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Why regular stock taking is necessary

Stock-taking or inventory checking is a common part of the warehousing process that consists of verifying the quantity and the conditions of goods. It is a process that is traditionally done manually and is not done frequently enough. The lack of inventory stock-taking usually results from restricted staff capabilities and timing constraints: warehouses are often huge, and by the time stock-taking is done, the data is already outdated.

What happens when stock-taking is done regularly?

Never run out of stock and stay compliant

This is one of the most obvious answers but it is still important to remember it, as mistakes regarding quantity of goods are common in logistics. Assuming that a warehouse has a product in stock (when the product is in fact out of stock), fulfilling an order because of outdated quantity numbers happens more often than we would like. It extends the lead time and compromises customer satisfaction, and ultimately their desire to order again, especially when current customer expectations are same-day deliveries.

Regular checks mean managers get full visibility of the inventory with near real-time data. They have better control over goods and can make more accurate business decisions.

Identify damaged goods quicker

The quality of goods can change throughout its journey within the warehouse. Even when the goods are stocked, they are not exempt from getting damaged. Identifying damaged goods too late, on outbound shipments or even preventing sending damaged goods to customers represents a waste of time, and resources and can, again, compromise customer satisfaction. Accessing updated data (e.g. pictures) on goods helps identify more quickly goods that are damaged.

Quickly find goods across the warehouse

Warehouses can be huge, and it is without a surprise that many goods are lost within a facility. Depending on the industry, if the goods are perishable, they are wasted stock. In general, stock being in the wrong place is not ideal: when pickers can’t find the goods they are looking for, they waste time and effort going up and down the aisle.

Regular stock-taking allows the staff to identify misplaced goods in the warehouse faster, and more often and to pick goods at the right location 100% of the time.

Optimise space to fit more volume

Many warehouses are not aware of how much space they have available on racks until they check. Warehouse space is becoming very rare. While many companies are looking for new infrastructures for more space, it is a mistake not to look for space within the existing ones. As mentioned before, the lack of visibility over inventory impacts business decisions and often results in a waste of resources.

Conducting regular checks help free up the space and identify gaps on the racks.

Save precious time through automation

Stocktaking takes a long time! To be effective, stock-taking should be done as many times as possible throughout the day to gather accurate data on goods and inventory. Also, manual process management accounts for the majority of inventory fulfilment issues, mainly due to the repetitive and exhausting nature of the task.

It has become unrealistic to ask staff to conduct regular stock-taking: automating stock-taking is the way forward in the logistics industry.

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This company has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 849938