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Tidy up your Inventory with this popular Japanese method

Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has inspired people around the world to methodically arrange their homes through her highly particular and peculiar method of organization. Focused only on keeping things that “spark joy” and purging all other types of clutter, Kondo’s KonMari organizational strategies turn overstuffed closets and garages into neatly curated spaces that only contain items that are strictly necessary. 

These principles aren’t just useful for the home: If you’re tasked with finding new ways of optimizing your supply chain operations, understanding what’s valuable and what’s worth discarding can help you run an efficient and streamlined operation. Here are some Marie Kondo-inspired inventory management tips to help get the most out of your supply chain: 

Keep a healthy inventory

The KonMari method is big on getting rid of items that take up too much space — and maximizing the space you’ve already got. If you’re responsible for managing a warehouse, try doing the same thing by ensuring you’re not stuck with excess inventory or that you’re wasting your own space through operational inefficiencies. Consider generating a heat map of your operations to identify areas where operations can be streamlined, where product has been sitting too long, and new methods of keeping things organized. 

See everything in one place

When setting out to organize a particular space, the KonMari method recommends placing all of the items in a particular category — clothes in a closet, for instance — directly in front of you, giving you the chance to visualize the task at hand and decide what’s worth keeping. Using that same logic, those responsible for managing inventory can turn data into visualizations that can help you better understand areas of opportunity or where time is being wasted. 

Identify items that “spark joy” 

Marie Kondo’s most memorable and popular organizational principle is to only retain items that spark a sense of joy. Even if an item still seems functional, the KonMari method recommends ditching items that may have once served a particular purpose but are no longer useful or exciting. If you’re setting objectives to take better control of your inventory, apply those same principles by identifying key metrics that capture the essence (and spark the joy) of your mission. Identifying important factors that make the largest contributions to your supply chain performance, like particular warehouses or product seasonality, can help your organization make better decisions and predictions. 

Less is more

One reason the KonMari method resonates with its practitioners is that it focuses on creating a finite space filled with useful, joyful items that have a clear purpose. For business optimization, the same kind of less-is-more approach can greatly help you improve your inventory management strategy. Try looking at your master data, attribute data, and transactional data; bring it to life through visualizations; and create a complete context for your inventory. By identifying the low-hanging fruit, you can start to get rid of bad inventory, get more of your best-selling products, and maintain a streamlined operation.

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