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Avoid These 10 Mistakes in Retail Inventory Storage

2014 September 03
Written by Mark

Sourcing the right retail storage solutions is crucial to the smooth running of any store, especially during the annual or bi-annual inventory. Poor storage can lead to mistakes and, within the retail environment, to financial losses. It can also cause difficulties during budgeting and staffing for the following financial year.

Here are 10 mistakes to avoid in retail inventory storage.

  1. Lack of planning

You need to know what space is available for storage, both on the shop floor and behind the scenes. You also need to be aware of the type and amount of stock you have to store. Are all areas of your premises suitable for storage or do you need to consider alternative solutions such as portable containers?

  1. Poor organization

No matter where you store your stock it, must be well organized. If different types of items are mixed together, the inventory process is bound to be difficult.

  1. Lack of labeling

Labeling is particularly problematic if your stock is in cardboard boxes. Your inventory team will need to open sealed boxes to check the contents, which unnecessarily leaves the stock open and exposed to the elements.

You won’t store shoes in a working freezer any more than you would store meat in a shoe box. Unsuitable storage can lead to mistakes if the contents are not checked. It can also lead to damage and rise in stock overheads.

  1. Overfilled storage

Even if you have invested in suitable storage solutions, such as portable containers, overfilling them will lead to mistakes. If your counting team can’t move in the area and has to remove the stock from the storage to count it effectively, there is an increased chance of items being missed, forgotten or lost.

  1. Lost or poorly filled-in paperwork

To provide an efficient count, the team needs to know what they are looking for, where they will find it and how much there should be.

  1. Poorly trained or unsupervised staff

You can utilize the best storage solutions available, but if your team cannot complete the inventory properly, you will lose money.

  1. Retail storage solutions with incorrect lighting and ventilation

Your counting team needs to be able to see what they are counting and what they are recording. Poor lighting will lead to mistakes, lethargy and likely to further mistakes. Members of your staff also need to be able to breath, and so do most types of stock.

  1. Faulty reporting systems

Your inventory team needs to be encouraged to report when storage solutions are not working, to cut down on mistakes and lost stock in the long run.

  1. Ignoring mistakes

There is little point in encouraging good reporting systems if nothing changes afterwards. It is disheartening for staff to have to repeat the same processes when they know they are not working.

There is, of course, more to a successful inventory than storage. However, getting the right retail storage solutions is a crucial starting point.

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