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How Online Stock Control Helps Grocery Stores

Posted: April 06, 2020 by Ly Phan

How Online Stock Control Helps Grocery Stores

Though grocery stores may have faced unprecedented supply chain pressures through the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge has always been there. The high turnover of stock means supermarkets and other food retail businesses need to monitor and maintain inventory levels continually. One such solution is online stock control.

As a $670bn industry in the United States alone, grocery stores and supermarkets are a focal point of global supply chains. Whether it’s olives from Italy, beef from Argentina, or coffee from Kenya, there are substantial logistical operations in getting the products to the shelves. With the high turnover of stock, managers need to stay on top of inventory tracking and monitoring.

With the international nature of supply chains, any stock control system needs to be dynamic and accessible. One such option is to look to cloud technology, which offers a flexible and robust solution for grocery businesses.


Turning to the Cloud

For grocery stores, real-time visibility is essential. With such a high turnover of goods, managers need to keep track of inventory daily, ensuring a steady supply of stock. By using a cloud-based solution, such as SmartTurn’s inventory management software, companies will be able to retain greater stock control.

Effective Stock Control Starts With Organization

As technology continues to become an integral part of business operations, it can be easy to overlook the importance of the basics. Having an organized, efficient system is a critical building block to a successful grocery store. This involves the following:

  1. Understanding the layout: By understanding the plan of both the shopping and storage areas, staff will be able to locate, check, and pick items quickly. Whether your storage area is on-site or in a distribution center, businesses need to optimize the layout. For instance, placing perishable goods like meat and vegetables closest to the shipping area will ensure the speed of delivery, and therefore retain the quality for customers.
  2. Smooth supply chain: Maintaining seamless supply chains with different trading partners comes down to effective communication. The central component is setting clear expectations between both parties. For example, the grocery store needs to ensure the suppliers understand how much stock is required each week and can match that demand. Additionally, communication is critical during peaks and troughs, such as increasing the amount of turkey meat during the holiday season.
  3. A well-drilled team: For businesses of all sizes, having a well-trained and engaged team on the ground is a crucial element to success. From the larger distribution centers to the corner shop, it is the individuals working together in teams that drive operations forward. To make the best use of their talents, it’s important to have defined roles with clear objectives.
  4. Smart use of technology: Using technology such as online stock control systems has the potential to be hugely beneficial to businesses. The secret is to identify your needs and goals and find the right technology that can help you achieve them.

Bringing each element together provides a strong foundation for your grocery business to retain complete inventory control and move towards growth.


Applying Cloud-Based Technology

Once your business has an organized plan and structure in place, cloud-based technology can help take it to the next level. As well as real-time visibility, stock management software can also provide higher inventory accuracy, in-depth analytics, and a significant increase in productivity. 

The real-time visibility in SmartTurn’s inventory management software stems from its ability to process data and present it to workers on an easy-to-use platform. From a customizable dashboard, stock control teams can check levels quickly using barcode technology, which can easily be integrated with SmartTurn’s solution.

With that ability to process data, managers will be able to carry out stock audits far more quickly than with paper-based systems. In addition to speed, businesses can be assured of 99% inventory accuracy leading to efficiency savings of up to $15,000 a month. The powerful combination of accuracy and speed means workers have more time to carry out other tasks, such as order-fulfillment and ensuring the quality of stock.

Technology also enables the automation of the different elements of stock control, such as auditing, order fulfillment, and monitoring. For instance, managers can set a minimum level for specific products before an automated alert is issued and triggers workers restock as appropriate. This reduces the need for time-consuming manual audits and restocking.

The idea is to reduce human input in the stock control process, and allow technology to complete tasks quicker and with greater accuracy. As a result, teams have more time to focus on other elements of grocery store operations and be more productive - leading to higher profit margins.


Power of Data

Stock control documentation is an integral part of grocery store operations, allowing managers to track inventory as it goes through the store with ease. A key benefit of using inventory management software is the ability to record and save the information needed for complete inventory control. 

In doing so, the software allows managers to analyze trends and identify wastage, whether it’s through stock-outs or overstock. Stock-outs alone costs retailers up to $1trn a year globally, with a significant proportion being grocery stores.

However, it’s essential to understand the importance of overstock, particularly with perishable goods. Not only is 14% of food is wasted before it even gets to retail, but both retailers and customers also throw away billions of dollars worth of expired food every year. As well as the obvious environmental and societal costs, throwing away food is effectively the same as throwing away cash.

One survey suggests that using an effective stock control system which can lead to better waste management can generate up to $17 in extra revenue for every $1 spent. To achieve these numbers, managers need to take a proactive approach with technology and utilize the information to set up a series of automated processes.


Stock Control Leads to Profitability

Using a cloud-based solution, grocery stores will be able to place stock control at the heart of a series of integrated processes. These can include purchasing, receiving and putaway, and order fulfillment as well as stock audits. Technology allows each of these components to become automated and reduce the potential for human error. 

Grocery stores must stay on top of stock control, particularly in a competitive business with narrow margins. In reducing the potential for errors and maximizing efficiency, you can push your company ahead of your competitors by focusing on the basics - having just enough stock to meet demand. No more, no less.

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