The traditional brick and mortar store is currently undergoing a role change in the retail ecosystem. These stores no longer just serve customers who come into the store to shop, they are now part of the fulfillment strategy for customers who never even enter the store. This additional responsibility makes it even more important for retail stores to have real-time visibility and accurate inventory. And with the push for improved customer service and lower inventories, having accurate inventory is critical for survival.
How do you not just survive, but thrive? One of the major problems NetSuite retail customers face with keeping inventory accurate is shrinkage. Shrinkage can occur in three areas: operational processes, employee theft and customer shoplifting. Most loss prevention programs emphasize preventing customer shoplifting, but in many cases the majority of inventory losses come from employee theft and operation processes.
This is where a Retail Inventory Management solutioncomes in, assisting in deterring and detecting shrinkage, as well as providing visibility that is needed to meet new fulfillment requirements, reduce costs and improve customer service.
With a barcoding solution, all inventory transactions are recorded in NetSuite in real-time and are marked with the employee and the time the transaction is performed. This provides a major deterrent to shrinkage since employees know every time they receive, move or adjust inventory, they are being held accountable.
This one is pretty simple -the less errors, the happy your customers will be. Since not even your best sales associate is perfect, a barcoding solution enforces discipline in your operation processes, which eliminates much of the paperwork errors. By scanning and correctly identifying product as it’s received, you can detect any inventory errors before your stock gets to the sales floor and affects customer service.
Reducing Counting Costs
Another problem retailers face is keeping inventory and costs down. By scanning item barcodes (instead of tracking with paper), inventory counting can be performed on a more regular basis. While this may not eliminate a full-store inventory, it will provide an accurate view quickly - and without hiring an outside company to perform the count. In addition, as an associate is performing the count, the manager can review it in NetSuite and identify any issues before it’s even finished, speeding up the reconciliation process as a result.
With RF-SMART, there are multiple ways to count items in a store, including cycle and physical count. Acycle countis the ability to count specific items on a regular basis. For example, you may have some high value items that you want to count once a month but other items less frequently, cycle counting provides you an easier method to schedule and perform these counts.
Cycle and physical counts can both be created in NetSuite for each store and will show each employee’s count for an item, as well as provide line item approval. Physical counts can also be approved using dollar limits, and a count can be created from the RF mobile device. In both counts, the appropriate adjustments are automatically created with audit references between the adjustment and the count records.
Identifying and controlling shrinkage, eliminating errors and reducing costs will not only will increase your profits, but it will assure you have the correct items for you customers and allow your operation to support Omni-Channel strategies like in store pickup. Most importantly, it will equip you to provide excellent customer service.
RF-SMART can assist in all these areas with not only a barcoding solution for your retail store but the operational knowledge of implementing a solution in your supply chain.
This is the fourth in a four-part guest blog series on NetSuite Best Practices. Our featured guest, George Gulliford, is the Director of Product Management at RF-SMART. With over 30 years of warehouse and logistics experience, George has assisted hundreds of companies in a variety of industries across the globe improve their operations.