How a non-profit is cutting costs by upgrading its inventory management

A line of people packing relief materials

It never crossed my mind that I would be interviewing Eric Darling, Warehouse Manager of Bethel Church of Redding from his home office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1465 miles from Bethel Church’s warehouses in Redding, California.

Bethel Church of Redding is an American non-profit megachurch in Redding, California with over 11,000 members. “Bethel’s mission is revival—the personal, regional, and global expansion of God’s kingdom through His manifest presence.” They have a mandate to be a resource center to impact cities and nations.

As a resource center, they have events, schools, television broadcasts, music, podcasts, brick-and -mortar stores, and online stores. They have thousands of feet of warehouse space, and thousands of SKUs. And yes, they have a Warehouse Manager who has been able to transform their heavily manual inventory management process into an efficient automated workflow that defines “easy inventory management.” Did I mention Eric does all of this from four states away?

It takes an innovative company to make this possible. It takes a company that values all of their stakeholders to make this possible. Let’s dive into the results of Eric transforming the way he manages the warehouse and the resulting ease and efficiency it brought to inventory management.

Three Cost Saving Benefits of Upgrading to Barcoding

#1 Spend Less Time Logging and Entering Inventory Data

“Bethel Church wanted all the inventory to live in Sage Intacct. I was hired to improve the management of the warehouse and gain visibility and control of our inventory and so I needed to select a software. Most traditional warehouses have all the inventory living in a completely separate software. Which should have been fine, but with Sage Intacct Inventory Automation, everything still lives in Sage Intacct and there are preset automations on a handheld device, it was basically an out of box automation. I knew this was going to be our best bet.”

When I asked Eric about the Herculean task of having to barcode everything in order to automate the receiving, tracking and shipping of their inventory, he replied, “We are now able to fully utilize the bar codes. It’s like the bar codes were only really utilized on the point-of-sale side, but they were not able to be utilized on the warehouse side, basically the backside of things.”

Using a handheld scanning device, they now have data validation at the point of transaction. Incoming orders must match the purchase orders (POs) and orders shipped must match the sales orders. Sure, they were doing this before. However, it was a multi-step, multi system process. Now it takes only a simple scan of a barcode; the data flows into Sage Intacct and teams can make decisions and execute plans effectively.

We’ve cut our receiving time about in half. I can have anybody go and receive in all of our inventory in our shipments for our warehouse really quickly. They know right away if something is not correct, and we are able to fix it and stop it from becoming an issue. You know, I can have someone receive in product at another location too. Sometimes we have shipments that get sent to one of our other buildings. We have a handheld on site and they’re able to go in and receive it in. That part has been awesome.”

#2 Dramatically Reduce Inventory Variances and Say Goodbye to Sticky-note Physical Counts

“The celebratory thing that happened when we purchased Sage Intacct Inventory Automation was the ability to do our physical inventory. Before I started, they used to have to go and basically print spreadsheets to do inventory for their 2500 SKUs. That’s how they counted. They had sheets and they went around and they counted everything. They had little yellow sticky notes everywhere, and it was sexy.”

“The year that I came on board, I found out about this, and I was able to switch it from spreadsheets to Google Sheets where we all had a laptop and we were all updating it at the same time, saving to the same sheet. That really helped cut down on time. Inventory went from four days to two-and-a-half days.”

“With Sage Intacct Inventory Automation, we went from four days to eight hours. That is from start to finish, and we even have more SKUs now. It was just amazing. I foresee the next time we do it, we’re going to have it done in four to six hours because it’s just so awesome. It has been the biggest time saver.”

Prior to automating their inventory, Bethel Church had an income variance one year of nearly $10,000.

Bethel Church, since implementing Sage Intacct Inventory Automation, has been able to bring their inventory variance down by about 90%. “Between the brick-and-mortar store and the warehouse, we were missing things one year and finding things the next year. Now that we’ve implemented the handhelds, definitely the variances went down. It’s been a huge help.”

#3 Automate Inventory Transfers and Prevent Lost Sales

“I would say we have saved 60% of the time it takes to do transfers.” What used to take an hour now takes just 20 minutes. “We used to have to write manual transfers, now [with Sage Intacct Inventory Automation] we have a gentleman who goes through the warehouse, transfers in real-time, sends it and it’s done.”

During weekend conferences, Bethel Church deploys multiple points of sale (POS). Often one POS would sell out of a SKU while another had stock, and paper inventory processes prevented them from getting the product to where it was needed. Now, with real-time inventory data visibility and anywhere, anytime cloud access, warehouse team members can jot over to the warehouse with their handheld, “grab what is needed, run a transfer, take it over and we can continue to sell. So that has been the biggest thing that has helped us the most, being able to automate the transfers.”

“No more waiting until Monday.” No more lost sales and unhappy customers.

If you would like to transform the way your company manages inventory by implementing handhelds and utilizing barcodes, you can see what easy inventory management looks like in this Sage Intacct Inventory Automation overview video. If you are a Sage Intacct customer, ask your Account Manager about Sage Intacct Inventory Automation, or just give us a nudge.