Looking back at recent years in the hospitality sector, advancements in technology have come thick and fast, but we urge caution if you are considering adopting technology that claims to solve all your business’ problems. In some critical respects, such systems can actually be a step backwards. We will take you through 3 important reasons why you should choose the independent stocktaker over buying stocktaking software.
In the recent years, stock control operations have moved towards tablets and mobile devices, as a growing number of stocktakes are recorded on advanced electronic point of sale systems (EPoS) and procurement platforms. These modern business systems help to bring together information from all operational areas, providing one single platform for running your business: from back office to kitchen to front of house.
They are certainly the simple and convenient way forward. And they all claim to save you time and money. It really is not hard to see why such systems are proving increasingly popular. Efficiency is the name of the game; so as companies look to streamline operations, these solutions can make good business sense.
An excellent example of what one of these comprehensive systems might include in terms of features is: back office management, purchasing, inventory and recipe control, payments, accounts, data management and compliance. A whole lot of valuable data, all helpfully gathered together in one location!
But any system is only as good as the data that is plugged into it. Here “Gigo” (garbage in, garbage out), is a term more relevant than ever. That shiny new SaaS (software as a service) procurement platform you install into your pub, restaurant or hotel business will potentially give you the means to take your stock control in-house. An often claimed benefit of this is that it will save you a fair amount of money because it eliminates the need for traditional independent stocktakes, amongst other things. But buyer beware, doing so means you’ll typically end up relying on an assistant manager or bar staff employee to maintain your stock control.
And it is exactly this concept that leads us to say that without an independent stocktaker your business could be losing serious money in the long run! We would even go as far as to say that you would simply be wiser to choose the independent stocktaker over stocktaking software in the first place. The increasing role of technology in stock control means the role of the independent stocktaker is more important than ever. “Of course you would say that, business with us is your bread and butter”, we hear you cry! Well, actually there are some pretty important reasons underlying these very bold statements. So bear with us as we take you through our top 3 reasons:
1. Objectivity – The independent stocktaker can identify staff misdemeanours, which is one of the most common causes for loss of revenue at any given venue.
Your initial thoughts on appointing internal staff for the role of stocktaking might be really positive. They know your venue like the back of their hand. They keep a close eye on what is ordered in. And, as mentioned before, they do not cost as much as hiring a stocktaker. But the key question you should ask yourself is: can you really trust them?
Ok, so we admit that it is rather harsh of us to make you question the loyalty of your staff. And please do not misunderstand us, there truly are some amazing, hard working and trustworthy hospitality professionals out there. But the reality is that our own data reports that up to 90% of the losses a pub records on any given stock period happens as a direct result of your bar staff. Think ‘short ring’, ‘phantom register’, ‘short pour’, ‘kick-backs’, ‘free drinks’ plus countless more! So handing over the control of your stock, and ultimately your revenue streams to internal stakeholders using SaaS stock control systems may not prove to be so advantageous.
Imagine this: the night before the stocktake your assistant manager and his mates have ‘borrowed’ a case of beer for their last minute BBQ. The next day he comes in and is responsible for your monthly stocktake. He simply adds the case of beer onto his count list to account for the missing case and then proceeds with the stock take. You wouldn’t know anything was even missing. If these types of scenarios happen often enough you will soon find your venue losing significant amounts of money and having no idea where to begin in terms of finding the root of the problem.
2. Efficiency and Accuracy – Independent stocktakers will carry out a more efficient and accurate service than internal staff who are inexperienced in the stocktaking process.
This seems like quite an obvious and self-explanatory reason, but allow us to expand a little bit on this.
Independent stocktakers have gone through painstaking BII accredited training and often have years of experience supporting them on their visits to perform a stocktake at your venue. They look beyond counting stock for the sake of ticking ‘yet another task’ off their long to-do list. Instead they fully understand the importance of what they are there for: carrying out an accurate stock take within an appropriate timescale.
Remember also that independent stocktakers are not only accountable to the client they serve, but also to their Head Office. Becoming ‘chums’ with your venue staff and subsequently letting them get away with the sort of misdemeanours mentioned in the previous point is pretty much unachievable compared to using internal staff and a SaaS system. Ultimately, this double safeguarding ensures that stocktakers are critically reviewed for their performance by two entities, who both expect the stock take to be completed to a certain standard.
What you may find is the case when your own staff members are managing the stocktaking system is often one of two things. Either the stock take takes them very long to complete (because they’re not confident or skilled in what they are doing) or they show a sense of apathy to the task because they do not want it to take too much time away from other important tasks they need to complete. With the independent stocktaker you can be certain that neither of these issues will be a concern: whether we are talking about inaccuracies or wasted time.
3. Analysis – Independent stocktakers have the expertise to complete in-depth analysis of the stock take results, pinpointing imbalances and improvement action plans.
There really are a myriad of ways in which your venue can lose stock. Some of them are pretty straightforward and others are not quite so obvious. Independent stocktakers know their numbers inside out. They have completed numerous stock takes at other venues, experience they can draw from again and again. They are also constantly unveiling new reasons why venues are experiencing a loss of income. All this points to the simple truth that they just know what they are looking for better than your internal staff would. They have extensive knowledge about the factors that determine stock take results, so their analysis of the data will be far more valuable.
But, understanding the data and what the data is telling you is only the start of the process. Knowing what to do with that data is the next step. Here too, the independent stocktaker is able to use his or her expertise to provide your venue with a detailed action plan that will help your venue get back on the straight and narrow, something you just do not get from a SaaS option.
So there you have it. These excellent, modern systems are just not infallible. What seems like the holy grail of pub management can, if you’re not careful, end up costing you lost revenue and falling GPs. Either as a result of your staff hiding transactions, altering stock levels and adjusting figures to cover up a wide range of their own misdemeanours; or as a result of appointing unqualified personnel who are unable to recognise important negative trends or imbalances in the data they manage. An independent stocktake is really just that – independent.
A good independent stocktaker will work hand in glove with your internal systems. There, you have the best of both worlds; modern technological excellence helping you to manage all facets of your pub’s business; and stock control excellence helping you to manage stock, reduce losses and ultimately increase your profits.
So do yourself a favour, if you are considering buying stocktaking software, do not ignore the traditional stocktaking services out there. They really are out to help you save money and improve your processes.