The Inventory Dollar Menu

A minivan full of screaming, hungry kids at the end of a full day of shuttle runs, school, and little league games leads you right to the nearest fast food drive thru line.  It’s quick, painless, cheap, and easy.  And the fast food players are making it even easier for their customers with their dollar / value menus.  I mean how can you go wrong for a buck, right?  It’s the same stuff as the full price menu, just scaled down for the little dudes in the back of the car.

Fast food has something for everyone in the minivan.  Big burgers, little chicken tenders, sodas by the bucket, fresh fruit, hot coffee, iced coffee, frozen desserts – you name it, they serve it.  They work very hard to serve every size customer with every size product.  It may not be the best thing for little kids in the back of the shuttle van, but it fills the void, quiets them down, and saves mom and dad from the whole, cooking dinner routine.  Everybody’s happy, right?  Well, maybe….but not always.  You see, once again, it kind of depends on the type of customer service you get after you place your order.  Luke’s fries were cold,  Nate didn’t want pickles on his burger, Kathie ordered a Coke, not Sprite, and Daniel’s ice cream never made it in the bag.  Man, I hate circling back through the line to get what I ordered the first time.  Now, the experience is neither fast nor convenient – it’s just a pain in the rear.

Guess what – the physical inventory process can be the same way if you’re not careful.  There are some big inventory audit companies out there who take the “fast food” approach to their business.  They have lots of locations across the country, with a menu of items that aims to serve everyone in the retail minivan.  But just like in mom’s minivan, you don’t always get what you ordered.  You get what they throw in the bag because you ordered off the dollar menu.  I mean, it’s the same stuff that the big fella at the counter gets, just boxed up smaller for you, right?  NO!  You get what the part-timer gives you.  The full – size, big boy retailer standing at the counter, ordering the ginormous combo meal has the inventory service’s undivided attention, while the small fry and mid-size retailers moving through the drive thru get a bag of services shoved at them through the window.  Like the Rolling Stones once said,

You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes,
you might find,
you get what you need”

You see, the small and regional -sized retailers seem to get the “dollar menu” service from the national inventory services.  You might get what you ordered, or you might get something close to it, but whatever you get it may not be the best the service has to offer.  The supersized, national retailers get their best product, their best count crews, and the best schedules.  The “dollar menu” customers get the scaled down product, the left over crews and schedule times.  Not really what you need, is it?  It all sounds great when you go to order, but you soon realize, you got the cold fries, the 2 hour- old burger, and the newest counter on the block working in your stores. 

So if you’re the small and regional retail chain, what are your options here?  How do you get the best product, the best crews, the best schedules?  Well, if you look past the big boys you will find some excellent regional inventory services that are built to serve you!  They are sized to offer superior customer service to the small and regional retailers.  In their world, you are the big boy customer standing at the counter, not the little kid in the back of the minivan.  You’ll get what you need, you won’t have to circle through the line a second time, and you won’t waste the time and efforts of your store operations group.  Save your organization some money, skip the “dollar menu” and order off the regular menu!

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