RepairQ Best Practices - Inventory Management 101

This article contains a series of tips and recommendations, based on the experience of countless store owners.

Inventory Valuation Snapshots

We recommend you run this report and export the data on some periodic basis. This is the most accurate way to capture your Live Inventory for a point in time.

Understanding the catalog

The catalog provides a set of structured lists that are available to pick from throughout the application. Requiring users to pick from a structured list that is controlled by a manager is the best way to organize data, to keep it free of clutter, and to provide relevant reports to managers.  Structured lists eliminate common problems such as duplication of items to due misspellings, alternate spellings, or abbreviations.

  • Devices - a list of devices that are repaired in the shop
  • Parts - a list of replaceable parts that may be kept on hand and useful for repairing devices
  • Labor - a list of labor fees or charges that may be due for repairs performed
  • Accessories - a list of accessories that may be available for sale
  • Misc - a list of other items that may be available for sale

Using the price check

The price check screen allows a user to quickly search the inventory of one or more locations by key word, sku, upc, or serial number for pricing and availability of the desired item(s).

Using the global inventory search

The global inventory search allows a user to search for a partial match by name, search key, sku or upc or to search for an exact match by serial #, sku or upc.  The exact match is idea for scanning a barcode or looking up a specific serial number. 

Using the inventory screen to manage inventory

The main inventory screen provides an inventory summary across one or more locations.  From the main inventory screen it is possible to quickly identify how many items are currently in live inventory and to drill down on specific inventory items using the search filters.  

  • Search Filters - the inventory search filters allow the user to drill down on inventory by location, catalog item, bin number, or inventory status among other things.
  • Import - the inventory import section provides a downloadable template for importing new inventory records into RepairQ.  The inventory import is not used for updating the catalog or for adjusting inventory counts.  It is simply used for adding new inventory records into the system.  Typically the inventory import is used for uploading initial inventory, but it is not limited to that purpose.
  • Export - the inventory export section provides a downloadable excel file containing all inventory records matching the search filters.
  • Assign Counts - the ability to assign counts allows a manager to drill down on a section of the inventory, preferably using the bin number search filter, and then to select one or more items that are due for a physical count.  Upon selection the physical count can be delegated to an employee, who will be responsible to go count the physical inventory for the assigned items and scan or enter it into RepairQ.  The screen where the staff member enters physical count does not show the current stock level to ensure a “blind count”.  The manager will then be responsible to reconcile any over/short items that are discovered during the inventory count.
  • Print Labels - barcoded labels can be printed and affixed to specific inventory items, packages, or bins.  The information that appears on the label is configurable per location in the print settings of RepairQ.  Whenever possible it is recommended scan items in and out of inventory.  Scanning is much more efficient and greatly reduces errors when compared to the option of manually searching for and selecting items as they enter or leave inventory.
  • Results Per Page - it is possible to increase or decrease the number of results displayed per page by selecting the desired number of results from the select menu that appears above the search results on the right side of the screen.
  • Create PO - from the inventory screen it is possible to start creating a new blank purchase order by clicking on the appropriate link above the search results near the right side of the screen.
  • Stock Item - from the inventory screen it is possible to start creating a new inventory record by clicking on the appropriate link above the search results near the right side of the screen.  It is also possible to start creating a new inventory record for a particular catalog item by clicking on the restock icon under the actions column for a particular catalog item.  The icon appears dark blue in color and the button face displays a plus symbol inside a small white filled circle.
  • Adjust Inventory - from the inventory screen it is possible to access a pop-up screen that allows one to adjust inventory counts by clicking on the “Adjust Inventory” icon under the actions column for a particular catalog item.  The icon appears turquoise in color and the button face displays two stacked white arrows pointing horizontally in opposite directions.
  • Set Location Overrides - from the inventory screen it is possible to access a pop-up screen that allows one to set location overrides for reorder points, reorder amounts, and bin numbers by clicking on the “Location Overrides” icon under the actions column for a particular catalog item.  The icon appears white in color and the button face displays a small black rectangle that resembles an office building.

Using barcodes to scan items in and out of inventory

While it seems wasteful to affix a label to every inventory item in your store, the amount of time saved, the ease of use for sales staff, and the peace of mind for inventory managers in the long run makes it worthwhile.  Inventory labels are responsible for the most significant time savings throughout the entire system because they benefit so many individuals in different roles from sales reps, to techs, to inventory managers, to customers.  A barcoded label can be scanned when receiving items into inventory and when selling or otherwise moving them out of inventory.  A label can quickly identify an item and distinguish it from like other like items.  It can be useful on retail items to disclose pricing information to customers and reduce time spent doing unnecessary price checks.  When appropriate, you can use pre-existing labels that come already affixed to devices, accessories, or parts by associating the manufacturer UPC or the supplier SKU to the particular catalog item in your system.

Using barcode sheets to scan labor charges, parts or discounts

A laminated two-sided barcode sheet hidden under the front counter can save a lot of time by displaying barcodes for the most common labor charges or miscellaneous items.  Barcode sheets that display the barcode for labor and parts next to each other that are commonly bundled together in the most popular repairs can even be helpful in saving the sales rep valuable minutes in the checkin/checkout process while customers are standing in line.

Setting global or location based re-order points

Spending extra time searching for items that are understocked can be cumbersome unless you have intellligently defined and fine tuned re-order points based on re-stock frequency of each item.  Any items that have a re-order point set in the system will be automatically tracked and will appear on the dashboard as well as the re-order suggestion screen.  Additionally there is a “low stock” filter on the main inventory screen that is designed to reveal items that need to be ordered to have sufficient stock to fill the anticipated needs for that item.  The re-order point should be set to a number that allows sufficient stock to remain on hand to meet demand between orders.

Segment physical inventory by setting global or location based inventory bin numbers. 

Bin numbers are helpful for sales reps, tech, and inventory managers to identify the physical storage location of a particular item when pulling parts for repairs, when shipping or receiving stock, or when doing physical counts.  The bin number is displayed on the price check screen, when adding an item to a ticket, on the purchase order, and on packing slips for internal transfers.

Purchasing inventory from 3rd party suppliers using Purchase Orders. 

While it is possible to manually restock items on outside the PO system, the PO system provides a nice paper trail for tracking items from the time they are ordered to the time they are received in stock.  This reduces the risk of forgetting to order a particular item and from ordering too much or too little of that item.

Transferring inventory between locations using Internal Purchase Orders. 

While it is possible to manually transfer items from one location to another outside the internal PO system, the internal PO system provides a nice paper trail for tracking items from the time they are ordered to the time they are shipped to the time they are received in stock.  Also it provides a paper trail to enable accounting for the transfer of inventory assets from one location to another.

Purchasing used inventory from a customer or 3rd party using Trade-in and Refurb process.

Tracking inventory that is backordered through the ticketing system

    • Backordered —> Ordered —> Pulled —> Sold

Tracking inventory that is ordered on demand (special order parts)

    • Backordered —> Ordered —> Pulled —> Sold

Closing out accounting periods with regard to beginning/ending inventory, cogs, etc.

Reconciling inventory using physical stock counts

RepairQ has an inventory count assignment, tracking, and reconciling system. For more info, see the Inventory Counts article

Inventory Related Reports

    • Accounting > Cost of Goods
    • Accounting > Cost of Refurbs
    • Accounting > Inventory Expense
    • Inventory > Valuation Summary
    • Inventory > Valuation Details
    • Inventory > Inventory Orders
    • Inventory > Trade-In Report
    • Inventory > Repair Device Report
    • Sales > Profitability by Type
    • Sales > Profitability by Item
    • Sales > Returns Details
    • Sales > Returns Summary

 

For a more in-depth look at several topics, check out the Inventory Management 102 article found here.

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