The procedure of stocktake is an essential process in any retail business. Without it, one would not know whether one needs to order more stock, whether an item is doing well in sales or not, or whether shrinkage is occurring in a store. Traditional stocktaking methods typically take place annually or quarterly and are a very time-consuming process that is often not as accurate as intended.

This begs the question; “How does one improve the stocktake process in retail”?

In this article, we will explain how the traditional process of physical stocktake is done, as well as how one can improve this process by making use of RFID technology.

Physical Stocktaking Procedure

Traditionally stocktake requires staff to physically count and annotate the inventory on the shelves as well as the stock available in the storeroom. The physical stocktake process consists of three phases.

  • Preparation: Before the stocktake can officially begin, some preparation must be done. Preparation will typically include organising and grouping inventory for easy location and counting. It is also best practice to assign specific areas to specific staff members to speed up the counting process. One will also get the necessary stocktake sheets ready on which staff members will annotate stock levels.
  • The Count: Once the preparation has been completed one can start the process of counting. Every item and the quantity of each should be counted and annotated with accuracy. If absolute accuracy is not achieved in this phase, discrepancies will occur and inventory records will not be reliable.
  • Comparison: Once the count has been completed, one should compare the figures to the current inventory records. If discrepancies are encountered, they should be resolved immediately. This could indicate that the count was not accurate or that shrinkage has occurred. Once the discrepancies have been resolved and records have been successfully updated, the stocktaking process is complete.

What Are the Ways to Improve Stocktaking?

Physical stocktake takes a lot of time and resources to complete and is often unreliable. This has encouraged retailers to look for an alternative solution that might increase the accuracy and speed with which this process is completed. The answer to this has come in the form of RFID technology.

The time that the stocktaking process takes can be reduced by up to 99% when installing a complete RFID system that includes an RFID encoding station, point-of-sale reader, handheld reader, and overhead loss prevention system at entrances and exits. This will allow for continuous annotation of stock as you will know where every product is at all times. You will also be able to locate stock from a distance and be warned when stock is leaving the store that has not been paid for. This system is cloud-based, meaning that you can access stock information at any time. Not only will this system increase accuracy and efficiency, but it will also save money in the long run as the store will not have to close down to perform stocktake and/or staff will not have to work and be paid for overtime work to complete the stocktake process. RFID stock takes are quicker, and more accurate with the added benefit of knowing the location of stock items. There are fewer discrepancies and the discrepancies are easier and quicker to resolve.

At Milestone Integrated Systems we specialise in finding and installing stocktake and shrinkage solutions to improve your retail business. Contact our team to find out how you can implement RFID technology in your store.