by Grace Barone
There are quite a few things that you don't want to happen while you're running a business. One of them being inventory issues. If customers are the heart of a thriving business then inventory is the backbone. Its an awful feeling when you either have an overstock of items that don't sell or you're out of a popular item. Inventory issues cost businesses time and money. But keeping track of inventory is no easy task, especially if your business has multiple locations. Luckily modern POS systems have a variety of options for automated inventory management systems. These systems have proven themselves to be an incredible tool for business owners and their inventory management. I've done my research and put together the uses and benefits of automating your inventory.
Manual Inventory Management
Traditionally, inventory would be done by either inputting it into an excel spread sheet or manually writing everything down with pen and paper. The excel spreadsheet is a little better then scrawling your inventory in a notebook but neither are ideal. Manual inventory management can cause issues for business owners.
- Time-consuming: Manual inventory counting and tracking can take a lot of time, especially for companies with a lot of stock.
- Error-prone: Manual inventory counting is susceptible to human mistake, including wrong counts, product misplacements, and erroneous data entry. Overstocking, stock outs, and erroneous statistics might result from these mistakes.
- Lack of real-time data: Manual inventory tracking doesn't offer real-time data on inventory levels or movements, which can make it challenging for businesses to decide what to buy, how much to refill, or how to manage their inventory.
- Difficult tracking: Tracking inventory movement can be challenging when managing inventory manually. This might result in inaccurate inventory records when items are moved between locations.
- Restricted scalability: The scalability of manual inventory tracking may be restricted, making it challenging for businesses to manage inventory as they grow and expand.
What is an Automated Inventory Management System?
An automated inventory management system is a software solution that helps organizations in tracking and managing their inventory. It utilizes technology like barcode scanners, RFID (radio-frequency identification), and software. By providing real-time information on inventory levels, locations, and movements, this system enables businesses to decide when to refill and how much to order with complete knowledge. Automated inventory management systems can also assist businesses in streamlining the ordering and fulfillment processes. Minimizing surplus inventory, and lowering the likelihood of running out of stock.
Small businesses can benefit from having an automated inventory management system in a variety of ways;
By automating the inventory management procedure, time can be saved and the errors that come with keeping manual records can be decreased. This can assist businesses in avoiding costly overstocking or inventory shortages. Automating the process also eliminates the tedious task for employees or business owners.
Real-time data on inventory levels can be provided by an automated system, which aids businesses. in making educated decisions regarding purchases and refilling. Accuracy can be increased, and stock outs or overstocking can be avoided. By using the sales data, there's no guessing when deciding what needs to be repurchased and what should be let go.
Companies can cut costs related to excess inventory or stock outs by optimizing inventory levels. You can now be assured that the items you're purchasing are guaranteed to sell. No more wasting money on products that will end up sitting on the shelfs forever. The labor costs associated with manual inventory management can be decreased with the aid of an automated solution. Manually taking inventory may take a long time, business owners pay their employees to do that, and maybe even need to pay overtime. By automating your inventory management, you wont need to spend extra money on wages to compensate for the time it takes to complete the task.
Improved customer service:
More revenue and better customer service are both possible when the appropriate products are available when needed. Businesses can ensure they have the items clients require when using an automated system. Businesses must always be adapting to the everchanging needs of customers to be successful and gain loyal customers. Having products that aren't selling well or constantly running out of popular items kills the customer experience.
Options for Automating your Inventory
So, how can you automate your inventory at your business? All businesses have inventory. But different businesses have different inventory needs. For example, in a retail environment, the inventory is fairly simple. One item equals one record. You sell one pack of socks, your sock inventory goes down one. In a restaurant, its a little more complicated because one item is made up of multiple records. You sell one hamburger, your inventory goes down one patty, bun, piece of cheese etc. So, you should make sure your inventory management system can account for the nuances of your specific business.
One of easiest ways to automate your inventory is by having a Clover POS system. There is a wide variety of apps on the Clover app market that make great automated inventory management systems.
Stock by Seven Spaces
This app is great for both restaurants and retail. With this app you can; track product quantity and purchase orders, see the available quantity, expiration date, and sales history for each product. You can also use the app to,
- Monitor the current stock count of products
- Create and edit purchase orders,
- Receive purchase order by scanner
- Record adjustments for a product (ex. breakage, loss)
- Download various reports
- Track stock count by ingredients
- Manage vendors
- Reconcile stock count
- Reorder threshold and order guide
- Auto price adjustment by profit margin
- Make item unavailable once sold out
- Check availability at other stores
This works well in a restaurant because you are able to create "kits", whereby a merchant, for example, uses two slices of a tomato, one 6 oz beef patty, 1/8 of a pickle, 2 slices of onion. These kits can help a merchant track the "bulk" inventory that is purchased, but not necessarily sold to customers. Additional Stock capabilities allow a merchant to create notifications for low stock of items or bulk merchandise to assist in identifying reordering needs. Many reordering operations can be automated. PingMeIf is an additional useful app. PinfMeIf can be used to warn a merchant when an item is running low on stock and/or is being reordered. PingMeIf is a notification app that is triggered by specified POS action, and in this example, it is used to notify a merchant of inventory activity.
Inventory plus plus by CSI Works
This app is great for retail environments, especially convenience stores and gas stations. Inventory plus plus an add on that expands inventory object properties to accommodate for many things, including reporting requirements for Tobacco Scan Data program. Using this app, merchants can expand Clover inventory capabilities without braking Clover processes or apps. Using this app merchants now can split EBT items vs non EBT items to handle the EBT payments faster during checkout. This app is available for free to merchants who installed Tobacco Scan Data by CSI Works. The benefits of this app,
- Better inventory management process for Tobacco Merchants
- Inventory workflow automation for Tobacco Scan Data Program Altria, Reynolds, ITG
- Ability to add more fields to the inventory object for Tobacco Scan Data
Bottle Keeper will save businesses hours and hours every month. This app is ideal for bars, restaurants, vape stores, hair salons and liquor stores. Business owners can now know exactly how much liquid stock you have in your inventory. You can even input cocktail recipes and track the component liquor bottles stock. The app supports liters, milliliters, fluid ounces, cups, quarts, pints and gallons. It is also possible to map a crate or box of bottles to single bottles using the bottles unit.
Getting Automated Inventory Management Systems for Your Business
If you're in need of a new way to manage your inventory, VMS can help! We can get you set up with a Clover POS system and help you figure out what apps work best for your businesses needs! Head to getvms.com, call us at (888) 902-6227 or fill out the form below! Inventory doesn't need to be stressful or time consuming, implement automated inventory management systems to your businesses advantage.