Everyone knows knowledge is power and the insight gained by conducting regular stocktakes empowers retailers to be proactive on stock decisions and most importantly increase their businesses bottom line.
Regular stocktaking is good business practice which will prevent many problems as well as confirm the amount of stock held for audit purposes. There are so many benefits to having accurate information on your stock levels including improved customer service and efficiency in your operation, with employee’s who always know exactly what stock is available & where.
AshleyLutz, US Retail Editor of Business Insider reports in a recent Business Insider Australia article that employee theft is such a problem that “Retailers are keeping track of employees suspected of stealing in databases”. These controversial databases are used by major US retailers to security check potential new staff members. The article goes on to explain that in the US alone, “Employee thefts cost retailers about $15 billion a year”.
A good guide is to schedule at least 4 ‘whole of inventory’ stocktakes each year as well as scheduling monthly cycle counts which are smaller stocktakes of various departments. Some well run operations with live integrated inventory management POS software consistently run cycle counts instead of performing the traditional full physical inventory count.
Retail operations that use a real-time cloud based stock management POS system can easily perform cycle counts along with their other warehouse activities during business hours.
1. Always plan ahead to make sure necessary resources are in place so things can run smoothly
2. Choose the quietest time of the day (usually after hours) so that you have minimum interruptions
3. Always conduct a stocktake in a tidy and orderly environment. All inventory should be accessible and sorted into appropriate categories.
4. Organise staff appropriately – appoint a supervisor in each location responsible for overviewing the process. Run reports to consider what stock will be counted and then allocate the appropriate staff levels to perform the count. Teach staff the best system to count stock, such as always running from top to bottom and left to right to avoid count duplications
5. Limit noise and conversation – distractions from co-workers, mobile phones, iPods or having the radio playing can all lead to staff making critical errors
6. Count every item – never estimate & always check the number listed is actually what is inside any unopened box.
7. Mark any items counted to avoid duplication – this will also help identify any item that counters have missed.
8. Make sure the data for the stocktake is valid
9. Finalise the stocktake and investigate and note any inconsistencies
10. When completed, review your stocktaking procedures and note any suggestions to further streamline actions and improve your processes for the next count.
If you only stocktake once a year you may be ignoring potential losses through damaged or slow moving stock, theft or problems with warehousing procedures. You will save money by preventing problems and dealing with any stock issues promptly. A successful stocktake doesn’t have to disrupt your business and will give you the accurate information you need to make better operational decisions.
Author of Post: Aaron Blackman | Date of Post: 2014-04-14