When customers take time out of their day to visit any of your retail stores, the last thing you want is for them to be met by understocked shelves or have trouble finding what they’re looking for, right? That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to have a stock control system in place, but also critically a process for regular audit of your stock. A stock control system can go a long way in helping to provide transparency of how much stock the business holds, however discrepancies can and often do arise, either due to human error or they can be a sign of a deeper rooted issue such as process problems or theft.
A stocktake will help you identify any system stock inaccuracies as soon as possible, leaving you to investigate and diagnose the issue before it becomes a larger problem and affects your business more significantly. Having accurate stock levels not only ensures that you minimise the risk of stockouts, but going one step further, it also provides accurate data on which you base your all-important purchasing, merchandising and allocating decisions for the business. Incorporated correctly into your retail inventory routines, it’s a process that enables you to ensure the proper amount of stock in your warehouses, at all your brick-and-mortar locations and ultimately on your shelves; as well as helping to reduce shrinkage.
What is a Stocktake Count?
A full stocktake is where every item of stock is counted and although not strictly necessary, retailers often opt to shut down operations, or to perform the exercise out of hours to focus fully on the stocktake. A manual count needs to be taken for comparison to the system count to determine how accurate the latter is. In order for this comparison to be meaningful, stock movements need to be frozen so that for example, sales or transfers do not distort the figures and the stock can also be counted accurately. Finding an appropriate time and resources for this operation can understandably be a large undertaking, and yet it is imperative that a stocktake does occur on a regular basis to ensure that everything is running as it should.
Is There Another Option?
In comparison, a perpetual stocktake involves counting a subset of your stock and using this as an indicator of global stock accuracy. This count is also compared to a snapshot of system stock and because it is a smaller operation, it is much easier to perform during trading hours if desired. Since only a sample set of stock is counted it is much less labour intensive, quicker and less disruptive than a full stocktake.
Improving Accuracy During Stocktake Counting
It’s important to ensure that you have both the right conditions and resources for whichever stocktake option, or combination, you select. Accuracy is key, so distractions need to be minimised and retailers should ensure that they have the right number of staff on hand to take the count.
Some vendors also offer solutions that help automate the counting process which involve barcode scanners to assist in identifying and counting your stock inventory. They can then upload the ‘manual’ count into your system for the all important comparison. Eurostop offers a suite of mobile retail apps, which include both full and perpetual stocktakes.
A well organised warehouse and or store portfolio also aids in the process.
Which Type of Stocktake is Right for Your Retail Operation?
When it comes to selecting the right option, it really depends on how your business operates and what kind of product offering you have, but here are some of the considerations:
How quickly is it necessary for any discrepancies to be identified?
If you have fast moving product lines, then stock discrepancies can be more significant, leading to stockouts. In this case, implementing perpetual stocktakes can help identify any issues before they affect the business.
How Accurate is the Stock Control System?
If you find that your stock levels are reasonably accurate and that you have well defined business processes, then you may find that an annual stocktake is sufficient for recalibrating your system figures.
Alternatively, some retailers may use a combination of both a full and perpetual stocktake in order to keep the retail business running smoothly.
What Are the Benefits of Stocktakes?
As we have indicated, stocktakes should be an essential part of your stock control processes. They help to keep your retail operation running as it should and offer business benefits including:
Increased accuracy of stock levels
Reduced stockouts and improved customer satisfaction
Smarter merchandising decisions based on accurate data
Improved profits by identifying and providing an opportunity to
improve product turnover
Contact us today for leading retail ERP software and more
The retail ERP software from Eurostop comes with a mobile app named SKapp Stocktake that easily allows you to scan and count stock. This stocktake information can then be automatically uploaded to the head office stock control system and compared to ensure total accuracy.
Learn more by contacting us online or calling +44 (0) 20 8991 2700 today.