The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Inventory Management

Inventory Management and Logistics for Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify Sellers and More.

Inventory management is not a cool topic. It is a murky and uncomfortable topic that involves a lot of math and can make you sleepy.  It’s unlikely you’ve ever heard anyone brag about their inventory management skills. It’s just about the least cool aspect of your ecommerce business.  It is way more fun to rank your product above your competitors on Amazon or Walmart, more fun to brag about getting your ACOS down to 25% on your best seller, and there is nothing better than a Best Seller badge in a competitive niche.  I get it.

But… if you screw up your inventory, your business will suffer

Order too much, and your precious capital is tied up in units that are not moving.  Not just that, but your storage fees start to soar, especially if you’re holding too much inventory (long term) in amazon FBA.  If you order to little, you run out of inventory, your listing(s) vanish from search results, and you suffer not only the loss of income for that agonizing period, but you’ll need to re-start the process of ranking your products again, that is, whenever your products eventually arrive.  Bummer!

No One Teaches Inventory Management for Amazon or Ecommerce Sellers – Why is that?

Have you ever noticed that you could find an online course, webinar or seminar for just about every subject needed to run an ecommerce business?  Yep, with the glaring exception of inventory management or supply chain logistics.  Ever wonder why that is? 

Where or Who do you go to learn how to:

  1. Forecast future sales
  2. Adjust for periods of seasonality
  3. Prepare for spikes in sales
  4. Adjust for new competition or market conditions
  5. Know exactly when to reorder
  6. Know how much to order
  7. Know how much to ship into FBA from your warehouse

Seems like this should be taught alongside subjects like product selection, how to optimize your listing, keyword research, social media, chat bots, or sponsored ads, etc… right?  But it isn’t. And not having this knowledge can prove frustrating and a bit intimidating for most sellers, especially when their business grows with more products and categories added, and more platforms to sell on, etc.

When I started on my ecommerce journey in 2013, my first platform was Amazon.  Trust me when I tell you, it was a way better platform for profit back then.  You could even make mistakes, and the profits still rolled in.  Not so much today.  Today, you need to be sharp and fight for every percentage of profit margin you can get.

As our business took off, I started to struggle with all the inventory issues listed above, as did my other seller friends.  It turns out, inventory management is pretty darn important if you want to grow and scale your business.  

So… if you too want to master the inventory and logistics management of your business, buckle up and get ready to toss your clunky spreadsheet(s) in the bin.  I am going to teach you what you need to know to maximize your profits by balancing your inventory. 

Caveat:  I’m not going to sugar coat this, there is going to be some math.  A lot of math.  Some of it will look a bit scary at first.  The simple fact is you can’t run your business efficiently without some math skills (sorry).  But don’t worry, as I explain to audience members when I teach this from stage, God gave us a universe filled with mathematics, but Bill Gates gave us Excel.  So just stick with me on the main concepts and you’ll do just fine in execution.  I promise!

Who am I and why should you listen to me?

My name is Michael Weir.  As of this writing, I am 58 years old, I’ve been married 35 years and I’m a grandpa.  In my misspent youth I earned a business degree in finance.  I never used that degree in the business world because I went straight to law school and from there straight into civil litigation. I ended up in the complex litigation “niche” of Asbestos Injury law. I kid you not, there are courts that specialize in “complex litigation”.  That is where I practiced law. It was here that I first started to lean on my finance training, and it was this complex litigation experience that would later be very important to me as I figured out how to manage my ecommerce inventory (more on that later).  

I worked as a trial attorney for 13 years. During those years I was in court 4-5 days a week.  That might sound amazing, but I was under constant stress and just about every attorney I spoke with at the time was looking for a Plan B, an exit strategy from the law. Eventually, I found mine.

I was fortunate and stumbled on a chance to join an internet marketing project with a Forex trader.  We formed a partnership and developed online courses teaching traders how to trade the world’s currencies.  It was my ticket out of law.  That partnership lasted six years.  I made a lot of money and learned a great deal about online marketing.  When the partnership ended, I was determined to stay in the internet marketing space and continue the lifestyle we had built up over those years. Meaning, we had freedom of time, which is very addictive, and I didn’t want to give it up.

Six months later, I stumbled on the ASM2 launch and started my amazon business in 2013.  We (my wife and I) were diligent students and action-takers.  We started out with three products and were in for a wild ride.

I remember the first day we started getting sales.  We couldn’t find our listings in the Amazon search results and yet amazon customers seemed to be able to find our products and purchase!  I was hooked.  It seemed like free money.

Fast forward a couple years, several masterminds and 50+ different products later and I had a problem.  We were making money in sales, but also bleeding money in logistics.  We were net profitable but not efficiently running the business. Managing my inventory and the logistics side of the business was elusive to me.  I just couldn’t figure it out.

True Fact:   Throughout the entire universe of the Amazon Sellers marketing niche at that time, people were starting masterminds and selling courses on topics like PPC, Product Development, Amazon SEO, Reviews, with all sorts of seminars and webinars, YouTube channels, etc., but NOBODY was teaching the mechanics of inventory management.  Not even the so-called gurus of the marketplace.  I was totally frustrated, and I wasn’t alone.

As all growing sellers soon learn, the most cash-centric decision you make is when you purchase inventory.  It instantly impacts your bank account by 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars!  BAM… right out of your bank account and into another company’s account.

These are some of the most important and financially impactful decisions you make in your business… and you were left alone to figure out how to do it. Not Cool!

To be clear, this wasn’t anyone’s fault.  It simply reflects a huge gap in knowledge.  The successful marketers that bother to teach others, teach to their strengths.   Those that can are experts in SEO, teach SEO.  Those that are great at PPC, teach PPC, etc.  It seemed like all the gurus and content creators were online marketers, and few were “nuts and bolts” old school business owners.  Certainly, everyone got very quiet when inventory management questions came up.

Frustrated, I started my own study in inventory management.  I had learned a bit about it in college, but nothing that would really help.  So, I took a deep dive.  I started reading books, online articles and searched for any publication that could help. I attended seminars and webinars that had nothing to do with ecommerce, but everything to do with inventory management, supply chain management and logistics. I went to a university bookstore and bought their textbooks. I even called some authors and asked questions.  I did all this knowing that I was going to have to figure this out on my own.

Update:  In October, 2022 I went a step further and received a Certificate in Planning and Inventory Management by ASCM.  It took 2-3 hours of daily study over a period of 5 months.  I had to pass two separate (and brutal) exams.  No small feat.

Over several months I started to piece together a framework for an algorithm that was helping me.  In fact, for the longest time I just called it, “The Algorithm”.  I shared it with my seller friends to help them with their business.  One of my friends hosted mastermind groups around the world. He asked if I would be willing to speak at some of his meetings, and I did.  I traveled all over the world and shared my algorithm. I have been a guest speaker on various stages, in webinars and on podcasts.

Click here to listen to my interview with Bradly Sutton on the Helium 10 Serious Sellers Podcast.

That was when I realized that EVERYONE (large and smaller businesses alike) was searching for a solution to their logistics challenges. 

Over time, the algorithm was refined to a seven-step system.  I now call it, The Inventory Boss

So, that’s me.

Michael Weir - Coeur d'Alene, ID USA

On my deck in Idaho

My perseverance paid off.  I now know, with steely-eyed confidence, what variables are involved in making factory orders and handling the logistics of my company.  I can execute my inventory decisions with confidence and precision

If you allow me, I will now teach you to do the same.

Inventory Boss – The 7 Step Algorithm

Here is my algorithm, in its unvarnished beauty:

Profitable Logistics = {Reorder Point} + {Demand Forecast} + {Seasonality Adjustments} + {Manual Adjustments} + {EOQ: Optimal Order Size} + {Consolidated Shipping} + {Warehouse Balancing}

In a nutshell, that’s it.  At first glance, it doesn’t look like much, but know that within each set of brackets contains another set or series of calculations.

If I were to translate this equation into English, it would sound something like this:

Profitable logistics and proper inventory management requires that we first determine the reorder point for a given product or category of products using lead time and safety stock calculations.  From there, we gather a couple of years of sales history, if possible, and use that historical data to forecast future sales using some weighted moving average formulas.  From there, we need adjust accordingly for any seasonality variables for the period we are forecasting, and then make whatever manual adjustments necessary for that period as well, based on our own unique business experience and foreknowledge of future events (like Prime Day).  We will then measure the size of the final forecast against the EOQ to make sure we are in the ballpark for the optimal size order, and then coordinate and consolidate this and any other orders from the region into the proper sized container at port.  Once the inventory is in our local warehouse, we will use the projected sales forecast to advise us as to how many units to send to regional distribution centers every month to optimize our storage fees.

All the above is possible to do with a complex spreadsheet… for a single product.  However, if you have more than one product, that spreadsheet will soon become your bane.  Because a spreadsheet, no matter how complex and beautiful it may be, is not designed to handle a business with multiple products, purchased and shipped from different regions, and being sold on different ecommerce platforms.  I’ve tried to do it.  It will drive you absolutely bugnuts!

Whenever I speak about this concept to sellers, I say that using spreadsheets to handle this complex level of data is like using a 2-Dimensional tool to fix a 3-Dimensional problem.

What I’m really saying is this:  It’s time to ditch the spreadsheets!

Have you been hobbling along with your spreadsheet(s) so far?  Sure, you have.  But would you really be reading this post if it was working so well?  Probably not.

Pro Tip:  It is almost impossible to manage the inventory and logistics of a multi-product, multi-platform ecommerce business without using a relational database.  And that my friend is the truth! More on that later…

So, let’s begin.

Step 1 – The Reorder Point (when do I make my next order?)

The reorder point is the simplest of all math problems in our algorithm.  It uses simple arithmetic.  If you don’t know the actual formula, I think you’ll find that you already intuitively understand the concept.  There are three pieces of information you need to determine before you can calculate your reorder point for a product.

1. Figure out your Lead Time.  From the time you make the order to the time your products are available for purchase.  This could be in the Amazon or Walmart distribution center, or in your own warehouse for self-fulfillment.  Let’s say for our example, your lead time is 70 days.

2. Determine your Daily Demand.  Important:  This should be demand across all selling channels.  For our example, let’s say you were selling 100 units total across Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify. You need to aggregate all that sales data into a single value.

3. Determine the number of days of buffer stock.  This is best known as Safety Stock.  Safety stock is simply that number of units you want to keep in reserve if your order, based on you calculated lead time, does not come in on time.  Safety stock was a big deal for sellers at the beginning of Covid, when the main ports in China shut down, or when there were over 100 container ships stuck outside of the Long Beach, CA port at the end of Covid.  Many sellers ran out of inventory waiting for their ship to come in.  For our example, let’s say we want to have 15 days of safety stock.  Meaning you want to hold 15 days’ worth of your daily sales in reserve, or 15 * 100 = 1500 units.

Your reorder point calculation is as follows: 

Reorder Point = (Lead Time * Daily Demand) + Safety Stock

Where:

Lead Time= 70 Days
Daily Demand =100 Days
Safety Stock = 15 Days

Reorder Point = (70 * 100) + (15 * 100)
= 7000 + 1500
= 8500 Units

This means simply, that when your combined inventory of units reaches the 8500 level, it is time to make an order.  Your order should arrive and be available for sale within 70 days, but you have allowed for an additional 15 days to account for unforeseen delays.  Simple!

Step 2 – Demand Forecast

The Demand Forecast is the core part of the algorithm.  It is comprised of several parts, but the most important element is your sales history.  Your historical sales data for any given product is the foundational element for the entire algorithm.  So, it is very important that you not only gather your sales data and aggregate it into monthly totals, but that you check your data for any spikes or dips that would be considered as outliers.

Note:  For our purposes, we will be using monthly periods for all our calculations.  Therefore, we will be gathering monthly sales totals across all our platforms and aggregating those totals for total monthly sales figures. 

What is an outlier?  An outlier is a historical “event” that caused a spike or a dip in sales that would not typically represent your usual sales for that same period.  For example, if you ran out of inventory for two weeks, that would create a dip in sales.  If you ran a lightning deal or deal of the day on your amazon account, that would represent a spike in sales.  Since neither of these events are part of your normal sales during this period, you will want to smooth out these anomalies to ensure that your data reflects an accurate depiction of your sales.

Remember, your historical data is the foundational element for the entire algorithm.  You want to be careful not to bake any bad data into the cake of your forecast models.  So, you need clean up your data first. To do this, just average out those outliers to reflect what you think would be the most accurate monthly total for that period.  Easy!   

Now that you have aggregated all your data, across all platforms, cleaned up that data to remove any outliers, you are ready to proceed and apply averaging formulas against that data to form the basis of your forecast. 

Applying Moving Averages Against Your Historical Sales Data

Moving average calculations is the best way to determine what your future sales will be.  Of course, there are many factors that will be used to calculate the final forecast, but we will start by applying one of three moving average calculations to our (previously scrubbed) data set. 

The three formulas, that have been used for more than 100 years by inventory managers, are:

  1. The Simple Moving Average,
  2. The Weighted Moving Average (I use this one almost exclusively), and
  3. Exponential Smoothing

I know your eyes already wandered to the image below and you might have started freaking out.  I get it. That is some scary math! But consider this, inventory managers used these formulas before there were calculators or spreadsheets.  That required some serious brain power.

 

Moving Averages Formulas

Remember, we have computers that can handle this at the speed of light.  You don’t have to do the math in your head, or with a calculator or even on a spreadsheet.  You just need to conceptually understand what each formula does and why you would choose one over the other.

For brevity, I will focus on the Weighted Moving Average (WMA).  To be more accurate, I will focus on a 3-Period weighted moving average.  Essentially, The WMA averages the sales periods of the last three months, but places more “weight” on the most recent months to give you a better idea of how your sales are trending.  To fully explain these concepts, I would need to use a spreadsheet.  So, let me do that via video.  Enjoy!

You can see how easily these averages can be calculated on a spreadsheet, but can you imagine doing this for every product?  Not only would it be tedious, but you would be introducing the very real possibility of user error in working on tedious and repetitive calculations.

Let’s assume that you answered the big question, “What can we expect for sales in the next month?”

After you have that number, we need to determine the “forecast horizon” of your order.  Meaning, for what months in the future is this order supposed to cover?  Once you have that figured out, then you need to move to the next step and see how Seasonality during those forecasted months will affect your forecasted sales and bring you that much closer to the final order.

Step 3 – Build a Seasonality Index

Seasonality is another concept that you already intuitively understand.  Sales during the Christmas holidays are typically better than those in September.  Obviously, it is more complicated than that, but the general idea holds.

To use the concept of seasonality in our algorithm, we need to render it to a mathematical equation and then build a Seasonality Index.

 

Seasonality Index Graph

The seasonality index is the reason we need to gather two years of sales data if possible.  More, would be better, but there are many sellers who have less than two years of data per product and the most you can get from amazon is two years.  So, we will stick with two years for now.

A seasonality index is surprisingly easy to create.  All you need to do is gather a 12-month set of data, add all the months’ sales into one aggregated value, and then divide by 12.  This gives you an average of units sold per month value.  Next, we divide each given month’s sales totals into the average and come up with a value that is either above or below the value of 1.  So, a month with slower sales than the average would be represented by a decimal value less than one.  Conversely, a month that has higher than average sales would be represented by a value greater than 1.   

Sounds complicated, but it’s not.  Trying to explain it without a spreadsheet is like to trying to help someone cut their own hair over zoom.  So, let’s watch another video where I can explain as I use a spreadsheet.

Building a seasonality index is easy.  Knowing how the data effects your forecast is slightly more complicated, but again, you will intuitively understand it.

Using the seasonality data is not difficult.  In its simplest explanation, you would overlay the seasonality values over the forecasted number of sales for a future month.  Then, whatever that projected sales value is for that month, you multiply by the seasonality value. 

For example, the seasonality for the months covered by this next order are November, December, January, and February.   The seller should determine number of units forecasted per month, then multiply that number by that month’s corresponding seasonality value.  You will usually find that either the value is above or below the average.  That final value is what you should project for that future month.

So, if I’m looking at December, and the forecasted number of sales of this product is 3000, and the Month of December has a seasonality vale of 1.3, then I would multiply the 3000 by the 1.3 and have a total of 3900.  Meaning, we can expect to sell close to 4000 units in December. 

Seasonality indexes are easy to build and simple to use.

Step 4 – Manual Adjustments

A manual adjustment occurs when the inventory manager looks into the future and knows something is coming… or happening.  If something specific is going to happen, it is considered an EVENT.  Events are things like Lightning Deals on the amazon platform, or Prime Day, etc.  Events of this nature are not surprises, but actual happenings or occurrences that can be anticipated by the manager.  Accordingly, the algorithm allows the manager to add or subtract levels of inventory during these events, by units.

Manual adjustments are straightforward and come in two different calculations.  The first is a unit measurement.  Like I stated above, if you have set up a lightning deal on amazon at a particular date and are allowing a certain and identifiable number units to be sold, then you would add that number of units to that month’s inventory.  Simple.

The second is an adjustment that is made as a percentage of the monthly total of forecasted sales.  In this case you would either increase the number of units by a percentage of the total for that month or decrease the number of units by a percentage of the total for that month.  An example of the increase would be if your long-awaited patent finally was published.  As soon as that patent is submitted to the legal department of Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc., all the copycats can be washed away. 

This happened to me.  I finally got my patent approved and was able to knock out 30 different copycat sellers.  As a result, I was able to manually adjust my sales UP by 60%.  Meaning, I multiplied each future month forecast by 1.6.  That was a great day.

This can also work in reverse.  I have had products in categories that were doing well until they were “discovered”.  A flood of new sellers came in, and I was forced to manually adjust my sales DOWN by multiplying each forecasted month by 0.65%.  That wasn’t such a great day.

What is important to understand is that these adjustments are based on the reality of the marketplace.  Good or bad.  They allow your inventory levels to remain grounded in a realistic appraisal of the market conditions. It is good to know that you can use the knowledge and experience you have as a business owner to get a good read on the future and make an informed and knowledgeable adjustment to your final forecast.

 

Step 5 – Optimize Your Order Size with the Help of the Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)

 

The EOQ is an equation that helps with the overall logistics of any given order.  It essentially balances the cost associated with making an order against the costs associated with storing your products.  This equation is literally over 100 years old… and was formulated by Mr. Ford Harris in 1913.  Mr. Harris was not a classically trained mathematician or economist.  He had a high school education and was smart. 

Ready for another fantastic looking math equation?  Look no further than the EOQ.

 

The Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)

The EOQ is an equation that gets a lot of traffic from sellers who are searching google for help with their inventory.  It leads to a lot of questions and some crazy results.  I don’t use the EOQ in my forecast.  I do use it as a backup figure to check if my forecast is in the ballpark for balancing my order costs with my potential storage fees.  It took three different videos for me to adequately explain (to my students) how I use the EOQ. 

Congratulations!  You have calculated the demand for your product for the next several months and checked your work against the EOQ to make sure that it is close to the optimal size.  Now you just need to rinse and repeat for all your products that are nearing their reorder point.    

The rest of the algorithm addresses shipping and storage fees.

Step 6 – Consolidated Shipping

Shipping, like everything else in the world these days, is getting more and more expensive.  So, it is more important than ever to make sure your order sizes are following the EOQ parameters, as well as trying your best to coordinate your various factories (if you have more than one in the same region) to deliver your orders to the port warehouse in a very small window of time to get everything on the same container(s).

Consolidated Shipping is art of trying to stuff as much product into the right sized container as possible.  The math involved here relates to Cubic Meters (CBM).  CBM is all about the volume taken up in the enclosed space of a container.  The question is, how many CBM of product(s) can I fit in this container?

This becomes especially important when you are trying to arrange several orders from different factories in a region, to all have their units arrive at port during a small window of time so all the products can be loaded on a container.  You want to only pay for the size container you need to cram in all the products you have ordered.  This is by no means a new concept, and if you have ever paid for more than one partially loaded container during a 30-day window, you know the pain of paying more than you should have in shipping, trucking, devanning, etc.  To fix this, you just need to start coordinating your orders and lead times with your factory reps and your freight forwarder. 

In a perfect world, this coordination happens on paper before the first order is made.  You just need to cast an experienced eye down the horizon of your future needs and start working backwards. 

Scenario 1 – Multiple Factories.      If you need to order different products from more than one factory to maintain your product availability levels 3-6 months from now, you need to first start with the order calculations on your product with the longest lead time.  Determine, based on their current lead time, when their product will arrive at port and then circle that date on your calendar.  From there, go down the line of the remaining factories and as you are giving them your order, be sure to tell them to coordinate with your freight forwarder to ensure that their order arrives at port on the same date as the first order.

Pro Tip:  Contact your factory reps to get the current lead times for each of the products you plan on ordering.  Don’t rely on prior lead times. This bears repeating: Don’t rely on prior lead times.   This mistake is costly and qualifies as a forced error on your part.  You don’t know what is going on in any given factory at any given time.  So, take the time to contact your factory rep and find out what the current lead time will be for your order.   And remember, if you are ordering from China, be sure you are talking to them in December and January for any Q1 orders.  Chinese New Year is no joke.  These factories are closed, and they don’t care that you are running out of stock.  Well, they might care, but they likely won’t do anything to help you during their holiday.

Scenario 2 – Single Factory with Multiple Products/Variations.       This is a likely scenario for many sellers.  You have one factory in the area that makes most if not all your products in that certain region.  You still want to call and find out what the lead time is on the product that takes the longest to make.  Check with their production times if you have an order with multiple products/units/variations to see when the entire order will be available.  Again, this is all done prior to the order being made so you can coordinate with your freight forwarder to make sure that the boat you want is leaving port on a given date, and your products are on that boat.

Scenario 3 – Trading Companies – Of course, this is one reason to rely on trading companies.  In most cases a trading company will have a higher price per unit, but there are times when you can turn this into savings due to their ability to coordinate all the shipping for you.  If your business model uses trading companies as opposed to going factory direct, then this step is not as important to you.

Pro Tip:   Your Freight Forwarder needs to know your plans early on.  Don’t wait until your factory is shipping to the port to let them know you need to order a container. Once you have a completion date from the factory with the longest lead time, you need to coordinate with your freight forwarder to schedule your container(s) to be on the right boat at the best time.  It is easy to lose a week or more in shipping delays simply because you didn’t coordinate with your freight forwarder. 

Step 7 – Warehouse Management

Warehouse management is all about timing.  If you’re shipping products to Amazon or Walmart distribution centers, you need to balance the cost of the pallet fees offered by your warehouse, against the storage fees demanded by these distribution centers.  Most likely, your warehouse storage fees are going to be lower than the distribution center storage fees.  This is where your forecast of future sales becomes your friend.

Each month, you should know how many units to send to the distribution centers to maintain stock availability while at the same time avoiding excessive monthly or long-term storage fees. This is what I call warehouse balancing.  I have clients who call this storage fee balancing.  Either way, the goal here is to stay on top of your forecasted sales report and be sure that you are sending in enough product to keep your listings active, but not too much to incur a noticeable increase in your storage fee expenses.  

Tip:  I usually will send in 50-100 additional units in the first month or two of the forecasted months just to ensure that my forecasted numbers are accurate. That amount of overstock is not enough to worry about, but enough to make sure we don’t run out of stock.  You will want to keep a close eye on this for the first month or so.

This leads us to the work of refinement.

Warehouse Management is Where You Find Out How Accurate Your Forecasts Were

We are now at the end of the algorithm.  It is here at the end where you will have a chance to refine your skills.  As you know, forecasting future sales is a function of combining mathematics and human experience.  Whether this function occurs on a simple excel spreadsheet or in a sophisticated database (The Boss), the simple fact is that spreadsheet math is not perfect.  At its very best, forecasting future sales using math and your best estimates for marketplace adjustments boils down to a great Guestimation.

There is your spreadsheet, and there is the real world. Rarely do the two meet.  But a good guestimation, one that gets refined over time is all you need to be very successful in managing your inventory and logistics.

Remember:    You are the business owner with experience with your niche.  Incorporating your understanding of current market conditions within your niche and on each ecommerce platform is a large part of the process.  That is why there is an entire step dedicated to manual adjustments. 

You need to continually incorporate your experience into each new forecast and order.  This is how you will increase your forecasting accuracy over time.  If you notice that your forecasts came in to high or low, make a quick calculation to see how much of a percentage the difference is, and then make a manual adjustment on a percentage basis in the next order.  This is the art of refinement.

Pro Tip:    Having said all that, be sure to keep records of your forecasts.  You did the work, made the order and now it is important to maintain records of why you ordered the number of units you did.  This is super important.

“Refinement” could easily be the 8th step of the algorithm.   

Refinement of this process is ongoing, and necessary.  Your ability to analyze the results of your first few orders and see if they were able to fulfill all your forecasted sales is important in the process of honing your new skills and getting increasingly more accurate as an inventory manager. 

Unfortunately, there is no demo account for you to practice on.  Your experience as the inventory manager for your business occurs on a live account with real consequences.  But, if you keep records of your forecasts, and compare them to the actual sales for those months, you will be able to adjust and refine your future forecasts further and further with each new iteration of inventory orders.

This refinement process will make you very accurate over time.

Final Thoughts

A couple of times I mentioned items that I would get to later.  One was how my time spent in complex litigation helped me with my inventory management.  The other was that you need (NEED) to incorporate a relational database into your inventory management process.

Here is what happened to me years ago, and how that experience could impact your business today…

Asbestos litigation is complex for many reasons.  The disease itself is known as a latent disease.  Meaning, you develop the disease in your lungs decades after your exposure.  This raises legal issues of causation (proof of exposure) and the statute of limitations. 

To prevail for my client, I had to show that he was exposed to asbestos 20-40 years prior to his diagnosis. Typically, I did that by ordering his social security records (data set 1), sitting down with him and asking him if he was exposed at any of the jobs listed in the social security records.  Most of my clients were union workers that worked on dozens of job sites through the years.  Dozens!  Next, I had to search for the insurance policies those employers carried during the years that my client worked for them (data set 2).  From there, I needed to find out how he was exposed to asbestos on each job, and if he could identify the manufacturer of that product (data set 3).  That is a lot of discovery and a lot of data sets.

The only way we could make sense of all that data, was to create a relational database.  Once we found data for one case, we would enter it in the database and could then also use it for other cases.  This required a good user interface for data entry as well as the ability to run queries against that data to generate reports we could use for individual clients.  It was a mountain of data to manage, and it worked beautifully.

Fast forward to me trying to figure out how to manage all the complexity of a multi-product, multi-platform ecommerce business on a spreadsheet, and you can see how I would think back to my days in asbestos litigation.  One day the light went on and I realized I needed a relational database to handle all data.  That is the moment I understood how to build the Inventory Boss.  It started out as a windows-based desktop system.  It worked, but like any prototype, it was not the easiest to work with, the program itself needed some serious refinement and candidly, it didn’t offer a great user experience.  So, we decided to pause the project and upgrade.

Two years of development later, and we now have a web-based program. 

Click this link https://inventoryboss.com you will find that I’m offering an extensive online video course and web-based application for you to use.  In this course, I go into far greater detail on the inner workings of the seven steps of the Boss algorithm.  And…

The Course is Free!   Yep… free.  There is a free 21-day trial for you to take advantage of.  Meaning, its free for 21 days, so take advantage of it. 

You can consume the entire course, everything I have learned and developed over the last several years in a matter of days.  I don’t mind.  It will help you and that makes me happy. 

If you try the software and like it, I will charge you only $99 a month to access the most awesome relational database and inventory management system you ever saw.  The user interface is easy to navigate and in short time, you too will become the inventory boss of your business.   

I guarantee you, there is no other inventory management program that does what The Boss does.  There are a couple out there that poke around the edges, but that isn’t the same as YOU becoming an actual skilled inventory manager. 

The Inventory Boss will run your ecommerce products through the 7-Step algorithm and store all your data at the same time. It’s truly amazing.  It comes complete with API connections to pull your sales data from Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Shopify.com and Shipstation.com and can easily help you manage a complex and growing business.  These API data links cover most of the ecommerce businesses out there.  But, if you need an additional API connection for a platform we don’t have, let us know and we will add more over time as requested.

Click on the link above and give yourself the gift of knowledge and competency in inventory management and logistics.  If you apply yourself, in 2-3 days from today, you will know more about managing your ecommerce inventory than 99% of the other ecommerce sellers in the world.  Spend a week or two in the software, and you will be able to teach this to others.  That my friend, will give you a sharp competitive advantage. 

Talk to you later…

I hope you enjoyed this Guide. If you found it helpful, I ask that you cheerfully share it will all your seller friends (at least the ones you really like) and help fill a gap of knowledge and skill that is missing in most businesses. And be sure to drop a comment below and say hello.

I wish you the very best in your life and in your ecommerce journey.  I hope you make a pile of money and do great things with it.

Cheers!

Michael

Free 21-Day Trial to the Inventory Boss Video Course and Software Solution