Every business relies on the quality of their staff; no matter if they’re in marketing, on the shop floor, reception or wherever they may be, they are the lifeblood of what makes every company a success.
However, they are human and that means that they’ll inevitably make mistakes – it could be through having a bad day, having too much on their plate or equally through insufficient training. That myriad of reasons is exactly why human error and mistakes are one of the most common causes of stock loss for retailers in the UK.
It’s also why many retailers faced with the impact of Coronavirus, combined with common staffing issues at this time of year, should be keeping a close eye on their stock.
Let’s explain why…
High staff turnover
Generally, the longer someone is in a job, the better they are at it, the more they understand the processes and the more mistakes can be minimised. While that’s something of an oversimplification, it does ring true that having a high staff turnover is not good for minimising mistakes.
With that in mind, the average staff turnover for a business in the UK is 15% – for retailers it can be more than double that! This means that there’s a continual need for training and investment in people – while you’re training or new people are joining the business, mistakes will be made and that will impact the effectiveness of your stock counting.
The Christmas run-up
Experience tells us that the most effective and profitable retailers review stock levels not only at the start and end of a busy period, but also at regular periods during that period too. Why? They give themselves a beginning, a middle and an end to their stock level story, which in turn enables them to make better decisions, increase product availability and minimise over-purchasing on stock.
We’ve already said that staff turnover can lead to mistakes, so taking into account that more than quarter of a million temporary jobs are created in the retail sector in the run up to Christmas, and you’ll quickly understand the importance of regular stock checking to avoid small errors leading to large mistakes.
Many retailers have obviously struggled in light of the impact the Coronavirus has had on our high street. Many have used the furlough scheme to enable people to be retained (as of August 16, approximately 9.6 million jobs from 1.2 million different employers were furloughed in the UK), but what this has meant is that where staffing numbers are lower, the burden of work falls on a smaller number of individuals. This again can lead to mistakes being made and when combined with the complications of many retailers moving their operations online, it’s another strong indication that now is the time to be undertaking an audit of your stock.
The impact of self-isolation on your performance
While we’ve already seen some of the impact that the Coronavirus can have on retailers across the country, we’re still definitely not out of the woods when it comes to the effect it can have on employees. Take for example the current track and trace system, or the restrictions on international travel. If a staff member were to visit a country on the quarantine list, they would have to isolate for up to two weeks. The same would be true if they were to show symptoms and be unable to obtain a test.
Both of those scenarios lead to staff shortages and although many businesses are used to being relatively robust as we enter a flu season, the added absence caused from Coronavirus could easily lead to more mistakes being made when it comes to your stock.
With all of the factors above in play, now is a more important time than ever to be focusing on and understanding your stock levels.
For more information on how we can help your retail business understand your stock and improve your bottom line at these unpredictable times, give us a call on 01637 874609 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.