Convenience Store Efficiency: Making Back-Office Tasks Easier with Document Scanning

Convenience stores are a continuous hub of activity for customers, offering everything from gasoline and essential goods to breath mints and lottery tickets. And like any retail operation, there is a lot of back-office work that must be completed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Whether it’s an independent store, a franchise or part of a chain, managing the paperwork associated with incoming inventory, sales receipts, invoicing, payroll and other operations can be time consuming. And time is a highly valued commodity in the fast-paced world of convenience stores.

Saving time—and money—with intelligent scanners

Managing a convenience store involves the handling, processing and sharing of a wide variety of documentation. At the end of a typical business day, there may be packing slips, invoices, time sheets and store receipts, just to name a few.

Document scanners can help streamline the flow of this paperwork and make back-office tasks more efficient for the store, with efficiencies that can be passed on to corporate offices as well.

The scanners and advanced imaging software can accurately capture data on any type of document, improving scanned images so they are clearly readable. With a high-quality scanning solution, all the data on the documents become easily searchable, as the metadata is automatically tagged and indexed.

Here are a few of the ways that document scanning can facilitate back-office operations.

  • Product inventory. The amount of inventory turnover in a convenience store is huge. The incoming goods come with packing slips, invoices or other related paperwork. These all can be scanned quickly into a store’s computer system at the point of receipt, which will save time and help get stock in place and ready for customers faster.
  • Other goods and services. Oftentimes, convenience stores also will need to purchase or secure other goods and services. They may buy fresh local produce, or landscaping and cleaning services for the upkeep of the store. Any transactions like this will come with paperwork that can quickly be scanned without interrupting the servicing of customers.
  • Sales receipts. Stores are accountable for tracking sales, especially those that require special kinds of reporting to outside entities, like lottery, gas, and cigarette sales. Those receipts, in addition to credit card slips, must be securely handled and processed each and every day, not only for revenue reporting, but also for inventory management.
  • Accounts payable. When it comes time to pay vendors, payments can be more efficient as all the receipts, packing slips, invoices and support documentation is searchable, allowing staff to find and organize the invoices properly for the current payment cycle. Stores can also search on early payment discounts and take advantage of what could be significant savings over time.
  • Payroll forms. Time cards and related payroll information can easily be scanned as well, which helps ensure employees are paid accurately and in a timely fashion.
  • Tax preparation. When it come to preparing sales and income taxes, all the documentation needed will already be in a store’s accounting system at the time of receipt. No last-minute scanning of piles of assorted receipts, packing slips or other paper will be needed.
  • Space minimization. Space is a premium in convenient stores, so document scanning means that here is no need for the extended storage of huge volumes of paper. Shelf and storage space can be freed up for critical customer inventory.

Making corporate reporting easy

The above benefits apply to any type of convenience stores, but for the stores that are part of a chain or are a franchise, there are added benefits.

In the past, stores would often bundle all the back-office paperwork up and ship it overnight to the central office, hoping that it would arrive safely and on time. Data from invoices, receipts and other documentation would then be inputted manually. Now, when back-office documents are scanned at the point of receipt in the store, reporting to corporate becomes easy and efficient. Receipt of goods ordered by corporate can be verified and those purchased locally can be submitted for payment.

Corporate financial and purchasing departments save time and labor, which is a major expense for enterprises that may have hundreds of stores in their network. Manually processing is eliminated, the opportunities for lost documents and errors are minimized, and teams of workers are freed up for more value-add tasks. And of course, the need to store all the thousands of backup documents from hundreds of stores is also eliminated, freeing up valuable real estate.

The best fi Series and ScanSnap scanners for small spaces

When convenience stores look for a scanner, they need something that is compact, fast, easy to use and reliable, with high imaging quality and excellent paper handling capabilities. Here are a few that meet those requirements.

  • The fi-800R is a perfect choice almost any convenience store. It’s an ultra-compact, yet highly efficient scanner that has a small footprint, ideal for use in small spaces. It features two ways to feed documents—Reverse Path accommodates thick documents such as IDs or passports and the U-turn Path scans batches of various sized documents such as invoices, receipts and packing slips. The fi-800R can scan up to 40 ppm and up to 4,500 sheets a day so you can scan more in less time.
  • The ScanSnap iX1500  is capable of digitizing large volumes of papers quickly. It simplifies the scanning process for a variety of documents, saving store manager’s time. It comes with wireless connectivity, an intuitive 4.3-inch touch screen and advanced software that scans documents and automatically turns paper into fully editable files which can be accessed from commonly used back-office applications. With its various automation functions, it intelligently adapts to a user’s preferences, enabling people to work smarter and faster.
  • The fi-7300NX is a network scanner that includes Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, which creates efficiencies in convenient stores. It can be remotely placed in the front of a store, or the receiving area, without the need for a desktop computer that would take up valuable counter space. The fi-7300NX includes authentication methods for data security so approved store workers can quickly scan any appropriate documentation to speed up handling and minimize interruptions. This scanner also features a simple touch screen with customized job buttons, so even the least experienced employee can use it. The fi-7300NX can scan up to 60 ppm, giving valuable time back to employees.