Hotel Product Inventory Management: The Do’s And Don’ts You Need To Follow
You are planning to open a new hotel. You look forward to producing and providing the hospitality service that will satisfy the target consumers. There are many goals in your mind, the most important being generating revenue to gain healthy profits. As you move ahead with the planning, you realise one thing: You need to manage your resources effectively. This is where Hotel Inventory Management comes into play.
Inventory management is everything for the business. This is especially true for the hospitality sector. Inventory includes all the raw materials required for producing the product or the service, and the final products and services themselves. For the hospitality sector, it includes the rooms, hotel amenities, beddings, groceries, culinary, cleaning material etc. Hotel Inventory Management can make or break your hotel. If you don’t use your resources efficiently, you will not be able to sustain your business. There are certain do’s and don’ts one needs to follow for Hotel Inventory Management.
What is Hotel Inventory Management?
Hotel Inventory simply means monitoring, managing and replenishing all the assets and resources in the hotel establishment. It includes room amenities, raw materials, kitchen equipment and so forth. Even the rooms themselves are an asset. However, since it deserves a separate blog, we will leave it for now. Let us focus on the assets other than the rooms.
In most hotels, the task of managing the inventory is handed to the Housekeeping Department. The F&B department is in charge of the food and beverage inventory since it’s a different class in itself.
The Do’s Of Hotel Inventory Management
For Effective Inventory Management, you need to do the following activities:
1. Sort Items In The Inventory Category Wise
Organising is an integral part of management. Before you do anything, you need to organize your inventory to use it efficiently. The hotels should organise housekeeping and cleaning equipment in one pantry. Food and Beverages should be stored in another. Within these categories, organise each item separately and dedicate a specific place for them.
2. Make Use Of Technology To Track And Maintain Records
For effective inventory management, you need to maintain records to keep track and avoid any leakages, misallocation of funds, and improve efficiency. Technology is a lifesaver here. There are many Hotel Inventory Management Systems that can perform various complex tasks at a snap of a finger. They have API Integrations as well. It can keep track of the inventory and alert you if the inventory is below requirements.
3. Discard Expired Products Immediately
There is one aspect that can make or break your hotel inventory management, the handling of expired products. You need to be tracking each item in the inventory to determine its expiration date. If a customer ends up consuming an expired product, it will be harmful to them and will ruin the reputation of the hotel too.
4. Maintain Important Reports Related To Inventory
Reports help in keeping a record of the expenses the hotels incur as well as the transfer/acquisition of assets. There are a lot of reports which need to be prepared and maintained by the hotel. Not only that, but every department also needs to maintain reports.
Most of the records can be maintained by the hotel inventory management software. However, there are a few that need to be maintained manually:
Daily Waste/Discard Report
Room Supply Report
Housekeeping Pantry Report
5. Restock Your Inventories On Time And Smartly
If you are auditing regularly, you will be aware of when the stock needs replenishment. It is always better to restock before you completely run out. If the stock is exhausted by 75%, you will need to order. For perishable items, you can't order way in advance since it will lead to wastage. You will need to be more careful and order quantities that you know will be utilised. Especially for perishables, you need regular and timely supplies.
The Don’ts Of Hotel Inventory Management
Here are some of the don’ts you need to follow while managing your hotel inventory:
1. Depend On A Single Vendor
If you are depending on a single vendor for all items or even a category of products, it can be really risky. If that one vendor doesn’t work out, your hotel inventory will be in trouble. It’s always better to have more vendors who can deliver multiple items. At least keep 2 - 3 suppliers for each product category.
For example, keep a supplier for bathroom towels and another for toiletries. That way, in case something happens to the supplier of towels, you can ask the supplier of toiletries to supply you towels, if they offer them. Always look for suppliers who offer multiple items.
2. Doing Things Last Minute
Many people have the bad habit of doing things at the very last minute. However, in the hotel industry, doing things at the last minute isn’t merely a habit, but a disaster in the making. Doing so will lead to complications and leave you unprepared to deal with last-minute delays and hassles. Doing things on time is essential for hotel inventory management.
For example, if 99% of the inventory gets exhausted and you place the orders, the vendor can say something which can give you a heart attack - “Our towels have not come from the manufacturer's side, order after two weeks. That’s why it’s always better to place an order when 25% of your inventory is left.
3. Discard Items Without Monitoring
It is a common practice for hotels to give items near the expiry date to their staff. It is helpful as it avoids wasting items. However, staff can use it to their advantage by exploiting it to their benefit. Any item given should be done in presence of a CCTV Camera, security personnel or Asst Manager for record-keeping.
4. Ignoring Auxiliary Inventories
A customer wants to take some breakfast as they check out. You realise that you need a container and disposable culinary, which you don’t have in stock at the moment. You need to look in the customer’s eyes and say these dreaded words, “Sorry, we don’t have containers to pack them.”
If you want to avoid such situations, you will need to pay attention to the auxiliary inventories. Your customer may need a carry bag, and you should be able to provide them with that. Small things, when they add up, can enhance the hospitality experience.
To Sum It Up…
Hotel Inventory Management has always been a part of the hospitality industry. Now, it is emerging as a specialised field, since the operations are getting complex by the day. Managing your inventory efficiently will ensure that your business runs smoothly and improves efficiency.