A couple of months back, we shared a recent study discussing the staggering amount of sales forfeited by retailers due to out-of-stock products. Even for pharmacies with small front ends, sales lost because of empty shelves can be detrimental.
One of the major components to keeping inventory accurate is an active store recovery process. Depending on the size of your pharmacy, this might seem a little daunting at first, but if you take the time up front to build your active recovery program the right way with the right tools, you can take the first steps towards saying goodbye to out-of-stock concerns.
Getting Started: A few details to square away.
- Decide how you’ll order inventory – Replenishment, Min/Max or a combination of the two? Understanding how you’ll order product and having that process in place means that all the data you collect during the recovery process will be put to good use right away. Check out this article for more details on the different ordering processes.
- Divide the store into sections and make a schedule- In many cases, you won’t be able to recover an entire pharmacy in a single day. Maybe you won’t even get to all departments in a single week. Set reasonably sized sections and then make a schedule to rotate through each at least once a month. Check out your sales reports to see what products your top sellers are. Consider recovering those sections more frequently.
- Review transaction counts by date & time – Is there a time in your pharmacy that’s less busy than others? Even an hour block between the end of lunch rush and the beginning of the evening rush where you might need one less person at the register? This is a perfect time to assign staff to complete their recovery tasks.
- Get your tools ready to go – Make sure you understand how your inventory technology works. Get everything setup and schedule training for the appropriate staff members. This is especially important when using a handheld device to complete inventory counts, running a replenishment or min/max ordering program, or using integrated signs and labels programs. Understanding all the functionality can make your processes much easier.
Steps for Active Recovery: Important steps to complete during any store recovery process.
- Count what’s on the shelf- Automated ordering is great but it can’t account for every variable. Count the product on the shelf so that you know what’s there.
- Check for back stock – If you do happen to have any overstock, make sure to check for it so that you can fill up sold products, and so you don’t mistakenly alter inventory counts with inaccurate information. Remember, over-buying can be costly too!
- Verify the price in the system matches the price on the shelf- Mislabeled product can cause major frustration for customers and result in lost revenue. Double checking during recovery is quick and easy.
- Apply new labels as needed- Whether you uncover an error or are just applying the latest pricing updates, combining tasks can save valuable employee time.
- Clean & Face – Yup, time to eliminate dust bunnies, face all the product forward and pull it to the front of the shelf. That way it’s easy for customers to see what you have in stock.
Bringing it All together: So now you’ve done it all… So, what?
- Understand shrinkage – Having an accurate count of what’s in the pharmacy at any one time means that you’ll see discrepancies in as close to real time as possible. Do you have an issue with shrinkage? Or employee error? Now you have the data to understand it all.
- See accurate product movement – Seeing trends in your pharmacy starts with what’s moving off of the shelves and what’s not. Once you’ve accounted for other factors like shrinkage, you have a better grasp on important product movement.
- Keep the shelves stocked – Perhaps the most important of all. Store recovery is a critical piece of the inventory management puzzle. It can make or break how effectively your program works.
Ready to get started? RMS has the tools to help you implement and manage inventory control. From automated ordering and integrated shelf labels, to that handheld for inventory counting and all the reports you need.