Managing inventory is an ongoing process for school nutrition professionals – and it’s not exactly one that we look forward to. But, as discussed in a previous post, physical inventory counts are absolutely necessary to ensure that your operations run smoothly.
If you’re tired of spending a lot of time and effort with the old inventory management method – printing out count sheets, using the legendary ‘inventory clipboard’, etc. – maybe your district should consider implementing inventory scanning technology.
Utilizing inventory scanning technology speeds up the process of taking count of your inventory. Ditch the clipboard – carry your mobile device into your storage area, instead! As you’re scanning bar codes and conducting the physical count via the device, the information updates the information into your inventory database. This reduces the two-step process of writing down the physical inventory count, then returning to the office to enter the count on the computer. Use that time you saved to complete another task, or if the two-step method was causing you to work overtime – leave work on-time! Plus, with a scanner, you’re doing your part to ‘go green’ by opting out of printing count sheets. It’s a win for your program, and a win for the earth, too!
Reduce Human Error
Utilizing inventory scanning technology greatly reduces the possibility of making a mistake in your count. Imagine how much the slip of a finger – 50 vs 500 – could cause you in entering your inventory! A mistyped number could mean that you’ve got way less than you planned for – as in, you don’t have enough of an item to properly produce for your menu. Or, perhaps you didn’t type the right number, and now you have more than enough product – which can cause a problem with perishable items.
If you’re using an inventory scanning device, as soon as the delivery arrives to your site, you can bring the device directly to the delivery location. There, you can confirm receipt of items and update your inventory in real-time. If you become busy with another task, you won’t be bombarded with the task of updating the inventory later in the day, or worse, risk forgetting to update the inventory at all. It will all be “in the cloud” – giving you one less thing to worry about.
Kill Two Birds with One Stone
UPC codes are either scanned directly via scanning sleds or handheld Bluetooth-enabled scanners, and paired with a smartphone or tablet. Having a portable device like this on-site at your location presents an opportunity for a mobile POS system to offer concessions or “Breakfast After the Bell.” Allowing students to purchase food at times other than breakfast and lunch has the potential to improve their learning environment and increase their classroom productivity. After all, nobody likes a hangry student.
The Bluetooth-enabled scanner can also be used for more than just scanning UPC codes on boxes. If your district scans student IDs as they check out at the POS terminal, this device could be used for both processes.
Use That Grant Money!
Many schools receive grant money specifically for their school nutrition programs. Why not invest some of that money on cutting-edge technology that will make your inventory management processes much easier? Check out this free eBook to learn about other grants and resources you can take advantage of in your child nutrition operations.
Although inventory management may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Consider implementing inventory scanning technology into your school nutrition program to make your job a lot simpler!