Mr. Miyagi’s Top 10 Inventory Management Tips

Mr. Miyagi is more than just a karate instructor – he is an inventory management genius! We’ve compiled 10 of his quotes from the 1984 film The Karate Kid and translated them to show how they relate to your business. Let’s learn the top 10 inventory management tips Mr. Miyagi wants every small and large business to know!

Miyagi: Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.

1. Translation: Companies that manage their inventory well can accomplish great things.

Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, Fishbowl Blog

Good inventory management might seem like a pipe dream, but if you can achieve it then other aspects of your business will fall into place. It leads to better customer service, lower expenses, and more manufacturing efficiency. Inventory management software is absolutely essential to make your dreams of success a reality.

Daniel: Yeah, but you knew karate.
Miyagi: Someone always know more.

2. Translation: There are better ways to manage your inventory.

Companies that have always done their inventory management by hand may not realize there’s a better way. Even if you can do inventory management well by hand, you have a disadvantage against competitors that do use it.

Also, as you grow, you’ll discover that your inventory management system gets more complex and so it takes more time to do inventory management by hand. You’re better off using inventory software like Fishbowl, which can grow with your company and offer more features as you need them.

Miyagi: Hai, can see. No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do.

3. Translation: To successfully use inventory management software, you must first learn how to use it.

If you don’t receive proper training, inventory management software can seem too hard to use. Luckily, Fishbowl is a good teacher. We offer plenty of online resources and in-person training opportunities for users. Be sure to watch Fishbowl’s training videos to find answers to your questions.

Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later [makes squish gesture] get squished just like grape. Here, karate same thing. Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” [makes squish gesture] just like grape. Understand?

4. Translation: It’s impossible to have good inventory management without putting forth effort.

With inventory management software, it’s all or nothing. Either it will be very helpful to your business or it won’t help much at all. It all depends on what you do. As long as you do your best to learn the software and keep it up to date with new orders and goods sold, you should be successful. Commit yourself to managing your inventory better day by day, even if it means being Miyagi’s servant for a week.

Miyagi: In Okinawa, all Miyagi know two things: fish and karate.

5. Translation: Inventory management helps you organize your supplies, but you need something else to protect them from thieves.

Mr. Miyagi is on to something here. In this case, fish represent the inventory your business orders and receives to meet customer demand. Karate represents the effort your business needs to make to protect your inventory. As we discussed earlier, you need more than inventory management software to stop theft. It’s not enough to get the right products to sell. You’ve got to you use your wits to keep thieves from stealing your valuable products.

Miyagi: Wax on... wax off. Wax on... wax off.

6. Translation: Doing the little things can pay off in ways you can’t see yet.

Mr. Miyagi and Daniel in the Karate Kid, Fishbowl Blog

The brilliance of The Karate Kid is that it shows that even if you don’t know why you’re doing something, you still reap a lot of benefits by just doing it. The brilliance of inventory software is that it shows you exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. With inventory management software, you know how much inventory you have on hand, how much you need to order and how to best organize it in your warehouse.

Miyagi: Up… down. All in the wrist.

7. Translation: Keep products from going bad by selling the oldest first.

To prevent products from spoiling or becoming obsolete, you should cycle through your inventory from oldest to newest. Put the oldest on top of the list of products to sell and work your way to the bottom. Reorder more products when you reach low levels, and repeat the process. Both sides of fence.

Daniel: Hey, where did these old cars come from?
Miyagi: Detroit.

8. Translation: Know where your products and supplies come from.

Okay, this one isn’t really advice; it’s more of an observation, but we can still learn from it. How much do you know about your suppliers? The more you know, the better. Know who and where your suppliers are, as well as how dependable they are. Do your homework and find multiple sources for your parts and products so that if something goes wrong you have a backup plan.

Miyagi: Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?

9. Translation: Balance is a big goal of inventory management.

Your goal should be to keep your inventory in equilibrium between the two extremes of too much and too little inventory. Too much leads to increased carrying costs, and too little leads to delays and unhappy customers. Inventory management software helps you find the balance. It applies to your whole business, helping everything run smoothly. Like after you finish sanding the floor.

Miyagi: [Daniel has just gotten his driver’s license and Miyagi has given him a car for his birthday] Just remember, license never replace eye, ear, and brain.

10. Translation: Inventory management software doesn’t replace the need for common sense and hard work.

Inventory management software is a powerful business tool. But it doesn’t make it easy or simple to balance your inventory, any more than a driver’s license makes it easy to stay out of collisions on a freeway. What inventory management software does is make it easier to manage your inventory by giving you the tools you need – like how obtaining a driver’s license gives you the driving skills you need to stay safe on the road.

You probably never realized Mr. Miyagi had so much to say on the subject of inventory management. Now that you know, you can apply this knowledge to your business. Get a free trial of Fishbowl to see how it can help you follow Mr. Miyagi’s advice, Daniel-san.

The photos of Mr. Miyagi are the copyright of Columbia Pictures, and are used here in accordance with fair-use copyright laws.