Stock management – getting on top of it….

If you’re in retail then you know how important it is to keep on top of your stock management. 

That’s why we’ve put together a thee tips to consider for maintaining stock accuracy and reducing shrinkage. If your in retail, then you need to spend time to understand stock management. So if you’re looking to get into retail or struggling with your stock management system, then consider this today and implement it tomorrow. It will save a lot of heart ache, I promise.

TIP 1: USE PRODUCT CATEGORIES.

Using product categories is often something that retailers skip due to time constraints, or because they think it’s unnecessary. It’s usually an afterthought that you’ll, “Get around to later”. However, applying the right product categories can drastically improve your entire business as reporting can be more specific thus showing you areas that require attention.

The Key benefit is the ability to generate detailed breakdowns that can be filtered, quickly and easily. Most POS systems, have entire product category attributes allowing you to to quickly see your products. Here is an example below:
Product-Categories

My best tip when thinking up your category types, involve the major stakeholders from the onset, shop floor staff, warehouse, managers and even your accountant. In fact, invite anyone who will use your stock reports as it is the user who will want to identify the stock quickly and easily. You’ll get very quickly understand what the problem is that you all want to address, and not fix something for one person that may break something for everyone else.

Consistency is critical when designing categories across entire product ranges. You really have to think about how you will structure these. In most good systems you can have multiple tags per product and SKU for a single type. One product category above is ‘organic’ with the other being ‘white’. But as this is a wine product, you can add ‘year’ along with ‘country’. Hence when linking this to your website, customers can search by all, part or any combination of the categories.

By applying these type of attributes to count specific products in your inventory list, you are benefiting from filtered reporting and the ability to run partial inventory counts. Here’s another example below of how this looks in Vend.

TIP 2: SET USER PERMISSIONS ON THE INDIVIDUAL, NOT THEIR JOB TITLE.

Most modern POS systems allow you to set user permissions to enable or restrict certain tasks from being carried out. This is critical to ensure you have the correct and proper segregations of responsibilities for those responsible for stocks. For example, you don’t want the same person inputting purchased stocks as the person who sells that stock, as they have complete control of the stock cycle. Hence if you haven’t done so yet, check with your POS solution provider and see how you can update user permissions in your store.

It’s best to allocate user permissions based on the individual instead of the job title. I see a lot of companies applying the same permissions for all managers or for all admins. But what you should do instead is assign permissions based on the tasks you want each employee to perform and restrict them from doing tasks outside their job description.

You should also be vigilant when it comes to who can process voided sales, as this is a very easy way to steal stock.

TIP 3: LOOK INTO RFID – IT’S NO LONGER JUST FOR THE BIG BOYS.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a great technology to use for maintaining inventory accuracies, improving customer experiences, and even up-selling to shoppers. Better yet, as the cost of RFID continues to drop it is becoming more accessible for everyone.

RFID allows you to store and track product information using a chip embedded in an item’s tag or packaging. It enables merchants to count, monitor, and search for merchandise using a scanner or chip detector, making it faster and easier for them to track down where each item is.

Brick & mortar retailers are increasingly using RFID technologies to create a better customer experience. Check-out screens outside changing rooms enable customers to request different sizes or colours without having to wait for a shop assistant to attend to their needs. Plus, it can also be used as a up-sell tool when suggesting matching items.

Here’s a great video to check out RFID in action creating a better customer experience.

A FINAL TIP:  SAY NO TO ‘MISC’ PRODUCTS.

More often than not non core products such as gifts and freebies are processed as “Misc” sales. But bear in mind that these still have a supply price or cost associated with them, so you should still be recording such sales in your inventory system.There’s always going to be Misc. sales, but implementing a system to correct inventory levels when those sales are made will reduce headaches and inaccuracies. If you don’t do so already, create an end-of-day report for all Misc. sales either for yourself or your store manager to make the adjustments on their end.