalers, and others who rely upon these goods for commerce cannot avoid stock shortages due to manufacturing shutdowns in various ports abroad. They can, however, take steps to prevent inventory control catastrophes. With the right approach, including cloud ERP software, the following inventory control problems can almost always be avoided.

9 Inventory Control Challenges

Inventory control challenges are not unusual. Even with careful planning for demand, supply may lag, demand may vanish, or both. Fortunately, with the right software, many inventory control challenges can be solved.

Supply Chain Complexity

Nowadays, an issue that occurred halfway around the world six months ago can result in stock shortages today because of how interconnected the world is. Supply chain issues can be caused by natural disasters, labor disputes, strikes, political unrest, and more. The complexity of the modern supply chain can also complicate matters.

It is not uncommon for raw materials to arrive from one continent, travel to another for fabrication, and then travel to a third for assembly. Motherboards and batteries require the purchase of raw materials from a number of different places, complex manufacturing and fabrication facilities, packaging, and then shipping.

Supply chains of this complexity require careful management and visibility. When even one delay can have ripple effects months down the line, it makes sense to use a system that offers excellent inventory control and supply chain visibility.

Challenging Stock Items

Managing challenging stock items in a warehouse requires good inventory control measures. The issue is particularly pertinent in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and process industries that require careful management of temperature control, stock rotation, and dated stock.

In these industries, inventory control is more than just keeping track of how many of each item are in stock. It also includes noting and monitoring things like temperature and expiration dates, among other aspects that can affect the quality and safety of the goods sold. It is essential that these industries keep accurate, timely, and easily readable records to satisfy regulators and customers.

Changes in Demand

It is important for manufacturers to predict demand several seasons in advance so they can ensure sufficient goods are produced for shipment. Sadly, changing demand means many must switch abruptly to new products. This is difficult to do when machinery needs to be reconfigured and new raw materials need to arrive.

Inventory control is also affected by changing demand. It’s only natural for a company to order more when goods are selling quickly. What happens, though, if demand is only temporary?

Inventory control measures become even more important when demand changes quickly. By preventing overstocks and shortages, these measures reduce costs.

Inaccurate Data

A poorly managed warehouse may suffer from inaccurate warehouse data due to disconnected systems, manual stock taking, outdated software, outdated inventory control data due to backed-up returns, or delays in receiving. In the end, this results in wasted time and money, frustrated staff, and angry customers.

Inexperienced Staff

It’s time to start hunting for a qualified candidate if your company lacks an experienced inventory manager. Inventory and warehouse management are drastically improved by having someone with experience running the show.

An experienced inventory manager keeps the orders shipping, knows the importance of preventing a backup at the receiving area, and ensures accurate and timely data. They can improve customer service and satisfaction and make a big difference to your company’s bottom line.

Poor Warehouse Management

Inventory control requires effective management of warehouse space. To reduce picking and packing time, a well-designed warehouse makes it easy to access popular items. Good lighting, organized bins and shelves, and automated warehouses will help you control inventory more efficiently and process orders faster.


It is impossible to control and manage inventory without clear communication. Dissatisfaction, overorders, and a host of other easily avoided problems can arise when things are misunderstood.

Whenever possible, automate processes in order to avoid miscommunication. Automating your inventory management will give you accurate data that can be relied on to communicate inventory levels, shipping, stock levels, etc.

Manual Inventory

Manual documentation of stock counts is one of the worst mistakes you can make when it comes to inventory control. Automating stock counts has never been easier thanks to new barcode scanning software that can be used with any handheld device (like your smartphone or tablet).

Barcode scanners also have the advantage of transferring data directly into ERP systems. Cloud ERP also permits data to flow across the company’s various systems, including the website.

Poor Order Management

When poor order management is not addressed, complaints emerge from both customers and salespeople—complaints that orders are late or items are out of stock. It’s not easy to keep up with orders, but inventory control software and systems make it much easier.

The Right ERP Software Prevents Inventory Control Challenges

With the right inventory control methods, experienced personnel, and cloud ERP software, all of the challenges listed here can be overcome. Combined with a warehouse management system, cloud ERP software offers unparalleled visibility into all aspects of warehouse and inventory management.

For companies involved in sales and distribution of goods, cloud-based ERP and inventory control systems can increase service, deliverability, transparency, and profitability. Contact ASI today to explore the best options for your organization and say goodbye to inventory control problems.