The Elevator Pitch … Optio is a suite of software that optimizes buying and distribution of inventory as well as enhances and fills feature gaps in point-of-sale systems. It was developed by Lance Muzslay, co-owner of Sole Sports Running Zone in Arizona, in order to make buying and inventory management much more efficient. In 2020 Muzslay packaged the software into a cloud-based service for other running stores. 

The Pandemic Impact … With inventory availability tighter than ever and business accelerating as more people have discovered running, having the right inventory in the right place at the right time is more important and more challenging than ever. “The right software is indispensable for meeting these challenges efficiently,” Muzslay says.

The Features … A key feature in Optio is a comprehensive inventory search engine that allows retailers to see what inventory they have in stock across all their locations, plus what is in stock at other stores that also use Optio, along with what is available from several key vendors. Being able to easily search all possible places to fulfill a request is very helpful. Optio also has tools for drafting and then revising future orders.

The Inventory Challenge … Muzslay points out that inventory from vendors is projected to continue being tight for the foreseeable future and retailers will not be able to rely on at-once inventory as much as in the past.

Advice to Retailers … “Buying and managing inventory efficiently is extraordinarily challenging and typically riddled with laborious spreadsheets and too much human intuition based on incomplete information,” Muzslay  explains. “Sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, software is now available to small retailers that enables them to manage their inventory even more efficiently than large enterprises.” Good software gives back so much time that can then be spent on the long list of tasks that don’t get enough attention so “ultimately a business becomes more profitable and the morale of the entire team goes up because the friction goes down.”

The Future … Optio is working on integrating inventory data from more vendors so that there will be no need to log into various B2B sites to check availability before taking a special order and formulating at-once orders. Automatic calculation of accessory stock levels based on a turn rate target and sales history will be a big time saver.


Run Away Shoes Runs Away From Inventory Counting

Optimizing the distribution of inventory across a multi-location operation is enormously challenging and time consuming to do well. Before using Optio, Run Away Shoes, with three stores in Wisconsin, used to spend more than an hour every week with one person at each location on a conference call coordinating which inventory needed to move between locations in order to balance things out. It was a very laborious and time-consuming process. 

Optio has a transfer report that calculates precisely what needs to be transferred between locations based on real time inventory and predefined stock levels.

Run Away Shoes is now able to achieve with a simple click of a button what used to take three employee hours. The result: Its inventory is more optimally distributed and the team has more time to focus on other tasks.