It’s the first full week of 2008 and chances are you are holding inventory from 2007 and earlier. In some industries, this doesn’t matter all that much—electronics, for example, do have a shelf life, but in these cases we are talking about years.
Other manufacturing industries are more time-sensitive: apparel is a prime example. End-of-year sales move a lot of inventory off of shelves, but inevitably, there will still be odds and ends bearing the year “2007” — or something equally obsolete — somewhere on the item.
One of the risks of obsolete inventory is that it can fall in the hands of counterfeiters who re-mark, re-package or modify the item in some way and then pass it off as new. Here are a few ways you can manage obsolete inventory to your advantage:
Donate it: Many manufacturers of logoed sports apparel donate out-of-date items to charities that distribute goods to those in need. Major League Baseball, for example, teams up with World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian aid group, to save mislabeled clothing from the postseason for distribution in Africa. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1024/p01s07-ussc.html
Recycle it: If your product contains recyclable materials, find a dependable re-use center. Ask for some kind of acknowledgement that you use these services—it’s also good for public and customer relations.
Destroy it: If you must scrap obsolete inventory, make sure you enlist a trusted partner that will guarantee, in writing, product has been disposed of. This is particularly important if your product contains materials that can be recycled or are deemed hazardous to the environment.