March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Take Inventory 8 steps to take control and optimize your inventory B Y M A R C V I L L A 96 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 96 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 w orking in supply sales, I've noticed that many decorators have an inven- tory management issue. I watch pur- chase trends and analyze data of sup- ply sales all day, and I see that most businesses are not managing their inventory well. How can I tell? I look at how many times an overnight delivery is requested on a common item, such as black thread or direct-to-garment ink. I notice purchases of small quanti- ties in regular intervals. I see people regularly waiting until they are completely out of something until they reorder. I know managing consumable inventory isn't easy. You're busy running a business, operating equipment, talking to customers, managing cash flow, and after all of that—or- ganizing your inventory. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to better manage and optimize your inventory. These will save you money, make better use of your time, reduce your stress, and ultimately improve your business. 1. ASSESS THE SITUATION Set aside some uninterrupted time to assess your current situation. Take a look at your entire consumable inventory. You have to open those boxes in the back of the closet and see what's in there. Check expiration and manufacturing dates. Write down everything you have and do a full in- ventory count. Depending on the size of your business, this could take a couple of hours in the morning or a few days, but it's necessary. Inventory can get out of hand for every business; no one is safe. Marc Vila is the director of business development for Colman and Company, a decorated apparel supply company in Tampa, Florida. He has worked in sales and marketing since 2003 with experience in outsource management, finance, decorated apparel, commercial equip- ment, and supplies. He entered the apparel business in 2008 in equipment sales for em- broidery, garment printing, and rhinestones. He currently manages the sales team, Internet marketing, email marketing, and general business development at Colman and Company.

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