Inventory Management Practices and Business Performance for Small-Scale Enterprises in Kenya
Small-Scale Enterprises (SSEs) are acknowledged as significant contributors to economic growth through their perceived critical role in providing job opportunities, poverty reduction and their acting as intermediaries in trade. However, the International Labor Organization (2010) estimates that two-thirds of the enterprises generate incomes equal to or below the minimum wage, a sobering finding that must temper one’s enthusiasm for the growth of SSE’s as a solution to the country’s poverty and employment problems. Inventory constitutes much of the working capital held by SSEs and poor working capital management has been identified as one of the major causes of SSE failures. With this backdrop, this study investigated the relationship between inventory management practices and the business performance of SSEs in Kisii Municipality, Kenya. The relationship was probed based on primary data gathered by use of a structured questionnaire from 70 SSEs. The empirical results revealed a positive significant relationship between business performance and effective inventory management practices at 0.05 significance level. Further, they showed that inventory budgeting had the largest effect on business performance with a beta coefficient of 0.329, followed by shelf-space management with a beta coefficient of 0.30. Inventory level management had the least but significant effect with a beta coefficient of 0.297. The study suggests that owners/managers of SSEs embrace effective inventory management practices as a tactic to further their business performance.
Keywords: Inventory Management practices, Business Performance, Small Scale Enterprises