The last two mornings I have woken up well before my alarm clock went off. Both times my mind was racing with ideas about how to eliminate (or at least reduce) stock-outs in Food For Thought, our employee break room.
Even though the primary goal of this project is to get inside the minds of our retail customers by using our technology the way they use it, I realized that the way I deal with stock-outs is considerable different than what most of our users have to deal with.
Because ours is a healthy micro market, we only have 100-120 items for sale at any given time. And because I have to order at least $1,000 worth to get free shipping, I need to keep a considerable volume of back stock. I keep the lighter stuff (mostly edibles) in the stock room one floor below me. I keep the drinks underneath my desk because their weight makes them a pain to haul up and down the steps.
So I have something going for me that most our our retail customers don’t. I can pull from back stock to replenish stock-outs or near stock outs. Most of our users have to place new supplier orders to address this. And our software allows them to do just this – and to do it with awesome accuracy.
Given this difference, I need to get my head around the fact that I’m “cheating” at a certain level. By having back stock at my disposal, I don’t have the same pressures that our customers have because they have to place actual orders every time they have holes (or near holes) on their shelves. And even still, the thought of stock-outs is waking me up prematurely.