How to Organize and Manage Inventory in the Garment Industry

The apparel industry is so fast-moving and dynamic that inventory control is one of the biggest challenges you will face. Whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor, or seller, changing demand and supply makes it particularly tough to stay ahead of the curve.

All stakeholders in the apparel industry, both large and small, have to optimize inventory management to deal with the current environment. That starts with efficient organization and strategic planning. 

What Inventory Management in the Apparel Industry Looks Like

Inventory management, at its most basic, is the process of tracking, managing, and maintaining an optimal inventory level. 

The modern retail environment is incredibly complicated. Between factories, warehouses, stores, and ecommerce channels, every player in the value chain needs to weigh the risks of empty shelves against waste and markdowns.

Some of the factors to consider include:

  • The speed of moving inventory from the factories, through distribution channels, to the consumers
  • Rapidly changing trends, which sometimes last for only months
  • Customer experience
  • Rising carrying costs such as storage rents and insurance
  • Multiple sales channels including ecommerce and brick and mortar stores

Technology has made inventory management in the industry much easier today. For example, inventory management software for the apparel industry tracks clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and related items as they move between locations.

Inventory Management Tips for the Clothing Industry

Whether you’re using pen and paper, spreadsheets, or sophisticated technology to manage your clothing inventory, there are tips and tricks that have become very useful in the industry. 

Depending on the size of your business, consider implementing the following strategies to help balance your stock.

Software-Based Tracking

From the factory floor to the consumer’s door, accurate tracking is critical in the apparel industry. With such a high number of variables involved, every batch must be accurately tracked and processed through each stage to minimize costly inaccuracies.

This has become much easier with the use of technologies such as bar code readers, RFID chips, and advanced software that automates object tracking and supply chain management.

AI-Based Data Analysis and Forecasting 

With fast-moving trends, the apparel industry relies on forecasting and demand planning tools to predict future demand. Forecasting relies on data, and this is one of the secrets behind apparel giant Zara’s secret in the industry.

Being able to predict what trends will come in a few weeks, months, or years helps manufacturers optimize production volume and cut time-to-customer. This is what enables brands to stay on top of trends and produce new designs with incredible speed.


In this industry, Items have to be broken down by attributes such as color, size, material, fit, and size. However, you can go further and incorporate channel segmentation so that each product only goes through its most popular channels.

For example, some clothing styles move much more quickly in ecommerce channels while others such as suits do better in brick and mortar locations. In addition, micro segmentation helps businesses reach consumers with targeted ads and lets them move cold stock to fresh markets.

Optimized Order Fulfillment

Customer needs are changing daily. The need to personalize items, receive orders faster, and keep up with fashion trends means businesses must stay on their toes.

In addition to optimizing marketing and delivery channels, focus on customer experience by ensuring fast delivery, order prioritization, and preferred payment options such as buy now, pay later (BNPL).

Inventory Management Challenges in the Apparel Industry

The apparel industry faces a unique set of challenges that make inventory control and balancing even more important.

Excess Inventory

Fashion trends change fast, so matching demand and supply is almost impossible. Overproduction and overstocking are serious challenges, making up to 40% of the production in any season. 

Businesses try to deal with overstock through price markdowns,  discounts, redistribution to new markets, donations, and even through destruction.

This is where more accurate demand planning can help predict trends and reduce overproduction overstocking to help reduce waste.

Unsold Inventory

Unsold inventory attracts carrying charges that reduce profit margins. Costs such as storage charges increase the longer inventory stays on your shelves.

Increased inventory turnover is the best solution to deal with this problem. In addition to better demand planning, you can also negotiate long-term vendor contracts and improve your storage capacity.

Mobile Tracking

App-based production and inventory tracking is a practical solution for small and medium-sized businesses in the clothing industry. However, GSM and GPS-based mobile tracking solutions are necessary to enhance tracking during transit and delivery.

Garment Defects

During the manufacturing process defects could occur like faulty zippers, irregular hemming, loose buttons, raw edges, improper buttonholes, uneven parts, inappropriate trimming, and differences in fabric colors.

Inventory control must account for garment defects and allow for appropriate processes to reduce these defects. This requires traceability so that the source of the defects can be identified and rectified as early as possible to reduce waste and losses.

Inventory Inaccuracy

The apparel industry involves large numbers of small discrete items. Without accurate inventory management, loss, theft, and waste can quickly eat into your already thin profit margins. 

Accurate inventory and tracking helps to streamline processes right from production to supply chain accounting. For example, each item gets to the intended distributors and sellers, eliminating the need to run additional redistribution costs.

Lack of Space

Warehousing space management is a constant problem, especially when you have slow-moving stock. Too little space will leave you vulnerable to supply chain constraints, while too much space becomes expensive to maintain.

With meticulous tracking of your full assortment of incoming and outgoing inventory, you will soon understand which your fast moving items are to help optimize storage space.

Poor Time Management

Time spent locating inventory and in administrative processes can become expensive. Wasted personnel hours cost businesses significant amounts of money when they don’t streamline inventory control.

The Role of Warehouse Bins in Apparel Inventory Management

Exceptional organization is necessary if you’re to save space, time, and money in the apparel industry. The right warehouse bins will support your advanced inventory management strategies by enabling space management and accurate tracking. 

What Is a Warehouse Bin?

A bin is any designated inventory storage location. In the apparel industry, warehouse bins should make warehousing more accessible, easy to locate, and safe.

Accurate bin stocking and inventory control allows companies to optimize storage, make access faster, and manage a highly diverse list of items.

Warehouse Bins Help to Protect Garments

Our warehouse bins also offer excellent protection to apparel inventory during storage. By keeping dust, moisture, and harmful insects out, our bins make short and long-term organization safe.

More importantly, our bins can be ESD-safe and fire retardant  to minimize the risk of sparks and fire. 

More Advantages of FlexCon Warehouse Bins

  • Cost-efficient: more affordable to purchase, while long-term reusability and durability adds to long-term cost savings
  • Reusable: FlexCon bins are fully reusable and mostly recyclable to minimize waste
  • Lightweight: plastic is lightweight and greatly reduces shipping costs
  • Ship flat: our plastic bins fold flat when not in use, saving your space and money
  • Long-lasting: hardened corrugated plastic design with double walls for maximum durability
  • Economical: reusable, stackable designs allow for versatile usage across a wide range of applications

Concluding Thoughts

FlexCon warehouse bins are perfect for the apparel industry. You can sort them by color, barcode, and a variety of hi-tech labels, which makes them suitable for highly categorized inventory such as clothing.

We do accept custom requests to suit your unique needs. For more information, dealer inquiries, or a quote, contact us today and let’s help you make your inventory management even more efficient.