Stock control in a warehouse is an essential element in the management of your business. Indeed, this allows you to always keep an optimal quality of products in stock, rigorously track stock, and plan the quantities to come for future product orders.
What are the most popular inventory control systems? There are many stock control systems, but manual tracking, computerized tracking and robotic tracking are the most common systems found in stores.
These three systems can be used in independent retail stores or in multi-location stores, such as franchises, corporate chains or networks of stores. Let’s take a closer look at how each of these stock control systems works.
Manual inventory tracking is a process usually used by independent retailers who do not have computerized or robotic software, either because of the small size of the store or because of their very limited budget. In other words, businesses that operate with a manual system are used to tracking their inventory by hand and do not want a computerized system or have simply not thought about making the transition.
There are many tools available to ensure manual inventory management, but this type of monitoring has many disadvantages that we will discuss in this article. Manual monitoring can be done through a stock register, a replenishment system or with stock records.
A stock register is a manual system that is mainly suitable for small companies that do not have a large quantity of products. Indeed, a stock register is used to track all data on the location of the product and related activities. It is therefore a simple and easy-to-use tool that allows you to keep track of your current inventory and forecast the amount of stock that will be received or issued in the future.
An inventory replenishment system is an order that, with automated tracking, automatically sends an inventory renewal order to a supplier or manufacturer when the inventory level is low. However, in manual tracking, the operation is a human action, i.e. the order is sent manually.
The use of stock records saves time by classifying products in inventory and quickly identifying the location of inventory for commercial use.
More regular inventory verification: by manually tracking your inventory, you perform a much more regular, manual and diligent inventory verification than a computerized system that does this for you.
- Simplicity: For a small retail business, it is sometimes easier to do a manual follow-up than to implement a computerized system that can be more expensive than the return on investment it will generate.
- Sense of control: The store owner can have a greater sense of control over the inventory in their store by performing manual tracking. Indeed, they can keep an eye on all their merchandise and make a rigorous follow-up.
- Data loss or damage risk: If your inventory management tools are not scanned, they may be lost or damaged (for example, if you keep your data on paper sheets).
- Presence of duplicate or forgotten products in the inventory: If you have several stores, the risk of reordering your inventory or forgetting one or more products is much higher with manual tracking.
- Difficulty in keeping track of your inventory: It can be difficult to find your way through the many files or stock sheets. This may reflect in poor organization or less efficient management of your store.
- Difficulty tracking your store remotely: Without computer software to manage your inventory, it is almost impossible to track activities remotely if you do not physically own the documents. The latter are not synchronized between your store and therefore takes longer if you need to change information.
- Increasing working time: This is an important negative aspect to consider when it comes to recording your inventory for each store. In addition to increasing the risk of errors, you lose a lot of time and, therefore, money.
- Requires constant attention: This point is especially not to be neglected since manual tracking requires constant attention and deems you responsible in case of errors.
- Risk of human error: Despite impeccable attention, rigorous monitoring and outstanding organization, it is likely that some errors will occur when you carryout manual monitoring.