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Convenience stores ramping up fresh food sales - Ensure your supply chain is ready

12/7/2015

The convenience store industry is changing. The days of letting operational conditions limit the customer experience are gone. Instead of settling for bags of chips, drinks and maybe a few baked goods, convenience store operators are ramping up their efforts to give customers fresh, healthy food options. This strategic shift is only possible because advanced supply chain management software platforms are giving convenience store owners new opportunities to improve their offerings.

Understanding how supply chain management fuels convenience store innovation
Maintaining a supply of fresh goods at convenience stores is only possible through a network of commissary kitchens that strategically deliver products to branch locations. From there, store owners must ensure they order the right quantity of products to avoid waste.

Historically, convenience store operators have needed to limit their inventories to non-perishable food items - or at least foods that have an extremely long shelf life before they go bad. Carrying some supply of fresh foods may have been possible, but only if those items are filled with preservatives that allow them to remain viable on the shelf for an extended period. Because of these limitations, many people will avoid convenience stores when they are looking for a healthy meal or snack, and only patronize them as a last resort.

Advanced supply chain management software systems are changing this game by letting convenience store managers use predictive analytics to manage inventories with precision, enabling them to invest in fresh goods without running into problems with waste.

Fresh food is increasingly an option for convenience store owners.Fresh food is increasingly an option for convenience store owners.

How supply chain management systems support fresh inventories
On one hand, convenience store owners can't afford to run out of a popular item. If people are coming into your shop to because you have a great chicken caesar wrap, they may not come back if you are often out of stock. On the other hand, you don't want to order so many wraps from your central commissary that you are filling your dumpster with them at the end of the day. Supply chain management software lets you look at historical sales data to estimate your supply requirements with precision. You can build out custom reports to get detailed information, such as the number of a goods of a certain type that sell during your normal weekday lunch rush vs. what sells during a holiday week.

This kind of information lets you anticipate not only how many of a certain good to order from your central kitchen each day, but also enables your managers to fill out their supply on an ongoing basis depending on specific circumstances. With this information in hand, you can invest in fresh goods without having to deal with the implications of significant quantities of waste.

Making supply chain management accessible
Solutions like SupplyIt are making these advanced supply chain management functions accessible by delivering the technology through a simple Web app. The app is hosted in the cloud and delivered through the Web, so you don't need to purchase hardware or buy licenses to unlock the functionality. Furthermore, you can easily support users in multiple locations because you don't need to worry about getting disks out to workstations and installing the platform across various servers in every region where you operate. 

Delivering supply chain management through the cloud is making the technology more accessible for convenience store owners. We recently showcased these capabilities at the NACS show, so you may remember us if you were lucky enough to make it to the event. We showcased at booth #3448, and were well received at the largest convenience store industry event of the year. Whether you were at the conference or not, feel free to reach out to us for more information on how SupplyIt can help you expand your fresh good offerings.