Managing a modern supermarket chain faces several complex challenges; how to improve security, how to apply pay and display machines, supply control, etc. In the following article, we will give you five tips to optimize a supply matter, the supermarket warehouse control.
Why is it important to improve inventory control?
Choosing an effective warehouse control system becomes strategic to increase supermarket earnings. Offering a fresh, inviting-looking product, just picked or prepared, on the shelf is essential to attract customers and encourage them to buy more. Here are five tips to better manage your product inventory.
1. Know customer preferences
The first way to optimize inventory management is to observe the tastes, habits and preferences of consumers. The data changes according to the type and size of the supermarket, for example if it is a neighborhood shop or is part of a large shopping center, if you are talking about a high, medium or low-end store.
2. Do not neglect the shelf life of the product
The minimum retention period of the goods at the time of delivery is established by contract between suppliers and supermarket management. Sometimes, however, this factor is overshadowed, and it is not considered that the sales dates may vary from one delivery to another.
However, it is a variable that can be controlled, based on previous experience and estimating forecasts. The best way to manage this aspect in an organized way is to insert the expectations of permanence of the product on the shelf in the ordering parameters present in the warehouse control/management system. For example, stocks can be better calculated by establishing a maximum value of the expected shelf life of a product, depending on its expiry date. Or set the system to be signaled when safety stocks go beyond a pre-established threshold. On the other hand, setting up a report that indicates when a certain quantity of goods exceeds a certain date and is approaching expiration can help highlight the products to be kept under control.
3. Consider the deterioration forecasts
The deterioration forecasts are useful for setting the supply parameters of the goods, but they can also be functional for calculating the supply based on data on the future perishability of the products. This can be translated by introducing batch level discounts for the goods that are about to expire, indicating the maximum consumption date. In this way, a high product availability is maintained, supplying the goods before they run out and with better control on the items that must be sold more quickly.
4. Manage the products individually and by categories
Many categories of perishable products are interchangeable with each other and the consumer can switch from choosing one item to another without thinking much about it. Fresh bread is a good example for observing this type of phenomenon.
5. Analyze the data daily
To get the right numbers, you need to start from low-level data. In this sense, it is useful to observe this example. A large supermarket chain offering a food department with high quality products, thanks to an alert set in the warehouse management software, noticed that there were unacceptable levels of deterioration of the meat in the fresh food counter. Analyzing the data, it turned out that the problem was with smaller shops outside the city center. The problem was mainly related to a rather expensive brand of meat. Calculating daily sales, forecasts and delivery schedules, a lack of synchronization was observed between supply and sales peaks of the goods: this type of product was purchased mainly on weekends, for family lunches or dinners, but its delivery to the supermarket usually took place on Monday. From Monday to Thursday, sales were poor and generated the deterioration of the batch of goods, which was thrown away, creating waste and lost profits. The problem was solved by reducing the supply of expensive meats from Monday to Thursday. The result was possible thanks to the software used by this supermarket, capable of providing data in real time.