Inventory Do’s and Don’ts

Shireburn Inventory Management SystemInventory management is the process through which you oversee the flow of products in and out of your organisation. Whether you’re in retail, distribution, wholesale or catering, inventory management is the backbone to your business, and if not managed properly, it can all too soon come crumbling down.

We’ve worked with countless local business owners and with more than 30 years’ experience, we’ve put together some basic inventory do’s and don’ts that can hopefully save you a lot of strife!


  1. Do establish lead times for each product to understand how long it takes to replenish your inventory once an order is placed.
  2. Do monitor inventory levels. Having high levels of inventory adds to expenses and increases overhead costs. Limit seasonal inventory and cut back on inventory that does not sell as fast.
  3. Do identify your best sellers, ensure stock is always available and determine a desirable reorder point. You never want these items to be out of stock! Focus on the items that matter most and keep in mind that generally 80% of demand will be generated by 20% of your items.
  4. Do base your decisions on information, past trends and projections.
  5. Do consider seasonality and month-end spikes.
  6. Do set clear internal policies for adjustments and returns amongst other functions.
  7. Do track your inventory in various locations from warehouse or stores to outlet. Use electronic data interchange (EDI) and bar code scanning to help with stock takes.
  8. Do track work in progress materials. Track units as they move through different operational stages. Many businesses utilise some inventory to create other products so it is important for them to establish a system to track “work-in-progress” materials allowing them to adjust order amounts before inventory gets too low and slows production.
  9. Do look into inventory management software that can help organise your business and make your life so much simpler. Make a list of your business requirements (E.g.: Reporting, redemption of gift vouchers, returns) and ensure that the system works for you. Support for tracking batches, serial numbers and expiry dates are all functions that are critical for certain sectors such as Food and Pharmaceuticals, so you definitely want to ensure your software solution will support these too.
  10. Do invest in theft control. Without a good inventory system, it’s impossible to know if you’re being subject to theft by customers or employees until it’s too late.


  1. Don’t guess. You’re jeopardising customer satisfaction by guessing when you may next have an item in stock, or if it is available at another store.
  2. Don’t just give the job to anyone. Hire the right people to manage your inventory – it may cost you if you don’t. You’ll have thousands of euros tied up in stock and you should hire professionals with experience to do the job. Ensure that your software vendor conducts training for your employees in order for you to get the most out of your inventory solution.
  3. Don’t over stock for fear of being caught short. Base your decisions on information and reports on past trends as well as some decent projections. Storage is expensive and products that sit on shelves are subject to damage, depreciation and obsolescence, and you may end up having to reduce its selling price to sell it.
  4. Don’t depend on spreadsheets. You’re asking for trouble if you do. Spreadsheets can be very easily accidentally deleted, and files can be subject to data loss or corruption especially as the volume of data increases. It’s also not the most ideal platform for multiple users to be working on the same document at the same time. Be smarter with your inventory.
  5. Don’t slack on your back up plan. You’ve got all your inventory consolidated into a fancy software system, but what happens if there’s a fire or theft at your office? Your back up plan can range from saving critical data to a removable USB drive (which you take with you out of the office), to storing back ups in the cloud or on an additional offsite server.

At Shireburn we have over 30 years of experience in business software solutions, specialising in multi-channel solutions for retail, catering, distributors and more. You can count on Shireburn to guide you through a number of inventory management options to suit your particular business requirements. Get in touch with us for a proposal and demonstration.


Heritage Malta chooses Shireburn Software’s solutions

Heritage Malta
Fort St Angelo, Birgu

Heritage Malta has recently teamed-up with Shireburn Software to support its prestigious sites with their software solutions. Shireburn was chosen to replace the previous systems and provide its integrated accounting, inventory and point-of-sale solutions to help combine operations at Heritage Malta’s various museums and sites around Malta and Gozo.

Heritage Malta embarked on a long term project to integrate all systems across all its operations. Shireburn’s Inventory Management System (SIMS) was implemented as the backbone inventory control system, with a total of 21 implementations of Shireburn’s Point-of-Sale (SPOS) solution across all Heritage Malta museums and sites, including the National Museum of Archaeology, the Inquisitor’s Palace, St Paul’s Catacombs and the Gozo Nature Museum amongst others.

Heritage Malta
Ta Kola Windmill

Heritage Malta is continuously striving to integrate all its data into one knowledge base and hence this includes several initiatives which concern the updating of all its ICT services and tools.

The Shireburn Financial Manager (SFM) has also replaced the previous accounting system, and with direct integration with inventory, point of sale and payroll, it now provides a more cohesive solution for Heritage Malta to run its operations more smoothly.

Training was provided to all Heritage Malta staff over the course of a month, starting with back office employees, and onto management and front facing staff, in time for the ‘go live’ date.

Heritage Malta had already been using Shireburn’s Payroll System (SPS) in conjunction with Shireburn’s Time and Attendance system since 2002 and runs a monthly payroll for its 310 employees.

Shireburn Software is a software products company, specialising in the development of business software solutions and their support, both locally and overseas. Solutions include accounting, payroll and HR, inventory and retail, eCommerce, business intelligence and document management amongst others.


The Retail Advantage

The year was 1900. Two salesmen set off looking for opportunities to sell shoes in the far reaches of the world. After a few weeks that they’d been gone, the first salesman sends a telegram back; “Situation is hopeless! Nobody wears shoes here”. The second salesman, however, wrote quite a different message – “Glorious opportunity! They don’t yet have any shoes here”.

Making the most out of market opportunities requires the right perception – a product of both knowledge and creativity. Knowledge, in an ever-changing world, is one of the most valued assets sought by businesses in any market. It allows for measured risks and informed decisions – two of the most important ingredients in a successful business.

Cracking the Maze Code

Data has changed the face of how businesses operate in any given market. Acquiring and using data is the holy-grail for businesses where competition for the customer’s attention is stronger than ever. Having operational data gives businesses the competitive advantage needed to learn and adapt to the changing needs of the market, iterate and succeed.

Business software can allow a wealth of data to be gathered and processed, providing businesses with the automation and opportunities to expand in a digitized world. Through different software and hardware components, the entire process can be automated and optimized saving the business money and increasing market accessibility.

Much like a team’s effectiveness can be measured by their ability to communicate with each other without bureaucracy, software and data should be able to communicate with each other flawlessly in a way that only systems built to work with each other can.

Many systems are localised for the Maltese market as an after-thought, leading to expansion restrictions, bugs and compatibility issues.

A Local Solution built for the Local Market

In the retail sector, Shireburn Software has made great strides in both the local and international markets when it comes to offering a modular, end-to-end solution. From single-location stores, through chains and franchises, shopping malls and airports with hundreds of stores, Shireburn caters for every commercial setup at the right price point with all of the required options to expand operations when needed.

Shireburn’s POS is the front-end component of the retail solution, providing a configurable Point-of-Sale solution with an easy-to-use interface optimised for touch screens and bar coded products. It offers all of the functions required to run and promote your business including a built-in punch clock for recording staff attendance, promotional and discount schemes. It is also internet-ready allowing you to check stock levels for an item across multiple stores in real-time.

Complementing the POS solution, Shireburn also offers a stock management solution that has been designed from the ground up to work seamlessly with the rest of the Shireburn Business Suite. With sales, purchasing, distribution and inventory modules available as required, it offers complete control over the entire process whilst remaining cost-effective and modular enough to grow with your business. Since it is designed for the Maltese market it is also fully compatible with local laws including tax, shipping and other reporting requirements and is supported by our local team.

As your business expands online, Shireburn’s eStore provides real-time connection to Shireburn’s Inventory Management system ensuring you never miss a sale whilst developing your customer’s trust in your business as a dependable and trust-worthy choice. This greatly reduces your workload allowing you to focus on running your business.

Tying it all together is Shireburn Business Intelligence that runs ad-hoc and pre-set reports and graphical dashboards on real-time data giving you the insight and information required to make decisions right when it matters most.

Shireburn’s retail solution offers a true 360 degree, multi-channel solution ensuring that the entire process is catered for without hindering the data process flow or profit whilst supporting you in boosting your business’s performance.

Contact us if you’re looking to improve your retail revenues.

As first published in Money Magazine May 2015 issue 30. Click here to view e-mag.