There’s no denying the important connection between retail sales and inventory. Most modern POS systems, especially cloud-based ones, have inventory management features for this very reason. The specifics will differ from one system to the next, but basically, your POS should make it possible to set up a product catalog that lists your items, their features, and their respective quantities.
To do this, most retailers need to enter product details manually or import them using a CSV file. In the latter case, they need a template from their POS vendor.
Advanced POS Inventory Management Features
One critical component is multi-store inventory management if you’re running more than one retail stores. The inventory management system should have centralized stock control capacity so you can manage products from more than one store from one platform.
Ideally, the POS system should enable you to generate reports for each store and transfer stock from one location to the next. It’s annoying to have to manage stores on separate systems, so make sure you can do everything from a single solution if you own a multi-outlet retail business (or you’re planning to expand).
Multi-channel retailers need the respective inventory management. If you sell both online and in a physical store, your sales and stock movements should be in sync across all your channels. Moreover, a good POS system will help you keep good financial records. If you have no idea what and how many products there are in your dry goods storage area or your cold storage area, then you can’t really tell if all the items listed on your menu (if you run a restaurant) are available to your customers.
Getting a handle on your inventory in the restaurant business is not a one-time thing. It is a process and is usually implemented in steps as such, usually made one after the other.
Inventory management is not an appealing notion, but you just cannot do without it.
Prepare Your Staff for the Inventory Routine
There are a few steps you need to take before you get a handle on your inventory regardless of what business you’re in. Successful entrepreneurs say that at least two staff members should be responsible for inventory management for it to run smoothly.
Apart from relying on your POS system, you should definitely install CCTV cameras in your pantry and in your cold room, as well as in your dry goods storage area.
A fool and his money are soon parted. Good financial records are like vehicle navigation – they keep you informed about your direction and speed. Without them, you’re moving without control. Good bookkeeping extends to good inventory control. All businesses need to manage inventory. The inventory is your money sitting on a shelf and accounts for a large portion of your business investment.
Just watching your shelves isn’t enough to maintain the right balance between likely demand and the right amount of merchandise. Without sufficient control, slow-moving inventory becomes dated and expensive.
Tune up your POS to Track Your Inventory
If you run a restaurant, make sure every single ingredient that goes into the food items on your menu is recorded. This way you can keep track of how much raw is stuff going in your pantry and your freezers and how much ready items you’re making out of it.
You might sell pork loins and beef steaks, but you’re buying whole pigs, copious amounts of milk and butter for your demi-glace, beef, and huge cans of cheese. Define minimum levels of each ingredient and link them to your suppliers. The POS will alert you if your place is running short of a particular stock item. It can do not only that – it can even generate a purchase order to restock, ready for you to sign. The system may even be able to call your supplier and buy food products for you.
Entering Menu Items – Made Easy
The next step is entering all of your menu items, since they are made out of the row products and foodstuffs that you stock up. Your POS can tell you really detailed stuff like how many eggs your cooks use for the omelets you serve at brunch every day and a lot of other things if you enter the items in this order.
A POS system not only manages inventory, but secures your store network. Without security, any inventory management system is entered useless. By making sure your card terminals, POS, and screens are positioned for maximum privacy, you’re keeping important information away from prying eyes. Use secure stands, cables, and shelves to prevent unauthorized removal. Mount your PIN pads securely on the counter and use locking stands to protect your equipment.
Run your POS activity on a separate network to keep it safe. Don’t use the same one the guest Wi-Fi is on. You should have your network data encrypted so traffic and activities aren’t visible to anyone else.
No two encryption standards are alike
When encrypting your network, always choose Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2 (WPA2) encryption because it is the newest and most secure standard in the industry. It makes you less vulnerable to attacks in comparison with encryptions like WPA and WEP because it strengthens your encryption by adding Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
If you want to get the full picture of your inventory, embrace the routine of manual stock taking. The amount of food loss and food waste is scary, especially (but not only) in the restaurant industry. Liquids get spilled by overwhelmed line cooks, leafy greens wilt, and meat and dairy products can get spoiled even in the freezer.
Industry experts recommend checking perishable items daily for quality. Count non-perishable items once every few days and always when your store or other venue is closed. If you’re going to be taking deliveries, make sure you’ve just completed a manual stock-take. This leads to a minimal risk of overstocking, a common cause of food waste.