As the shooting sports retail market becomes ever more competitive, finding the means to be cash flow positive while decreasing retail gun store expenses becomes imperative. For example, supply chain processes such as sourcing and purchasing are high priority areas that benefit from the use of technology and should be at forefront of consideration. Collectively, these two areas drive the replenishment of inventories, the execution of which has far reaching affects within a firearms retail business, particularly to profitability and growth.
Many analyses of inventory procurement processes show that the amount of effort put into the monitoring and sourcing of shooting sports products can be staggering and very expensive. For operations that employ inefficient manual – or semi-manual – inventory ordering processes, the amount of time allocated to identifying shortages and needs can reach upwards of 2-3 hours a day, not to mention the additional hours required to create and place orders.
Combing over reports of historic transactional information or – worse yet – painstakingly ‘walking the floor’ with a clipboard in search of empty pegs, as strategies to determine inventory needs, can prove to be very time consuming and may have additional unintended ramifications. Simply using gun store POS sales history as means of identifying needed inventory ignores the often-overlooked problems of overstocks and stock aging. Relying on historical retail sales numbers for ordering makes assumptions that current on hand product quantities are low (which may or may not be true) and never allows the shooting sports inventory to sell through or ‘turn over’ properly. Conversely, the tactic of using empty pegs to indicate needed stock proves to perpetuate a consequence of poor retail inventory management; lost gun store sales opportunities. By allowing items that are selling to be become completely depleted and unavailable to customers seeking to purchase them, creates a loss of potential revenue that greatly compounds the negative impact these methods have on the bottom line.
The good news is that many of these inventory management short falls can be solved by optimizing the gun store replenishment process through automation. Robust retail management software, such as AXIS RMS, offers firearms retailers the tools to automatically replenish inventory through system generated processes. By removing the laborious elements of manual ordering techniques and replacing them with technology assisted automation, a firearms retailer is able to employ much more sophisticated ‘just-in-time’ inventory practices. Using minimum and maximum quantity thresholds, lead times, and vendor preferences set by the retailer, applications such as AXIS Auto-Order™ will automatically and efficiently maintain inventory stock levels.
“We have heard that many retailers in the firearm industry spend upwards of twenty hours a week monitoring stock levels and sourcing products to replenish inventory,” said Matt Steckelberg, Product Manager, Retail Technology Group. “Despite the large investment of time and effort, the manual order process proves to be ineffective at maintaining consistent inventory levels, resulting in both stockouts and overstocks for the retailer. Automating the replenishment process with AXIS Auto-Order™ increases operational efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain by supporting a just-in-time inventory management method that benefits both the retailer and wholesaler.”
Developed to relieve the burden of procuring inventory, particularly in areas of the gun store that require routine monitoring and replenishment, leading “Auto-Order” technologies provide instant and meaningful results. Ordering smaller quantities, at a higher ordering frequency – made possible with automation – ensures shelves and pegs are never empty and all-but-eliminates lost sales occurrences. Additionally, maintaining smaller on-hand quantities can drastically reduce overstocks and inventory aging, further improving profitability and cash flow. Recaptured resources of time and money, realized through functionality provided by AXIS Auto-Order™, are available to be applied to other business areas, providing lift throughout the entire retail operation.
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