How to Warehouse and Forecast Vitamin and Supplement Inventory

The supplement industry could be a great industry to get involved with! There are plenty of people who wish to live a healthier lifestyle, but may find it challenging to get all their nutritional needs through a regular diet, which is exactly where supplements can step in and help. 

There are countless supplements today – from herbs, weight loss pills, protein and meal replacement shakes, testosterone boosters, and even energy boosters. Inventory management can be challenging, but when you layer on the complexities of managing products that expire like vitamins and supplements, it could become even more difficult. Let’s review everything you need to know about vitamin and supplement inventory management.  

Expiration Dates

In addition to knowing what products your brand or company offers, you must keep expiration dates in mind. Having a bulk supply of specific products may be a good strategy to have with products that do not expire, but it’s not a great strategy to have when your product has an expiration date. 

If you carry too much inventory, you may be forced to throw some away as you cannot sell expired products. However, if you do not carry enough inventory, you may lose sales. This dynamic can be difficult to get right, which is why forecasting is vitally important to successfully manage your supplement inventory.

Batch Number

A batch number is critical to effectively managing your quality control, and this is just another component of proper inventory management. Considering how supplements are made – in large batches at a time – you need to be able to recall or quarantine a batch immediately if there is any quality concern. A batch number belongs on each individual item, whether that is a container of protein, a pre-workout energy mix, a container of fish oil, or herbs.

Temperature and Climate Management 

Regulating the temperature your supplements are stored in is another essential component of vitamin and supplement inventory management. If the climate is too humid, your supplements may spoil. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, the supplements will also run the risk of spoiling. Finding proper storage and transportation must be thought about when entering the supplement industry. 

Dial in Your Forecast 

If you plan on selling supplements that are more seasonal than others, you must invest a lot of time to properly forecast the future. For example, fat burners may experience increased demand in the spring and summer months and may begin tapering off in the fall or winter. Having enough inventory to support the seasonal demand of the business is essential to servicing your customers. Identifying trends in your data, and knowing the end-user will make forecasting easier.

Kitting the Products

Kitting is when you combine two or more supplements into a single package. Not only does this present advantages for the customer, but it is also a great way to drive a higher average order value, or AOV, as customers may be more inclined to purchase a kitted item. Additionally, kitting items is fantastic for inventory management. The picking and shipping efficiency of kitted items is a huge advantage. With just a single pick, the warehouse team can ship a customer numerous supplements. This can help keep costs low and ensure picking accuracy. 

Free Gift or Discount With Purchases

A great way to keep customers coming back, or to introduce customers to various other products, is to provide a free gift or discount with purchase. For example, if a customer is purchasing a weight loss supplement, including two or three meal replacement sample packets may be a great addition. Meal replacement shakes can help a customer lose weight, and can also be bought in conjunction with a typical weight loss pill. 

This is related to the above point on kitting, but the free gift would be given when customers did not purchase a meal replacement and fat-burning item together or inside a kit. However, if the customer loved the meal replacement shake and understands all the benefits the meal replacement shake provides, you may have just created another order, and delivered on that wow experience! 

Stick to What You Do Best

There is so much to consider when entering the supplement industry. Not only does a company need to invest a significant amount of money into research and development, but the company also needs to invest heavily into marketing to help promote its products and acquire more customers. 

If you’re in the supplement industry or thinking about entering it, a great way to reduce your overall cost is to use a 3PL to manage your physical inventory and the picking/shipping aspect of the operation. Using a 3PL, or third-party logistics company, has plenty of advantages, and cost-saving is often at the top of the list. You do not need to worry about renting warehouse space, staffing, or managing the shipping aspects. You can spend all your time and energy focusing on what you do best – creating top-of-the-line supplements –  while Print Bind Ship spends focuses on what we do best!