Inventory Management in Time of Pandemic

Different organizations have already adjusted most parts of their business strategy because of COVID-19. These organizations include counties that manage different departments such as police, fire stations, schools, and health units that have big roles in suppressing the spread of the pandemic.

County health departments play significant functions in making the everyday flow of COVID-19 response go smoothly. The management should make sure that there are personnel, devices, and equipment available at all times.

COVID-19 Response Common Problem

There has been success in flattening the curve and people are starting to go back to their normal lives. However, there are still government organizations in some counties that are still having trouble in responding to COVID.

What is the common problem aside from the lack of budget and unruly citizens? It would be managing the overwhelming resources and multiple locations they have. Failure to manage the essential supplies is a huge problem and having a lot of departments that have different vital roles is a real challenge.

What could have been done?

Relying on manual tracking of resources in this time of world problem is a no-no. How would organizations such as counties and other local governments keep up to fast-paced and fast-moving resources?

These days, items like vaccines, medical devices, and PPEs are very essential. So what could have been done by those counties and local governments who fail to flatten the curve because of messy inventory management?

Instead of doing the inventory monitoring manually, organizations should use an inventory management system that makes everything easier by automating things out.

How will inventory management systems help? 

With the overwhelming number of items that need to be monitored every single day, it is helpful to have these features at the tip of your fingers:

  • Eagle-view of the inventory
  • Drag and drop items
  • Search items in multiple locations
  • Activity history

Eagle-view of the inventory

When you operate an organization such as a county or any local government agency, you know that you are not just dealing with a single location. Everything that can hold an item is a location, as well as every department, are locations. Having a visual image that represents the actual location in the office is a great way to locate a single item in a ton and tons of products.

Drag and drop items

Instead of manually typing repetitive item names and locations on a spreadsheet, it would be more efficient to be able to drag and drop items between locations. It would save a lot of time and effort. 

Search items in multiple locations

There are several ways to search for a certain item or location in your inventory depending on what information you’d like to check.

Activity history

After a long day and a lot of movements happening on your inventory, there’s a way to check all the changes made. This information includes the item name, date and time, and the name of the user who made the change. This way everything is accounted for and will lessen missing items and the costs along with those.

Even just on regular days, managing everything in a single organization is already challenging. What more in the time of pandemic when everything and every cost need to be utilized efficiently because it’s not just another regular day that we need to get by. It’s a matter of life and death of all the citizens and brave front-liners who rely on good organization management.

Summary

The use of traditional inventory management is never the best way to respond to any emergency especially when an organization has to manage a diverse and a countless number of products and locations. Having an inventory management system will help you with everything–viewing the item location at a single glance, transferring products in just a few clicks, searching items in your inventory in different ways, and having access to every change made in the inventory.

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 a bad experience just because their room had no shampoo or soap, do we?

Hotel inventory can be divided into two categories, namely primary and secondary inventory. Primary inventory refer to rooms that generate revenue and the Secondary inventory covers other important things such as complimentary items and supplies for each room, restaurant, gift shop, and cleaning service.

Primary inventory can be monitored by keeping an eye on how many rooms are available for booking and rooms that are currently occupied. Secondary inventory is just as important as Primary inventory, but it’s more complex to monitor, especially if the hotel offers extended amenities such as restaurants and gift shops.

What is Inventory Visibility and how does it help hotels in managing their secondary inventory?

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

  • Efficient use of your time
  • Improved 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, imagine having the ability to see the actual location of the item 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 in keeping track of moving items such as bedsheets, linens, blankets, and other items. This will also effectively reduce loss and theft and it will allow you 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 it can help you cut on cost. This inventory map can be managed and monitored by a single person only, and it can be done in the comfort of your office or home. This eliminates the need to check the actual locations, thus significantly reducing the number of people required to manage the inventory.

Improves forecasting and allocation of resources

Being able to access the records of the hotel inventory at any given time will allow you to see where and how the supplies are moving, it will also allow you to easily see the purchasing behavior of your guests. This ability will help you predict the number of certain supplies each department would need, which would ultimately prevent you from overstocking or understocking your supplies.

This cost-efficient method will give you more funds to use on improving other aspects of your business and help you achieve your strategic goals.

Summary

The primary inventory of hotels is very essential because it generates the revenue, while the secondary inventory supports the flow of the business, which makes it just as important. 

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 they keep coming back to. It’s usually because they would always find their favorite products there or they just simply love the décor or the employees. Imagine a store with hundreds or thousands of products available, how would they manage their inventory? The traditional way of managing inventory via spreadsheets may no longer be effective. Messy inventory data leads to mistakes in decision-making. 
 

With the use of an intuitive inventory management system, I reimagined the layout of my favorite store. This software offers an incredible mapping feature and here’s how it can help the store 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 spend right away, they offer a free trial, and it’s usually enough for you to explore everything that the software offers. 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. When creating locations, it would be a good idea not to limit ourselves to the interior of the store, we can also create other locations such as manufacturing sites, warehouses, and even vehicles, 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 available for use but we can add more fields in the ‘Custom Fields’ section in the settings page. 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 a location changes when you put products inside it.
  • In the ‘Map’ tab – select the location and click the check-in icon which is the green forward button. Select a product and change its quantity according to the amount you want to check in. 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 this 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 you can be smart and make use of a software.

Assess the Current Stock

The next thing to do is to evaluate 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 are usually the most important parts to look out for, yet people usually neglect these when managing the inventory in laboratories. Storing products in a way that allows you to locate them among hundreds of other items can be challenging – especially when you have multiple locations.

Barcoding

The easiest way to assign products to locations is by using barcodes. You can assign barcodes to different areas of your storage such as bins, cabinets, rooms, and even vehicles.

  • when stocking products, you can create a barcode for each item and scan them to their designated locations.
  • when removing products, just scan them out and they will automatically be removed from your inventory.

Inventory Mapping

Barcoding is very useful and intuitive when assigning different products to different locations, and locating those products. But what is the best way to find certain products or items within your laboratory in just one glance? It’s by looking through a visual map with graphical representations of the actual locations in your lab.

  • by zooming into a specific location, you will see its contents.
  • by selecting an item or product, you will its details and 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 accurate and synchronized data from different 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 adaptable. 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.

Screenshot 2019-05-20 at 10.30.42 AM

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!

odometer

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.

thumbnail_map

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

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)

%d bloggers like this: