Become An Inventory Jedi Master With These 7 Tips From Star Wars

And oldie-but-a-goodie: In this article from 2015 amid Star Wars-mania at the time, Eric Jensen of Cutwater Solutions shows how many of the film series' life lessons can be applied to inventory management.

I have been a Star Wars fan since my first time in that movie theater in 1977, and now can hardly contain my excitement over “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” I am also passionate about helping businesses WIN by operating efficiently and achieving their vision for success and growth.  I especially enjoy helping business owners and leaders accomplish their goals through effective inventory management.

So I’ve decide to write a blog post combining these two passions. Some of these ideas are from a great article on leadership lessons from Star Wars I enjoyed, which can be found here.

1. Do or Do not. There is no try.

Yoda provides advice I think is important. When a business is faced with an overwhelming challenge, like addressing a growing amount of wasted dollars in dead inventory, the first response might be to “try” to do better. But with the right inventory reporting tools, you can do better than try, you can succeed!

2. Winners see through the Jedi mind-trick

The coolest Jedi trick is Obi-Wan using misdirection to escape detection from the Storm Troopers in the famous line, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Winners in business do not allow themselves to be fooled with the false suggestion that the inventory that hasn’t sold for years will someday soon be flying off the shelves. Winners quickly and accurately study their inventory and make wise decisions.

3. You’ve got to spend time in the swamp to learn to win

Luke Skywalker spent a lot of time in the swamp learning how to use the force. Managing your inventory well is a skill that is learned by taking classes, analyzing data, mentoring and of course… doing. It takes time in the swamp to be ready to make the right decisions.

4. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi — you’re my only hope

When Princess Leia is in trouble, she does what every winner does and asks for help. She knows exactly who to ask and does not hesitate. Apply the Princess Leia principle in your business — never be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

5. Fear is the path to the inventory dark side

If fear keeps one from taking positive actions to improve their inventory, he or she is embracing the dark side. While inventory decisions are often complex, I’ve seen complexity lead to an ongoing search for more reports, more analysis and more delay. When businesses lack tools that quickly give them accurate, actionable reports, they can get bogged down. Invest in the right tools that will calm your fears and help you to take positive actions.

6. There is always a bigger fish!

Always remember what Qui-Gon Jinn taught in “The Phantom Menace”; there’s always a bigger fish. Take time to rank and prioritize the problems in your inventory so you can address the “big fish” first.

7. Inventory forecasting; don’t listen to Han Solo

Yoda said, “Impossible to see, the future is.” Good inventory management involves trying to forecast your future demand.  There are tools that can help, but remember no forecast is 100 percent accurate. In Star Wars, C-3PO tells Han Solo, “Sir, the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three-thousand-seven hundred-twenty to one!” Han answers, “Never tell me the odds!” While forecasting is difficult, use tools that improve your odds of making the right decisions.

Winning takes passion, vision and dedication to whatever the cause. As a business leader, you constantly strive to do what is best! “The Force” in Star Wars is a gift within that helps lead and guide and each must decide what to do; become a Jedi (a true leader for right) or turn to the Dark Side (controlling for selfish gain). Use what is within you to make good and wise decisions for you and your business but remember to give and share with those around you. That kind of Force is unstoppable!

Star Wars is not the only movie that holds lessons in winning and leading your business well. What other movies have you learned from? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and may the Force be with you.

Eric Jensen is account executive at Cutwater Solutions, an inventory management software solutions provider.

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