Inventory management: How to bulk order tea and maximise your profits
When it comes to managing the inventory of your tea business or cafe, bulk ordering and importing will drastically reduce the amount you spend on stock.
Systems and processes. Inventory management. Sales forecasting. These parts of business can be drier than an empty teacup. But getting these things right has a number of perks: think saving money on ingredients and freight, getting priority access to popular teas, and reducing the time you spend on ordering and blending.
By looking at annual sales trends, you put yourself in a position where you are able to get smart about the way you order tea. That means you go from ad-hoc ordering (and stressing about not being able to fill orders) to a more streamlined way of doing things.
If you are at the stage where you are purchasing at least 20kg of tea each year, there are ways to get the best value for money on your orders and save time on chasing stock.
Here’s how we work with tea businesses to get them the best deals on tea and guarantee a supply of tea leaves and ingredients that can be harder to source. From your end, there is three steps of legwork involved:
- Step 1 – Review your annual sales and use these to forecast the next 12 months. Things you need to look for are annual growth and peak sales times. With this information, you can estimate how much tea you are likely to sell over the course of the year and the peak times when you will need extra stock on hand.
- Step 2 – Calculate how much you have spent on stock and freight to get it to your warehouse, and how much time you and your team spend blending individual batches of tea.
- Step 3 – Use these figures to order your tea, herbs and spices in bulk (this can be done every six months or annually, depending on your turnover).
The second step is important, because you will quickly see how much money you are saving by following this process. For our wholesale customers, we give you the option to order a year in advance and have the stock sent out to you in batches. This reduces your upfront costs and ensures ingredients are fresh when you receive them.
The reason why we suggest looking at the time you spend blending is because this process can be really time-consuming and costly to a business. We also offer pre-blended teas and create custom blends to your recipe (and when you do give your recipe to us, it’s locked up and kept more secure than KFC’s 11 secret herbs and spices). So if you are finding that the amount of time you spend blending your teas is not viable, especially as the business grows, there are alternatives.
And what about the risk of wasting unsold stock? The forecasting process helps you make realistic orders, and we’re always happy to go deeper into it with you over the phone – after all, every business is different. When stored correctly, most teas can be kept for at least a year (and in most cases two years), which further minimises your risk.
The other perk of forecasting is that you don’t run the risk of not being able to fulfill orders, especially if you sell rare and premium teas that are hard to get your hands on.
Being effective in business takes some planning. Ordering a few kilos of tea here and there might be fine when you are in start-up mode and finding your feet, but it’s a process that will eventually wear you and your bottom line thin.
If you want to learn more, contact us to request the template we use to assist with sales and inventory forecasting. For orders of more than 100 kg, our bulk import service offers savings of up to 60%.
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- Melinda Halloran