An Overview of Rental Inventory Management
Inventory management is hands down one of the most essential operational processes of an event and party rental business. It is not only important from the rental asset tracking perspective or accounting standpoint but also is the only way to successfully plan and decorate a great event or a party. It is not about having the books of what is in stock but most importantly the ability to know if you will make it for given event date and would you have every inventory item you need to make a great event.
In other words, aside from tracking rental inventory and knowing which rental piece is in which condition, one needs to be able to know in a matter of a minute if not seconds if a given rental inventory is available to be booked for a specific date range.
There are a lot of things to think about, but with the right technology and processes, your business is ready for success. Regardless of which type of inventory you rent, whether it is an event and party rentals, bounce house rentals, or long-term furniture rentals, the goal is to spend minimal time and have accurate inventory accounted for at any given moment.
Inventory Management VS Rental Inventory Management. What is the Difference?
Inventory refers to all of the physical items that your business has and utilizes for the purpose of trading those. In the case of selling goods, the inventory includes everything that is sold to produce income as a result. All items that are present in your warehouse are meant to be sold and are not coming back unless a customer returns the item because of any issues with it. On the other hand, if you are in the business of event and party rentals, the day-to-day operations will now include consistent storage of rental items, scheduling, maintenance, tracking based on specific dates, harder inventory audit process, tracking usage and utilization of assets, and renewing inventory to stay competitive.
Compared to selling products, renting products significantly changes the flow and nature of inventory management, since it is now a circular process that includes receiving rental inventory back on time and ensuring it is all accounted for, not damaged, and does or does not need any repairs or maintenance. Simply put, when selling products the desire is that you never see the same product again, which is quite the opposite when it comes to rentals.
For a successful rental company, it is crucial that the rented products come back on schedule as agreed with the client and most importantly based on your crew and resources scheduling. It is also important to allow enough time to service the returned products and prepare for the next event rentals. This allows one to forecast and prepare to have the right products and enough quantities for the next order not to miss on any potential income.
What is Rental Inventory Recalculation and Why Inventory Audit is of Significance for an Event Rental Company?
It is important to have a process in place to track inventory movement, whether or not it is a rental or sale inventory. It is even more important to have an inventory audit process to identify if any inventory items are missing or if any items were not checked in or checked out properly. It is of significant importance in order to have accurate inventory counts, which will allow you not to have to deal with situations where you have to find a substitute product or sub-rent it from another rental company to fulfill your event decor. Here are some of the most common reasons why reconciling your inventory through an inventory audit is crucial:
Have accurate and up-to-date quantities of inventory
Identify any missing inventory and the reasons
Update missing quantities and do not declare and pay taxes for assets that are missing
Identify any rental order overbookings and resolve them before it becomes a problem
Renew and Repair event rental inventory
Update inventory tracking processes to allow for more accurate tracking
How does Party and Event Inventory Management Software Help?
Unless there is an inventory management software in place with proper rental inventory check-out and check-in process it will be more complex to track inventory and especially implement a complete inventory audit. Once you implement a management software that is capable of tracking rental inventory it becomes much simpler to audit your inventory, given that the rental inventory tracking software has the right tools and reporting.
Rental Inventory Tracking – Daily Operations
When you just implement your rental inventory management software, you start by entering all inventory with the accurate quantities, barcodes, and serial numbers if applicable. Once the counts are in the software, every inventory related transaction, whether it is a rental booking quote or reservation will be placed into the software for proper tracking of the quantities. That, however, is not enough to keep accurate track of rental inventory. Oftentimes, there are mistakes made when checking out/in products whether that is from the warehouse, the delivery vehicles, or satellite inventory locations. This is in addition to tracking any lost or damaged rental items that either need to be removed from the inventory quantity or blocked temporarily from the availability to complete the repairs. This is why one should implement an inventory audit process and identify the changes that need to be made.
So How Do You Audit Rental Inventory in Specific?
Unlike regular retail inventory, where inventory items are sold and will not be coming back, rentals need to consider the inventory that is currently out of the warehouse – rented out, under maintenance, or in repairs. This is where a rental inventory management software should provide the needed reports to know exactly how many of the given inventory items should currently be in the warehouse, how many are rented out with clients, etc…
Rentopian provides several reports that provide the necessary information to be able to complete an inventory audit. Once the first report to look at is Product Availability.
Product Availability report shows exactly how many rental products are owned by the company, what’s available for the date selected, how many are ordered, how many are guaranteed to be either repaired or under maintenance, etc… This allows you to recalculate all the inventory currently present in the warehouse, which in turn, if compared to the number currently available should be equal. This specifically considers all the products that are out of the warehouse so when auditing and recounting products you know exactly how many of them should be in the warehouse at the moment.
Without the proper rental inventory management software, it would be much more tedious to get summarized statistics of product counts and be able to compare audit results.
Another report Rentopian provides that is useful when executing rental inventory audits is the Availability/Utilization report.
Specifically, it shows how many of which products are rented out in which quantities for a specific date. This allows executing inventory audits over the span of several days, which is important since you will not have to close does check in/out of products while doing an audit of inventory and can carry on processing business transactions and setting up events and parties.
Given the nature of the rental industry, you might be services events and parties every day, in which case it is hard recalculating inventory while items are going out and back into the warehouse inventory.
Rental Inventory Manage Software Features that Aid the Audit Process
Overall Rental Inventory Tracking
Check in and Check out
Serialized Inventory Tracking
Barcode and QR Code Scanning
Robust Inventory Reporting
Multilocation Inventory Tracking
To sum up, rental inventory management software should provide answers to such questions as where your assets are, in which warehouse, and rented out to which client. Which products are coming back when? Which assets are lost and which are temporarily unavailable due to scheduled maintenance or unexpected damages that resulted in the need for repairs? This will allow completing an inventory audit to stay on top of your party and event rental business and keep accurate track of rental inventory.
Of course, rental inventory management software should also provide intel on inventory performance, utilization, which items are more requested by clients, overall trends, and sales based on various variables such as categories, specific products, geographical locations, and more.
A rental inventory audit is one of the most important processes for your event and party rental business. It is not rocket science but is a very tedious process especially if it is not completed with the help of the right rental inventory management software.
The time invested in manual rental inventory audits alone is a reason to utilize proper software to streamline audits in addition to business growth and performance.
Get in touch with Rentopian – an event and party rental software to schedule a demo and see in action how it could help with inventory management and save tons of time so that you can concentrate on your rental business development.