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6 Common Causes of Inventory Waste and How to Reduce It

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Inventory waste refers to any unnecessary or excessive inventory a business holds, leading to financial losses, space waste, and inefficiencies. Overproduction, faulty forecasting, and ineffective inventory management can all lead to inventory waste. 

In this blog, we’ll examine the six main reasons why inventory waste occurs and provide some waste reduction strategies.

Also Read: What is the Legaltree Digital Business Card Feature? How Does it Help Small Businesses?

Common Causes and Ways to Reduce Inventory Waste

Here are some common causes of inventory waste and how they can be reduced.

1. Overproduction

Overproduction occurs when a business produces more than it can sell or consume. This results in an excessive amount of inventory, which leads to waste. 

Overproduction can occur due to inefficient production processes, inaccurate demand forecasting, or lack of communication between departments.

Solution: To reduce overproduction and inventory waste, businesses should prioritise lean manufacturing practices, improve demand forecasting, and encourage interdepartmental communication.

2. Inaccurate Demand Forecasting

Inaccurate demand forecasting can result in overstocking or understocking of inventory. Overstocking leads to excessive inventory and waste while understocking results in lost sales and dissatisfied customers.

Solution: To reduce inventory waste caused by inaccurate demand forecasting, businesses can use inventory management systems, monitor sales trends, and analyse customer behaviour.

3. Poor Inventory Management

Poor inventory management can lead to overstocking, understocking, and inventory waste. This includes issues such as stockouts, excess inventory, and misplaced inventory.

Solution: To reduce inventory waste caused by poor inventory management, businesses should implement inventory management systems, monitor inventory levels regularly and prioritise efficient storage and tracking systems.

4. Lack of Communication

Lack of communication between departments can lead to inventory waste. For instance, the manufacturing team may overproduce if the sales team overestimates demand, which results in surplus inventory.

Solution: Businesses can encourage cross-functional collaboration, employ technological tools to assist communication, and establish clear lines of communication between departments to avoid inventory waste.

5. Obsolete Inventory

Obsolete inventory refers to inventory that is no longer in demand, outdated, or unusable. Obsolete inventory can occur due to customer demand, product changes, or technological advancements.

Solution: To reduce inventory waste caused by obsolete inventory, businesses should prioritise product innovation and development, monitor sales trends and customer behaviour and implement effective inventory disposal strategies.

6. Inefficient Supply Chain

Inefficient supply chain management can lead to inventory waste. For instance, late shipments or low-quality goods may cause stockouts or overstocking, resulting in extra inventory and missed revenue.

Solution: Businesses should prioritise effective logistics management, build trusting relationships with suppliers, and utilise technological tools to track and monitor inventory to avoid inventory waste from an inefficient supply chain.

Also Read: Learn How to Easily Prevent Inventory Loss in Retail Stores


Businesses may face an expensive and inefficient issue with inventory waste. 

However, recognising the root causes and putting workable solutions in place may minimise waste, save money, and increase efficiency. 

Inventory waste may be decreased, and a company’s general health can be improved by prioritising inventory management systems. 

This includes increasing demand forecasting, applying lean manufacturing techniques, establishing effective storage and monitoring systems, and enhancing supply chain management.

Follow Legal Tree for the latest updates, news blogs, and articles related to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), business tips, income tax, GST, salary, and accounting. 



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