| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:32 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:50 am 
Offline
BAD PASS
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:43 pm
Posts: 3119
Location: NW Indiana/Chicago
I've been puzzling over a way to do this for so long, for years really, and this morning I was like, "I should ask the PPK, as it is full of smarties."

Ooooohkay. So. The brewpub and the brewery are two separate companies, technically. I order merchandise, which is bought/owned by the brewpub. I work in the brewery, so the brewpub manager has "ownership" of the merchandise, meaning everything regarding it, other than web-sales, is his responsibility. There has never really been anything sent down from above or any kind of "this is how this is going to be done" or "you must do this" type of thing stated. We're a really small company and it's pretty much just been, "Okay, figure out how to do this without bothering us about it, and be able to provide sales numbers when asked."

We have tried numerous times to keep an accurate inventory, but we (or I) can't figure out how to do it. The brewpub store staff and I both pull from the same stock to sell. I have tried a sign-out sheet were I take it every morning and remove items from an inventory spreadsheet (But employees can't write legibly or be specific enough about what they took, and just write something like "skull" ...when our logo has a skull in it, so it's on pretty much all shirts). I have tried having the manager edit the spreadsheet with his merchandise sales report (he forgets, then eventually just stops doing it until inventory is so inaccurate it has to be re-done).

So yes, this is definitely something the pub manager should be aiming to correct, but it doesn't seem to be a priority for him. I am trying to get myself promoted/a substantial raise, so I am actually okay with figuring out how to fix this problem. I just...am running out of ideas and the ones I have are starting to get completely goofy. (For example: Have a jar with candy in front of each item that has the same number of pieces of candy as items in stock -- you take an item, you take a piece of candy! -- ughghghgh)

I just...I think I need a fresh pair of eyes/brain to look at this from a different perspective because I just am at a loss for how to keep an actual, accurate inventory of stuff multiple people pull from and is not bar-coded.

Anyone have experience with this or does anything I'm totally missing come to mind?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:13 am 
Offline
Dying from Nooch Lung
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:15 pm
Posts: 3237
I feel like people who actually have retail experience might have better tips, but what if you put like, a sticker (one of those dot stickers with different colors for different kinds of merch?) on each item and as someone removed items they had to put the stickers on a piece of paper by the door, one paper for pub and one paper for brewery?

Is that too much work for you?

Am I coming up with really weird ideas when retail businesses probably already have systems that work?

_________________
"No one with hair so soft and glossy could ever be bad at anything." - Tofulish


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:27 am 
Offline
TOTALLY CRADICAL
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:42 am
Posts: 7536
Location: Smugville, CA
Do you guys have an existing Point of Sale system that can be expanded to include inventory? I'm thinking of that one app that's on everyone's iPad now, but there's also Revel and a few others. That way the retail worker doesn't do anything beyond ringing up a sale but the inventory is automatically updated.

If you guys are just going off old fashioned cash registers, though, I can see how that might be a challenge.

_________________
"I get people straight up declaring "This isn't vegan" probably because it's not made of kale and tears." ~vixki
Sews Before Bros
Norton's Movie Maps


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:44 am 
Offline
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:21 pm
Posts: 1913
Location: Hamburg, Germany
I actually think the candy idea is far from being bad. Low tech can work really well, especially for people who don't have excel running all day as part of their job. In several of my projects, I have had to manage the assignment of tasks to members of a team, and what works best is post-its taped on a board: all incoming tasks start on the left of the board, every time someone takes on a task, they move the matching post-it under their name, and when they're done they move it to the right side of the board.

You could have an "in" tray with the correct amount of cardboard cards in front of each item (with the product reference on it, color coded, however you want to do it) and every time someone takes N products off the shelf, they have to move N cards to an "out" tray. By the end of the day you count what is in the out tray, or check which "in" trays are running low to reorder those. If you want to be fancy about it on your powerpoint to your bosses, in an office environment we call that Visual Management, and on a factory floor it's called Kanban cards (and it's a tenet of Lean production - are your bosses dazzled by buzzwords?) If you google both of these, you'll find lots of ways it has been done. Take it with the grain of salt that I don't know if running an inventory in a retail context means the same thing as in a production context.

To enforce your system though, you are probably going to need management support. I would estimate how much money you lose from disappearing items that you can't track right now, client complaints from not being able to order what they want when you didn't know a product wasn't in stock, over time spent on re-doing inventory...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:39 pm 
Offline
BAD PASS
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:43 pm
Posts: 3119
Location: NW Indiana/Chicago
strawberryrock wrote:
I feel like people who actually have retail experience might have better tips, but what if you put like, a sticker (one of those dot stickers with different colors for different kinds of merch?) on each item and as someone removed items they had to put the stickers on a piece of paper by the door, one paper for pub and one paper for brewery?

Is that too much work for you?

Am I coming up with really weird ideas when retail businesses probably already have systems that work?


This actually isn't a bad idea. Though I would always be suspicious someone didn't remember to take off the sticker. The merch-and-to-go-beer booth is one of the entry level positions here and it's had a high turnover both because it's really hard work so they quit, AND because the good workers get moved to higher positions. But that means there's a new person all the time, and I'm not their boss, so having to reiterate stuff to them is awkward. (Though I have chewed one or two of them out over the years. Whoops.)

But for sure the idea of something to represent the item, be it dots or candy, appeals to me so much because counting the actual item just stinks. It's all outside in a metal building that is blazing hot in the summer and freezing in the winter.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:43 pm 
Offline
BAD PASS
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:43 pm
Posts: 3119
Location: NW Indiana/Chicago
Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
Do you guys have an existing Point of Sale system that can be expanded to include inventory? I'm thinking of that one app that's on everyone's iPad now, but there's also Revel and a few others. That way the retail worker doesn't do anything beyond ringing up a sale but the inventory is automatically updated.

If you guys are just going off old fashioned cash registers, though, I can see how that might be a challenge.


The POS system does have the items in it, but it doesn't have an inventory feature, and there's no way to keep track of what I take out for web sales without ruining the real sales numbers (and I don't work with the POS at all, but I've bugged the manager about it and he and our boss agree that it wouldn't work for inventory).

They are really disappointed with the POS system they have, so hopefully when the finally get rid of it and upgrade, they'll get one that will keep inventory.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:48 pm 
Offline
BAD PASS
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:43 pm
Posts: 3119
Location: NW Indiana/Chicago
aelle wrote:
I actually think the candy idea is far from being bad. Low tech can work really well, especially for people who don't have excel running all day as part of their job. In several of my projects, I have had to manage the assignment of tasks to members of a team, and what works best is post-its taped on a board: all incoming tasks start on the left of the board, every time someone takes on a task, they move the matching post-it under their name, and when they're done they move it to the right side of the board.

You could have an "in" tray with the correct amount of cardboard cards in front of each item (with the product reference on it, color coded, however you want to do it) and every time someone takes N products off the shelf, they have to move N cards to an "out" tray. By the end of the day you count what is in the out tray, or check which "in" trays are running low to reorder those. If you want to be fancy about it on your powerpoint to your bosses, in an office environment we call that Visual Management, and on a factory floor it's called Kanban cards (and it's a tenet of Lean production - are your bosses dazzled by buzzwords?) If you google both of these, you'll find lots of ways it has been done. Take it with the grain of salt that I don't know if running an inventory in a retail context means the same thing as in a production context.

To enforce your system though, you are probably going to need management support. I would estimate how much money you lose from disappearing items that you can't track right now, client complaints from not being able to order what they want when you didn't know a product wasn't in stock, over time spent on re-doing inventory...


I'm going to think about this a lot, because I think I can figure out a way to make some kind of version of this work. There's nowhere for a board or trays -- it's all folded on wire shelves and what doesn't fit on the shelves is in boxes (it's a mess, really -- I hate the shelves. The big plastic bins with lids I used to use were way better) ...maybe something on the door or even somewhere for them to put the cards at their station.

I'm going to have to really get the manager on board to help, regardless of what I decide on.

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:05 pm 
Offline
Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:30 pm
Posts: 11545
I'm horrible at solving these types of problems, but use this massive amount of work you are required to take ownership over as leverage for your raise!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:36 pm 
Offline
Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:30 pm
Posts: 11545
BTW I think and you and your work stories every single day when I use my 3 Floyds bottle opener. So many people have tried to steal it at events but it always comes back to me.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Help me brainstorm? - keeping inventory at work
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:41 pm 
Offline
BAD PASS
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:43 pm
Posts: 3119
Location: NW Indiana/Chicago
Haha. I'm glad no one's stolen it!

For now I'm going with a "pull sheet" on this and I'll see how it goes. It's been three weeks since I asked the manager to start depleting his sales numbers from the google doc and he has not even touched it. We have full inventory listed of a thing that sold out already. The final straw was that the numbers he turned in for some band-beer merch we were asked to provide for royalties-related reasons were not correct and I had to try to figure out the problem by myself, because it's his day off.

With this pull sheet, I've taken him out of the equation, and am considering stuff that's not in the storage unit out of inventory. It seems to be the only way I can keep any sort of semblance of accuracy.

So I'm re-inventorying everything and making signs/labels for the shelves showing the name of each design so they write the correct thing down on the list. I ain't messin' around anymore.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer