My Take on Inventory
As a trainer and project manager for over 20 years, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of professionals who dedicate themselves to the management of their inventory for the benefit of their organizations. What has struck me as most amazing is the difference in philosophy they adhered to in their daily work. For some, cash flow is king; others it’s maximizing shelf space and variety of product. Some facilities want to maintain vast quantities in reserve, and I know a few that want the shelves bare just before the delivery truck arrives.
In spite of the variations, I have found that automation has always increased the efficiency of the job. Because of this, I make a point of asking the inventory managers I meet questions that will hopefully make them think about their current workflow, and allow to best meet their needs. Here are a few of my favorites:
Are Your Storeroom Spaces Labelled To Maximize Access?
How much time are your team members spending putting away and pulling product? Are some products “drifting” around your storage locations without a true home? From a foodservice software automation perspective, greater efficiencies can be experienced when product locations are specific and follow the flow of the racks/shelves within the rooms.
Who are the True Product Experts in Your Organization and Should There Be More?
Too often there are too few product “gurus” within an organization. Sometimes it is because of the job responsibility structure and other times it is because some choose to covet that information for job security. After years with Computrition, our support department has received its fair share of panic-induced calls begging for assistance because the primary purchaser chose to finally take a two-week vacation. Automation goes a long way in creating an environment where inventory and purchasing knowledge can be shared to the betterment of the entire department.
Is the Volume Purchase Always the Best?
Purchasing in volume saves money…unless of course the container is not consistent with quantities normally required or the large packs compromise space for other needed items. It is always important to constantly reassess the needs of your current menu and compare it to your current product packaging.
Does Your Ordering Schedule Maximize the Shelf Space in Your Facility?
While ordering using foodservice software automation is an efficient process when done properly, it still takes valuable time. Are you ordering three times a week because that is what you have always done? Would ordering twice a week be more efficient for your team if your shelf space could be maximized and managed? Quite often I work with organizations that have become enchanted with the “ease” of ordering 4 or 5 times a week. The process of calculation is easier, but at what cost in daily time and effort? Use of foodservice software automation can make the calculation and execution of a fewer-ordering-days strategy effective.
I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my questions and observations. I hope to speak with some of you in the future.
Article by: Gordon Hein, Project Manager; Fusion, 2nd Quarter, 2015