Managing Hotel Inventories

Hotel inventory is one of the things we’re trying to perfect when it comes to hotel management. We don’t want our guests to have bad experiences because of a lack of complimentary items, do we?

Hotel inventory can be divided into two categories, these are primary and secondary inventory. Primary inventory is those rooms that generate the revenue and the  Secondary inventory covers other important things such as complimentary items and supplies for each room, supplies for restaurants, gift shops, and cleaning services.

Primary inventory can be monitored by keeping an eye on how many rooms are available for booking and rooms that are currently occupied. Same as the primary inventory, secondary inventory is also significant but this is more complex to monitor especially when the hotel offers extended amenities such as restaurants and gift shops.

What is Inventory Visibility and how it helps hotels in keeping control of the secondary inventory?

Inventory visibility is being able to track your inventories in real-time and knowing where everything is located at any given moment. Having the visibility has some perks you’ll enjoy:

  • you can use your time efficiently
  • it will improve forecasting and allocation of resources

Efficient use of time

Manual tracking of inventory is a long and tedious process. It takes time and can cost you a lot especially when you have multiple locations and your items are moving a lot. Being able to find an item and knowing its location in just a few clicks saves a lot of time, what more if you can see the actual location of the items you’re looking for?

Inventory Map is a new approach under inventory visibility. This is when you have a map, a visual representation of all locations in your warehouse or storage. This helps hotels to keep track of moving items such as bedsheets, linens, and blankets, to lessen the loss and theft, to monitor demanding products for different seasons, to forecast the need for room supplies, cleaning materials, products in the gift shop, and many more.

Another advantage of having inventory visibility is that you can cut on cost. Using inventory map, it allows a single person to monitor and manage the inventory in the comfort of your office or even at home. There’s no need to go to the actual storage and different departments to check and monitor the items that usually requires more people to complete.

Improves forecasting and allocation of resources

When the hotel inventory record is available at any given time, you will see the trend of how the supplies are moving from one place to another and the trend of the guests purchasing behavior. This way, you can improve the predictability of the needed supplies for each department in the hotel and lessen costs in overstocking/understocking. 

The costs saving on efficient forecasting can be allocated to other aspects of the business that can help you achieve your strategic goals. 

Summary

The primary inventory of hotels is very essential because it is the one that generates the revenue. The secondary inventory of hotels is as important as this supports the flow of the business. 

The new approach of having a map for inventory visibility avoids overstocking, understocking, and customers’ negative experiences by improving the predictability and allocation of resources. 

As a hotel inventory officer, have you ever experienced problems with missing items because of unattended custodial carts?

Inventory Visualization for a Cosmetics Store

Every customer has that one makeup store that they love. Usually, because they always find their favorite product or they just simply love the decor or the employees. Imagine a store with hundreds or thousands of products available, how do they manage the availability and the quantities? The traditional ‘spreadsheet’ inventory management may no longer be effective. Messy inventory data leads to mistakes in decision-making. 
 

There’s this one store that I really like and here’s how I imagine the store layout and how an inventory management system that overcame the excel sheets and offers this incredible mapping feature can help them with their inventory management:

Setting up the store map

First, we need to create an account for the inventory management software. If you are hesitant to purchase right away, you can use the free trial which is usually enough for you to explore everything that they offer. Follow the prompts to complete the setup.

The Map

After setting up the account and name of the store, we can proceed to create the layout of the map based on the actual locations of isles, storage, and displays in the store.

Creating Locations

Here I created some of the most noticeable sections in the store. Most stores have their products categorized and displayed in different isles and sections. Creating locations does not necessarily mean it’s all inside the stores, we can also create other locations such as manufacturing sites, vehicles, and warehouses depending on how extended the business is.

To add a sub-location for the Dream Shade location, we need to click on the yellow button with a plus sign.

If you prefer a new main location, click the yellow button at the bottom-right corner of the screen

Creating Products

After creating a map layout of the store, let’s create some products for the product catalog. The catalog will record all the products available in the store.

Proceed to the ‘Products’ tab on the map and click the green button with a plus sign.

A window will pop up. Fill out the details as needed on the fields. There are default fields that are available for use but we can add more fields in the ‘Customer Fields’ in the settings. Click the ‘Check’ icon, then save.

Adding a product to a location

  • In the ‘Products’ tab – select the item you want to place into a location. A window like the one in the picture below will appear. Click the location, change the quantity, then hit ‘enter’. The color of the location changes when you put products into a location.
  • In the ‘Map’ tab – select the location and click the check-in icon which is the green forward button. Select a product and change the quantity you want to put into the location. Click ‘select’. We can leave a comment such as a vendor name, batch number, or the reason for the transaction. This can help us filter out information that the store may require in the future. 

Awesome Features

After setting up the map, filling in some products into the catalog, and placing products into locations, the store can proceed to the day-to-day operations. We did not make all these efforts without knowing how software can help our favorite cosmetic store in managing their inventory.  There’s a lot of features available but we will focus on the most important ones.

  • Collect data remotely
  • Drag and drop transfer
  • Bird’s-eye view of inventory
  • Barcoding

Conclusion

Cosmetic items are products that customers can’t wait to use and this means delayed deliveries and stockouts can damage the business’ image. One bad order experience can cause negative feedback that can push away your potential buyers. Having a reliable inventory management system with inventory visibility, an easy way to transfer products, an option for barcoding, and an option to access your data remotely can help businesses avoid such problems.

Managing the Inventory and Equipment in Your Medical Laboratory

In a medical lab, keeping an accurate record of inventory items (supplies and equipment), their quantity, and location will ensure that things run smoothly and can prevent expensive mistakes. Some tips below will help you out!

Take Stock of Everything

Whether starting a new laboratory or just simply working to improve the inventory process, you need to take stock of everything to make sure every lab item is accounted for. You can do this the old-fashioned way using a pen & paper/spreadsheet or with software.

Assess the Current Stock

The next thing to do is evaluating which products are being used daily, in surplus, out of date, or expired, and locations where you lack items. This will help you in setting inventory thresholds and prevent stockouts in your lab.

Product Location and Assignment

Product location and assignment is usually the most important but most neglected parts of laboratory inventory management. Storing products in a way so that you can easily locate them later among hundreds of other items is sometimes a real challenge – especially when you have multiple locations.

Barcoding

To assign products to locations, the common way is to use barcoding. You can place a barcode location assignment on areas of your storage such as bins, cabinets, rooms, and even vehicles.

  • when stocking products, you can create a barcode for each item and scanned it to its designated location 
  • when removing products, it is scanned out and will automatically be removed from your inventory.

Inventory Mapping

Barcoding wins in terms of assigning products to locations and sometimes locating products. But what is the best way to look for a certain item in your laboratory in just a glance? It’s to look in a visual map of your inventory with a graphical representation of the actual location in your lab.

  • by zooming into a location, you will see the contents of that location.
  • by selecting an item, you will see the product details and its locations across your inventory map.

Multiple Locations

When you have multiple labs or have a mobile on the go, it’s best to have a system that can help you get more accurate and synchronized data in all locations. Being able to transfer products just by dragging and dropping between locations is a plus and a great way to save time and effort. 

Summary

Challenges in managing a lab inventory are inevitable. What we need is to be smart and don’t stick to the things that we’re used to. The old-fashioned way of maintaining your inventory is still a thing but no longer that effective. Inventory Mapping is a brilliant thing that we never thought we needed. 

How about you, how do you maintain control of your inventory?

Inventory Concerns When Buying and Selling a Business

Inventory has the potential to be a point of contention when buying and selling a business. Taking inventory is an essential component of completing a transaction of this magnitude. However, there is the potential for the inventory count to prove divisive between the buyer and seller. If you sense there will be an argument about inventory counts or valuation, it might be best to rely on an outside party like an inventory management software to perform the inventory on your behalf. Otherwise, you run the risk of having the deal fall through simply because trust is lost over inventory count and/or quality.

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How Much is the Inventory Worth?

If you do not know how much your inventory is worth or whether your inventory valuation is accurate, it will be a point of conflict with prospective buyers. Sales agreements often specify dollar values for inventory as well as stationary property, intangible assets and equipment. The buyer might question whether the current inventory valuation is accurate. As noted above, the better course of action might be leaning on an unbiased, completely objective third-party to perform inventory counts and valuation to ensure accuracy.

Inventory Changes After the Count

Inventory is likely to change between the point at which it is counted and the actual sale date. If there is less inventory or more inventory than estimated, either the buyer or seller will feel as though an injustice has occurred. Adjust the closing price as necessary to reflect alterations in inventory and the deal will prove mutually beneficial.

Be Careful When Selecting an Inventory Counter

If you decide it is prudent to let an objective third-party inventory specialist perform the count, do not hire any old business for this important project. Ideally, the business buyer and seller will agree on an inventory specialist to perform the count. The inventory counter selected should be licensed by the state and have years of industry experience.  This company should have a database, the latest inventory counting technology and a track record of success.

What Happens if the Inventory is Higher Than Expected?

If it turns out the inventory is more than expected, the buyer can request for the inventory to be reduced. The other option is for the buyer to ask the seller to eat the cost of excess inventory. Plenty of sellers are willing to provide slightly more inventory than anticipated to grease the wheels of business and keep the deal moving along as planned. It is also possible for inventory to be high due to the inclusion of obsolete inventory. If inventory is no longer useful or egregiously slow to sell, the seller will be pressured to discount part of the current stocks.

Strive for a Mutually Beneficial Solution

Contention over inventory prior to the point of a business’s sale should not be a deal-breaker. The buyer and seller should be able to reach common ground without the deal falling apart. If each side is willing to budge a little bit on the issue of inventory counts and valuation, the sale can move forward, proving mutually beneficial to both sides.

 

About the Author:

Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell a business so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.

1000 times more powerful!

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Users who have been managing thousands of products using CyberStockroom probably noticed something huge over the past couple of weeks. Usually searching through a large number of products can be slow and sluggish. It’s often hard to find the exact products you’re looking for and very large inventories can slow down the software’s performance.

These are now problems of the past. Over the holidays, we rolled out an important update that allows our users to easily manage and search through MILLIONS of products without any performance decrease.

How did we manage to do this? It all has to do with the API that we will be releasing in the next few months. We built our API to be so fast and efficient that we decided to use it to run part of our website. The change in performance was dramatic and we decided to run most of the intensive inventory functions through the API as well.

Meet the Map!

Today I am proud to announce a tool that will be of tremendous help to small business owners everywhere:

1 min Explainer Video

For years, at CyberStockroom, we’ve known that inventory management is a pain in the neck. So much so that we’ve often given people who have to count inventory the chance to vent.

But since we can’t do away without inventory management, we’ve developed the next best thing! By creating a map of your business, CyberStockroom empowers you to manipulate your inventory products in ways that have never been possible before.

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You can now transfer products between locations just by dragging and dropping directly from the map. You can also see the products in any of the locations and navigate quickly from place to place.

The best part is that the map is fully customizable! Each business is unique and it’s up to you to build your map to reflect that.

I’m very excited to see the New CyberStockroom in action with our clients old and new and to hear your comments and suggestions about how we can continue to serve the small business community for years to come.

Emad Hanna
CEO, CyberStockroom

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Why Our Company Twitter Account is Full of Profanities

So it’s been over a month since we put our finger on the pulse of enraged inventory-counting employees all over the world.  Let me remind you what we did. We sell inventory software (cyberstockroom.com) and over time it became more and more clear to us that people really HATE to count inventory and generally avoid it like the plague. Well this naturally peaked our curiosity and we started working on solutions to make counting easier. But at the same time we wanted to have some fun with the sheer volume of anger and hate that we found online so we created a Twitter account (@InventoryRAGE) and we started to ReTweet as many angry inventory-counting Tweets as we could.

It turns out that there are WAY more tweets than we could handle and we didn’t really want to spend the entire day ReTweeting. So far, our incomplete list includes almost 1000 very angry tweets that we have often found to be witty, profane and sometimes very creative. Here are my personal top 5 favorites tweets:

So what are we to do with all this juicy hatered? Well, we had some ideas. First We created some word clouds which we shared with you on Part 1 of this post. We also created a collage of some of the tweets – I really think that every stockroom should put up one of these to cheer up the employees:

Inventory Sucks Poster for a Happier Work Environment.

After that we just wanted to keep going. We thought it would be a good idea to give these brave warriors a uniform so we made some t-shirts (Available Here)

Inventory Sucks - Classy Apparel
Inventory Sucks – Classy Apparel

But Something was still missing. Were we ready to tap this raw vein of vitriol and come out to the world and admit that these people were correct? That even though we are an inventory management company we agree that inventory does, in fact, really really suck? Yes. So we turned our marketing on its head. Our new Slogan is now “Inventory Sucks“. We’ve changed our homepage (our professional face to the business world) to reflect more accurately what we are about. Here it is:

Our New Homepage (cyberstockroom.com)
Our New Homepage (cyberstockroom.com)

How Inventory Management Can Make or Break a Small Business

Oftentimes, small business owners tend to focus on generating revenue, hard-to-please customers, personnel issues and raising financing. Unfortunately, many overlook one of the most important aspects of keeping a small business organized: inventory management. Your inventory strategy directly affects your business’ profit margin. When you have inventory that’s not being sold, your profit margin decreases, and vice versa. Using an inventory management system can help you keep track and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Why do I need Inventory Management?

 

Out of stock items lead to loss of sales and revenue

If an item is out of stock, you may not realize it if you’re not keeping track of your inventory with system that allows you to update your product information as you make sales. Waiting until after a purchase to notify a customer that his or her item of interest is out of stock is not a good business practice, and it often leads to unhappy customers who will be unwilling to return to your business in the future.

 

Overstocked items lead to wasted money

In order to run a successful business, one must learn how to order merchandise according to demand. If you are housing an excessive amount of a product that isn’t selling, you’re wasting storage space as well as money.

 

Identify issues before they become insurmountable

If it takes you months to recognize that there is a problem with your inventory, what may have been a small problem in the beginning has likely snowballed into a much larger issue. This means that your company may lose a substantial amount of money due to mistakes that may have been preventable if caught in a timely manner. For example, if one of your employees makes a mistake on a sales order, it is very important that you find out sooner rather than later.

 

Customer service

If you’ve been in business for very long, you’ve likely already received calls from customers complaining that they received the wrong product or the wrong amount of a certain product. It happens to the best of us, but if you are tracking your inventory, this mistake will be much simpler to fix. Accurate and timely communication with customers is of great importance in any successful business. Happy customers lead to increased sales, and increased sales lead to increased revenue.

 

Minimize theft

No matter how trustworthy you believe your employees to be, they will be much less likely to try anything sneaky when times get tough if they know that you are keeping a close watch on your merchandise. If you leave room for error, you leave room for theft.

 

When searching for an inventory management system that fits your business’ needs, be sure to pay close attention to the areas of most importance, which include: SKU recognition services, purchase orders, user friendly importing features, online POS services, visualization, customization abilities and website integration. Check out www.cyberstockroom.com to learn more about an inventory management system that includes these features and more!

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