nventory management is the process of arranging and managing your stock from the point at which you purchase it from a vendor to the point of sale. Inventory is one of the most important assets a c-store can have, and it has the potential to create higher turn-overs, increased efficiency as well as a large number of other amazing benefits.
However, with so many different inventory management options out there right now, it can be a little confusing to understand what you should be doing and where you should even start. Fortunately for most of us, gone are the days of humble pen and paper records or massed spreadsheets to track stock items. Instead, new inventory information systems and creative techniques are making it easier than ever for c-stores to manage retail inventory.
You may be asking yourself, why do I need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s with inventory in the first place? Yet, stock inventories have far-reaching effects on c-stores and retail businesses which should not be understated.
Let’s examine some inventory best practices you can employ to ensure that inventory management is empowering rather than damaging a c-store.
There are quite a number of high fidelity inventory systems currently in use – each with their own strong points. Point-of-sale options are one of the most popular as they automatically update inventory with each sale made.
As an example, Petrosoft’s SmartPOS touchscreen systems offer user-friendly operating structures with analytics, back-office features and foodservice options all integrated. Other beneficial features include safe drop enforcement, age-restricted sales validation and department sales time restrictions. Commenting on the SmartPOS, customer Jamie Patterson, President of Patterson Food Services Inc. says:
[SmartPOS] gives you a lot of flexibility and the ability to get in and get information easily. It’s easy to train your cashiers and the support you get from Petrosoft is wonderful.
Other popular inventory system methods include handheld barcode scanners that significantly reduce human time spent counting inventory and minimize human errors compared to the classic pen and paper inventory.
Equally, Back-Office Systems are popular with c-store retailers as they allow you to integrate inventory systems with the POS system you may currently have in place. Generally, no matter what you choose, it will certainly be an upgrade from the arduous pen and paper methods that seem so ancient to us now.
Inventory management is and will continue to be extremely important for c-stores, ensuring that retailers are optimizing inventory and its attendant investment. Without a systems approach to inventories, c-stores would surrender to disorganization, clutter and confusion, generally finding it difficult to understand the larger picture of which products are successful and which ones are not.
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Kerrie creates web content in a number of venues. He specializes in researching business and technology affairs and putting pen to paper.