What is Digital Inventory? How a Digital Inventory System Can Lighten Your Workload

Inventory Management System | PAR Levels

Many business tasks used to take a significant amount of manual labor and mental load. Thanks to technology that allows for easy-to-use, straightforward automation, most of these tasks now take a fraction of the time, freeing up owners and managers to tackle more important business matters. Today we’re going to talk about digital inventory management software. Modern, cloud-based inventory systems like SynergySuite are not only affordable but also highly efficient at lightening your workload, and saving you money on food costs.

What is Digital Inventory Management?

Digital inventory management is a tech-enabled system that allows you to track and manage inventory in real-time with powerful, simple software, rather than resorting to the traditional, manual tracking of inventory on pen and paper. It usually involves a blend of software and hardware that makes it easy to keep tabs on how much food you have in stock, fulfill orders accurately and efficiently, forecast future changes in demand, and more.

What does Digital Inventory Management Do?

Digital inventory management systems have a few functions, including (but not limited to) efficient inventory management through cycle counting application, simplification of the purchasing process through unified inventory management and purchasing strategies, saves time and labor for more important tasks, and maximizes inventory accuracy through reduction of data entry errors.

Let’s talk about each of these functions now!

A Digital Inventory System Applies Cycle Inventory Counting

Inventory counting is vital to your restaurant’s success. Done wrong, your staff will be frustrated when they go to find something and it’s not there. Done right, you’ll save your staff from such headaches and keep your business operations running smoothly. 

When it comes to inventory counting, there are two types of counting: physical count (which entails checking each and every item in inventory manually) and cycle count (which entails counting just one portion of inventory over a set period. This can be done digitally or manually).

Since physical count goes over every item all at once, it’s usually a one-and-done process. Cycle counting, on the other hand, features a rotating list of select items that are all items will be counted. This count is organized and grouped by sections based on each item’s value over that predetermined cycle.

The most efficient way to conduct inventory management is through a system of cycle counting. This allows you to update records accurately and quickly (especially if done digitally), thus saving time and money on checking inventory levels. These should be scheduled regularly (if not daily). As for physical inventory count, it’s ideal to run these as an audit around once or twice a year to ensure that your inventory is truly accurate to the digital numbers. If you’re ever in doubt about inventory levels, you can always run a physical count.

While cycle inventory counting might sound challenging to do manually or even using a spreadsheet, it’s simple to do with inventory software. Inventory software easily and quickly categorizes all your items according to the parameters you set (and there are multiple ways of dividing the sections to be counted) and tells you which get counted when. Using this type of digital inventory system saves you time and boosts productivity.

A Digital Inventory Management System Simplifies Management and Purchasing 

Many businesses have exceptional managers on staff who have their own “system” for inventory management and purchasing. But those unique strategies are not always easy to carry out if they take vacation or leave for other employment.

A digital system, however, functions the same for everyone. What’s more, it’s easier to train other employees to carry out your unique purchasing and management strategies with software.

Once your inventory is entered into a digital inventory system, it’s simple to calculate depletion. Rather than relying on someone’s memory, which is a questionable method at best, you can compare current inventory to the most recent period. Through integration with a POS system, sales are compared to inventory depletion in real-time, flagging any potential concerns over loss through waste or theft.

It also makes purchasing a breeze because you know exactly what you have on hand and what you need to purchase to replenish your stock.

A Digital Inventory System Saves Labor Costs and Time

Traditional inventory management involved walking the entire building, sorting through and counting inventory on a paper that would eventually be transferred to a spreadsheet or computer software.

Digital inventory systems are usually accessible via wireless tablet or smartphone as well as on a computer. From time to time, you may need to physically look over inventory, but as a whole, time spent taking inventory is drastically reduced. For instance, a manager concerned about whether a certain item is stocked correctly can check that count from the device and eliminate wasted time spent running to the stockroom, which reduces labor costs.

The dated practice of transferring written data to a computer spreadsheet also disappears, as entry into the tablet allows that data to be shared throughout your restaurant’s entire network. That’s especially helpful for multi-unit operators.

Inventory software also guides you through the process in the quickest manner, completing the task in short order and leaving you more time to focus on staff and customers.

A Digital Inventory Management System Minimizes Data Entry Errors

When compared to traditional inventory management, which relies on handwritten accounting of inventory levels, digital inventory management, which relies on data entry on a tablet or smartphone, is far simpler and more reliable.

Errors or misunderstandings made from poor or illegible handwriting, erased entries, or mis-entry are greatly reduced with a wireless device. Any needed corrections will update across your system instantly. Furthermore, you can easily prevent unnecessary, costly frustrations in your business that occur when actual inventory levels don’t match recorded levels.

Finally, if you’ve moved certain items to a new temporary or even permanent location, it won’t matter as much given that the digital item record should show that location so you can manually check inventory levels as needed.

Verdict: Business Owners Need Digital Inventory Management

Inventory control has become easier than ever before thanks to modern digital solutions with real-time visibility, convenient access to and management of item records, and cutting edge software that enables instant digital inventory updates. The main benefit of digital inventory solutions is that it simplifies and clarifies the process for making key business decisions. This is mostly done through real-time tracking features, and if nothing else, you should be confident in moving from traditional methods to digital technology for this alone.

SynergySuite digital restaurant inventory software simplifies the running of any restaurant through a simple-to-use, easy-to-train system that updates automatically and in real-time to a back-office system and cloud database.

Make SynergySuite your digital inventory partner today and start the digital transformation your restaurant needs.

Leveraging Technology to Manage Restaurant Labor Costs Whitepaper cover image

Leverage Technology to Manage Restaurant Labor Costs

Between increased costs, labor shortages, and socio-economic complexities - staying on top of labor costs is more important than ever for franchise owners.

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