Successful retail firearm operations have systems in place that allow consumers easy access to available inventory.
Managing inventory correctly can lead to increased gun store sales and reduced labor costs. It can also prevent dreaded stockouts and ATF compliance issues. Proper inventory management begins with clean, standardized data and the use of electronic purchase orders.
Here are three factors to consider when establishing retail firearm data standards and implementing electronic purchase order technology.
Firearm data establishes characteristics that are used in purchasing, inventory and compliance transactions. Rather than keeping firearm UPC data by hand and on paper, a modern Gun Store POS relies on “master data”. This is used throughout the business as a common source for every transaction.
Master Data begins with a common and unique identifier, the UPC, to hold information such as:
The UPC also holds ATF regulated characteristics :
Held in the “Master Data Tables”, this common source of truth becomes standardized information used for accurate electronic inventory processing, auto replenishment, firearm receiving and bound book recording.
With recent technology advancements, top Gun Store POS and Retail Management Systems permit the automatic replenishment of firearms and accessory inventories. The benefit is reduced in-store labor requirements that would otherwise be deployed for writing manual or electronic purchase orders; costing in excess of $1,000 per month for a small-to-mid sized retailer.
These powerful “Auto-order” tools use quantity thresholds (minimum / maximum) to generate electronic purchase orders and maintain optimal firearm inventory levels. The POS system’s ability to successfully and accurately manage a product supply is contingent on the gun shop POS knowing both on-hand quantity and the quantity of items in transit. Once min/max thresholds are properly set, system generated electronic purchase orders can be written and executed between the firearm dealer and vendor.
Electronic purchase orders provide many inventory accounting benefits. For example, rather than receiving firearms against a packing slip, electronic POs can be used to systematically reconcile in-bound quantities of firearms sent by a vendor. And, best-in-class Gun Store POS systems are able to receive “Advanced Shipment Notifications” (ASN), sent from firearm vendors to inform the firearm retailer that their order is in-bound to the store. Both features benefit retailers by increasing the accuracy of on-hand and in-transit firearm inventories.
Though it should be expected a shooting sports business will realize the benefits above, for many, additional gains may be attained when standardizing data and implementing electronic purchase orders. Ultimately, the purchase order is the conduit to improve accountability and accuracy of many of the functions and procedures within a gun store and, in turn, will capture the most accurate data possible. Data accuracy lends to better information. Better information leads to more informed decisions. Better decisions contribute to success and prosperity.
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