Supply chain issues and labor challenges continue, making it harder for truckstop and travel plaza operators to ensure they have the right products in the right place at the right time and pushing inventory management to the forefront.
Operators have embraced several strategies to keep shelves stocked, including building safety stock, finding non-traditional suppliers and shifting SKUs.
#1: Embrace Technology
Darren Schulte, vice president of membership for NATSO said some companies are embracing technology to help manage inventory after putting it off. “Now nobody is going to put that type of technology off if they can help it,” Schulte said.
Schulte said NATSO members often think technology will be cost prohibitive, but not all of them are bank breakers. Plus, a lot of existing systems have inventory management capabilities operators aren’t utilizing. “It is important everybody fully exploits what they have as equipment,” he said.
If locations don’t have the funds to embrace the latest technology, they can start with simple evaluations. “Break the store into sections and look at what is dusty and what isn’t dusty. Something that simple will tell you what products are selling or not,” Schulte said.
#2: Use Non-Traditional Vendors
Broadway Flying J Travel Plazas has been filling in with non- traditional vendors...