Future of Commerce Blog

What Is The Most Frequent Cause Of Inventory Fulfillment Issues?



Here at Stitch, we constantly strive to better understand the perspective of our users and how inventory management fits within their overarching business models. Over the past several months, our engineering team has been developing new barcode printing and scanning functionality. And we are proud to say these features were released to Stitch users earlier this week.

There is no question that barcodes are an integral component to inventory tracking. To gain more insight into the impact of automated barcoding functionality, we surveyed nearly 200 small- and medium-sized retailers. Survey questions were designed to better help our team understand these businesses’ pain points and bottlenecks when it comes to inventory management and customer satisfaction. Here is a rundown of the results.

Human error is the most frequent cause of inventory fulfillment issues.

Humans are not computers. They make mistakes. 62% of respondents reported human error from manual process management as the #1 root cause of inventory fulfillment issues.

The key phrase here is “manual process management.” When employees are repeatedly performing manual tasks which require perfect precision – such as entering shipping addresses or SKUs – they will inevitably make mistakes.

Out of stock items are the largest driver to lost customers

Some mistakes carry a significant cost, and often the worst case scenario when it comes to inventory management is losing customers. 67% percent of our respondents indicated being out of stock after an order is placed or simply overselling as the #1 inventory mistakes that lead to lost customers (45% and 22% respectively). Furthermore, the next most popular mistake was having the wrong product packed and delivered (17%).

Takeaway: Reduce human error by implementing automated inventory solutions

By integrating with automated inventory management solutions, all of these issues can be dramatically reduced (if not entirely eliminated). When asked about back-end functionality, our respondents indicated that a comprehensive and accurate view of inventory in warehouse and immediate updates on stock availability were the most helpful tools for improving front-end operations. This makes sense given that 40% of respondents reported consistent, on-time delivery of orders as the most essential piece to making happy, lifelong customers.

Not only can automated inventory management solutions improve customer retention, they give managers and business owners time to focus on high level business strategy without getting lost in the weeds.

Overview of additional results

Brian Lance

Brian is Stitch Labs’ first in-house economist. He digs through troves of data and crafts meaningful stories in order to help business owners take a more informed approach to their inventory and e-commerce strategy. He also loves nachos.

More Blog Posts

Learn how today's fastest-growing brands manage their inventory.