How can you avoid using the “Closed for Inventory” sign?
We most often think it is only natural to close the store or company for the time of the inventory. We handle the resulting losses due to the fact that business activities are suspended and we are unable to meet customer needs during the inventory. On completion of each inventory, we always hope that the time we have to keep closed because of it will be shorter next time… But, to quote Albert Einstein
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
To minimise the losses caused by inventories, you have to take specific steps.
The importance of the issue is shown if you think about it from the perspective of the customer, who will be disappointed to see the “Closed for Inventory” sign on your front door.
The situation is hardly better in the case of online stores, where the newest studies show that you have about ~30 seconds to catch your customer’s interest. If you tell him/her to return tomorrow because of inventory, you can kiss the customer goodbye.
The correct timing of the inventory is therefore of key importance, as performing it during opening hours can be frustrating for both the customer and the company. How much can the time spent closed be decreased? How can you avoid using the “Closed for Inventory” sign? What is the solution?
The ideal situation for an inventory is performing it when the store is closed anyway, such as:
- early morning
However, the implementation of such a solution raises other issues. Who should perform the inventory, and how, in these times? As the employer employs its employees for the company’s business hours, having them work outside those results in (significant) additional costs, not to mention the fact that employee and team morale will hardly be sunshine and rainbows if these tasks are added to their working hours.
We’re not saying that the only solution is to outsource inventory, but it is certainly the most effective and comfortable solution over the long term. Why do we say that?
Because everyone can organise an inventory for themselves, even with external workers and even at night-time, but in that case the organisational (e.g. working hour scheduling, procurement of equipment, etc.) and training tasks will also be borne by the company’s employees. These can result in significant amounts of stress who, in our experience, will end up on “vacation” on the week following the inventory… Additional difficulties arise if
- the external workers don’t show up on the day of the inventory, or
- they show up but have not participated in training beforehand and the 6-7 hours planned for the inventory suddenly becomes 8-9 hours, and
- the workers do not have the necessary routine, which may drop efficiency rates by 20-30%,
If you outsource the activity, you can contract a company that can use these difficulties to its advantage, as that is the inventory service provider’s main activity.
If you don’t believe us, give it a try.
By: Eszter Puskás & András Takács