Control and management of inventory are vital to most types of businesses but especially to supermarkets.
In the past, hand-written accounts were kept of inventory coming in and stock being sold.
Later, software packages became available to assist in inventory control although all data still needed to be entered manually into a computer.
These days, control of inventory in supermarkets has become far more advanced with the use of digital technology integrated with software packages.
This effectively and much more accurately manages and controls stock.
So how exactly does a supermarket manage its inventory and why is it so important to do this?
The basis of inventory control is keeping a record of stock that comes into the store and stock that leaves the store.
However, the process is a little more complicated than this.
Inventory that is kept in the supermarket warehouse, on the floor and in other areas of the store needs to be taken into account.
Over and above sales, goods that are damaged, broken or used for display or other reasons also need to be accounted for.
And then there is the issue of returns that also needs to be managed.
Software packages, as well as bar coding, has made all of these issues much simpler to control.
New stock that arrives in the stockroom is simply loaded onto a computer according to its bar code.
When inventory leaves the stockroom, the information is entered into the computer.
Information like where in the supermarket the stock has been placed and the use of the item (is it for sale, display purposes or to replace a returned item?) is also recorded.
Every time an item is sold, the information will be sent to a computer and the sale will be deducted from the inventory list.
In essence, the computer should, therefore, be able to tell you how much inventory there is of any one product.
It should also be able to tell you where it is in the store or stockroom at any given time and where it is located.
However, even computers are not 100% accurate all of the time. Issues like theft or items that are damaged or lost must also be taken into account.
Regular stock takes are therefore necessary to compare to the inventory that the computer has a record of, and the actual stock that is available.
Taking stock involves counting each and every item of each and every product that is available in the store manually.
The computer software package is then updated with the new information provided by the stock take.
Have you ever walked into a supermarket and the shelves are empty?
This rarely happens these days because the computer ensures that stock is always available for sale on the floor.
The computer informs the stock controller that a shelf is running low on a certain product and inventory is then issued to the floor.
Advanced inventory management software will also alert the stock controller of when new stock needs to be ordered and how much should be ordered.
This ensures that shelves are always well stocked and that the supermarket is running efficiently.
This can be a very complex function within a business but having the right tools and equipment available make the job that much easier and with a high level of accuracy.
If you need help managing your supermarket or grocery store inventory, then look no further than ASP Microcomputers.
We are the market leader when it comes to the development of customised and packaged solutions.
This includes Inventory Management, Portable Barcode Readers, Supply Chain Management, Time and Attendance and Asset Tracking to name but a few.
Please call us today on 03 9578 7600 or 1800 061 642 or contact us through our website