Managing the stocktaking process is a critical part of your business. It allows you to regularly monitor and increase gross profit, reduce loss and waste, and improve control of allowances. Without it, you risk running out of stock, and that can be disastrous for petrol stations.
No matter how sophisticated (or not) your stocktaking process is, it can always be better. So, how can you improve it?
What Is Stocktaking?
Stocktaking is when you check and record all the inventory that your business currently has on hand- in this case, fuel and other products. It varies from business to business based on the size of operations and products sold.
The importance of (and disruption from) stocktakes to your service station depends on your current inventory system. If you have a periodic stocktaking system in place, your business is entirely reliant on the process and could require you to close for a day or have staff come in after hours to assist. If that’s the case, it could be very disruptive to your business.
However, the frequency of your stocktakes can be determined by your previous product-tracking accuracy, your reliance on accurate figures from your POS system, and how much disruption your petrol station can handle.
Tips for Better Stocktaking Management
The downside is that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” for business. However, there are plenty of ways to better manage your stocktaking process. Consider implementing the following methods:
Human error is inevitable, and manual counts are no exception. With stocktaking, there’s no room for error, especially as your business grows. Barcode scanning technology uses a quick scan with a laser reading device to detail all the information for a specific item.
While barcoding can be manual or automated, we recommend the latter. It reduces the risk for error by allowing you to quickly record stock levels and store large amounts of data at the same time.
An SKU or stock-keeping unit is attached to your stock (where applicable) that allows for both tracking the inventory and any attached labor, shipping and associated charges with the product’s sale.
SKUs also allow for quick inventory of units containing multiple products with individual bar codes. They’re typically used with wholesalers and distributors dealing in large quantities of products, so it’s worth considering for your petrol station.
Fuel Management Software
Inventory management software enables you to see stock levels updated in real-time, reducing your reliance on stocktakes for accurate information. Real-time information will help you keep track of the amount of fuel present in all your tanks, gather data after a set period so that you are up to date with how much fuel is left in your tanks, and when you need to make arrangements for refilling them.
In addition to real-time information, dedicated software can offer predictive analysis. You want to be able to take the information you have stored to forecast any purchases you’ll need to make for the future. This way, you’ll be able to plan ahead and avoid any disruptions in your business.
This one falls in line with human error minus the use of technology. We get distracted- it’s as simple as that. Phones and background noise can cause you to miss critical details, so doing your best to reduce the distractions will help you concentrate on the task at hand, helping you complete the process quickly and efficiently.
Most petrol station owners choose to do their stocktakes out side business hours rather than closing the business for the day. This reduces disruption to the business and ensures customers can still access products and services when they need them.
How ServoPro can help
We have a number of companies we work with who provide fuel management systems, professional stocktaking services, POS Systems with stock control built in and many more services and suppliers. Get in touch with us if you need help in these areas.