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The ABCs of SKUs: A Guide for Roasteries

Organization is key for scheduling within a busy roaster. From the small coffee shop to large roasteries supplying beans globally, effective management of inventory and products is crucial. This is where Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) come into play.

In this guide, we'll look into what SKUs are, why they are essential for coffee roasters, and how coffee businesses can create and use them effectively.


What are SKUs?

SKUs are informational codes made up of letters and numbers assigned to products to streamline inventory management and sales tracking. They can identify each product variant, which help businesses easily differentiate between similar items. SKUs typically include information such as product type, bag size, origin, and any other relevant variants.

Why are SKUs Important for Coffee Roasters?

  1. Inventory Management: Coffee businesses deal with a wide range of products, including various coffee blends, roasts, origins, and packaging sizes. SKUs help track where each item is, which ensures optimal stock levels and minimizes wastage.
  2. Order Fulfillment: With SKUs, orders can be processed accurately and efficiently. Production or fulfillment staff can quickly locate specific products, reducing errors and improving customer satisfaction.
  3. Sales Analysis: By assigning unique SKUs to products, managers can analyze sales data to identify top-selling items, trends, and seasonal variations. This information is invaluable for making informed decisions about product offerings and marketing strategies.

How to Create and Use SKUs for Your Coffee:

  1. Define a Standard Format: Establish a consistent format for your SKUs based on your specific needs. For example, you might include codes for the coffee type (e.g., Blend or Single Origin), origin (e.g., Ethiopian, Colombian, etc.), grind size (e.g., whole bean, ground), and package size (e.g., 250g, 500g, 1kg).
  2. Keep It Simple: While it's tempting to include as much information as possible in a SKU, simplicity is key. It’s important to quickly identify what the SKU means versus referencing another sheet to decipher your code. 
  3. Keep Your SKUs Consistent. Any product that pulls from the same bagged inventory should share a SKU, but if you have the same coffee with a different label or bag (like white labeling), it should have its own SKU even if it has the same coffee inside.
  4. Implement a Digital Inventory System: Invest in inventory management software like Cropster Commerce which allows you to track and analyze SKUs efficiently. These systems can help project reordering and provide real-time insights into your inventory levels.
  5. Regularly Review and Update SKUs: As your product offerings change from season to season, periodically review and update your SKUs to ensure they remain relevant and effective.

In the fast-paced coffee industry, where precision and efficiency are key, SKUs play an important role in streamlining operations and fulfillment while driving business success. By implementing a SKU system tailored to their specific needs, coffee roasteries can improve inventory management, ensure order accuracy, and gain valuable insights into their sales performance. Adopt SKUs, and watch your roastery thrive.

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