Every warehouse is different and every company’s inventory is unique. Some inventory is perishable and other inventory has an indefinite shelf life. If you are in the beverage industry, there are a variety of ways to manage your inventory effectively.
Benefitting from a great inventory management system
Keeping tabs on your stock is an important part of running an efficient beverage warehouse. The beverage industry can be a constantly changing market. If you run a pub, there may be different types of seasonal beers coming through your shelves regularly. With high stock turnover rates and changing products, it is imperative to properly manage your inventory.
The benefits of effectively managing your beverage inventory are endless. Accurate tracking can help you plan re-ordering and recognise when stocks are low. Tracking is not only good for knowing tangible stock levels, but for financial purposes as well. With good inventory management you can identify where and how your inventory dollars are being utilised. In addition, you can analyse the cash value of stock, which is helpful for accounting and budgeting purposes. Tracking can also provide information on customer trends and help you with forecasting and future buying.
What’s the best for your business?
So what type of inventory management system is best for the beverage industry? Smaller facilities like bars and restaurants will want different systems than big beverage establishments.
Online inventory management software can facilitate keeping track of beverage stock. Like any system, it comes with pros and cons. Online inventory management provides a wide scope of tools to automate the stock taking process. For example, with barcodes and barcode scanners, beverages can be traced from the minute they enter the warehouse to the time they make it into the hands of the customer.
The online inventory management system keeps an electronic record of everything that is happening with the beverages. It can identify if stock is missing and provides real-time, up-to-date information of inventory levels. Online inventory management systems work well when you have stable menus and you are consistently ordering similar beverages. There is initial start-up time required as information needs to be entered into the system for each product, so if your products change constantly, it will take more time to enter information about each product. For bigger establishments, automated systems are more favourable as a result. In smaller and boutique outlets, that have a constant change in drink varieties, other options may make more sense.
If a completely automated system is not preferred, stock taking can be done by hand and should be done regularly throughout the year. However, some processes need to remain streamlined. Inventory worksheets should have consistent measurements and staff need to be trained. Try to do the stock take out of peak operating hours. Stock moves frequently during busy working hours and you don’t want to count items twice.
Honesty is a big topic when it comes to inventory. There is always human error that comes with a stock take, but there is also human dishonesty. Unfortunately, some employees might try to take advantage of this by under-reporting and removing product for their own benefit. They can fudge the numbers and it can end up costing the business a significant amount of money. Using staff to count inventory in departments they are not normally in charge of is one way to mitigate this problem. Supervision and security cameras are other options if you feel it is necessary.
Beverage inventory should be accounted for on a regular basis and conducted in a manner that suits your business best.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.