Retail businesses rely on large inventory to serve the customers, so inventory loss is one of the common risks to handle. In inventory loss, there are differences between the stock data and the actual amounts of the items. For example, a sportswear store shows 200 pairs of yellow running shoes in the data, but only 194 pairs of shoes are in the warehouse.
All good businesses need to incorporate inventory loss prevention as one of their strategies. Here is everything you need to know about it and how business owners can do it, even those who just started.
Inventory loss prevention is a strategy to reduce the discrepancy between the inventory data and the actual stock. The goal is not to eliminate the loss but to reduce the amounts of preventable loss (shrinkage).
There are several common causes behind inventory loss. Thefts and frauds are common, both by employees and people outside the businesses who access the inventory. Low product qualities can also cause shrinkage in inventory because the products are damaged or deteriorate.
There are also cases of administrative error, mistakes in the inventory review process, or vendor fraud. Some customers may conduct return fraud, returning items to the sellers and claiming a refund despite the items not being qualified. Sometimes, the shrinkage is recorded as “unattributed losses” because the causes cannot be determined.
If businesses keep experiencing shrinkage in their inventory, the impacts will affect their revenues and customers. Many businesses or stores often make customers cover the shrinkage loss by increasing the prices, damaging customers’ impressions toward the businesses.
Since inventory loss has multiple causes, you need to conduct several strategies to reduce it. Here are some common steps to prevent shrinkage in the inventory:
Create a strong screening process for applicants, and make sure this is in the SOP. A good screening will reduce the risks of inventory loss caused by employee thefts.
Investing extra money in security measures can impact your inventory significantly. Combine several security aspects such as coded locking system, security forces, CCTV, and integrated security dashboard. If losses keep happening, review your current security measures to see whether they are still adequate or not.
Multiple checks must be mandatory on inventor flow, such as during the going in and out processes. Everyone responsible for these tasks must double-check and compare the numbers with the current inventory record and invoices.
If your business often deals with multiple vendors, make sure you screen each prospective vendor. Check the reviews of those vendors and make sure they are officially listed, without a history of legal troubles or criminal accusations. It is to reduce the risks of experiencing vendor fraud.
If the shrinkage is caused by deteriorating or damaged products, review your quality control measures. Quality control must also be done regularly to spot any defects or damages. Use the reports to review the products and improve the production and storage methods.
Checking the inventory and conducting quality control are complicated tasks because you must deal with large amounts of products in the warehouse or stock. You can make the tasks easier by using management software like Nimbly.
Nimbly is a management software with an issue tracker feature that automatically notifies users when defects or risk factors are detected. Business owners can adjust this feature so they can immediately notice problems in the inventory. The information can be shared with other people that have been approved in the network, like the managers, auditors, and quality controllers.
With this feature, business owners can notice problems even before entering the warehouse. Getting notifications about possible thefts, frauds, or inconsistencies in inventory can also help businesses find out about the causes sooner. You can also make the report immediately before sharing it with anyone in the company that needs the info.
In short, inventory loss prevention is something that must be the main part of every business activity. Reduce repeated losses by conducting various preventive acts, and use management software like Nimbly to track any issues and help you with quick problem-solving.