An inventory control specialist is the person charged with monitoring stock inflows and outflows in a logistics facility and ensuring that goods are replenished in their locations on the racks.
Continued commitment to warehouse digitisation has made the profile of an inventory control specialist more technology-oriented: more and more companies are using digital programs, e.g., warehouse management software, to automate stock control and eliminate the risk of error in inventory management.
Inventory control specialist description
An inventory control specialist is responsible for maintaining optimal stock levels to ensure that goods are available for order picking. In other words, this professional’s main job is to design and put in place procedures and techniques that optimise inventory management and guarantee order fulfilment in line with customer demand.
The inventory control specialist must have first-hand knowledge of the reorder point for each product, i.e., the ideal time the business should purchase materials from a supplier to maintain stock availability. To manage inventory effectively, this specialist needs to check the reorder point of each SKU regularly to ensure that the facility always has stock to meet demand and avoid stockouts.
This logistics profile collaborates with the warehouse manager on designing product slotting strategies. For example, the inventory control specialist is the first to detect whether certain SKUs are becoming depleted or a product’s turnover has changed. Thus, they have to notify the warehouse manager to redesign the strategy based on these developments.
As inventory control specialists manage stock in the facility, companies often also task them with training the operators involved in this activity on storage methods, workflows and types of products, among other aspects.
Inventory control specialist responsibilities
The duties of an inventory control specialist include:
- Develop and apply strategies to ensure optimal stock levels.
- Supervise procurement and inventory management processes.
- Identify and monitor stock turnover in the facility.
- Design strategies to organise obsolete and returned items (reverse logistics).
- Schedule cycle counting (if applicable).
- Prepare and provide training regularly for operators involved in inventory management.
As part of their duties, the inventory control specialist works with other area managers ― production, purchasing and marketing ― to optimise the company’s logistics operations. For instance, this technical profile coordinates with the logistics or warehouse manager to implement product slotting and order picking strategies.
Job profile of an inventory control specialist
An inventory control specialist has to know the characteristics of each SKU, the storage conditions they require and the warehouse layout design and distribution to employ an optimal logistics strategy. This technician has to be able to work under pressure, especially when goods receipts or shipments are late or incorrect.
For the position of inventory management specialist, companies require education in fields such as logistics or business, especially in big facilities or those with large quantities of SKUs. The inventory control specialist needs to be capable of performing tactical and strategic tasks while coordinating with other departments such as marketing, purchasing, sales and logistics.
Candidates for the position of inventory control specialist must demonstrate an excellent command of digital tools. More often than not, a warehouse management software program will assist them in their day-to-day. In addition to digital knowledge, this job profile requires mastery of management programs such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and manufacturing execution systems (MES), as well as basic devices like RF scanners.
WMS and the inventory control specialist
Growing numbers of businesses are digitising their warehouse processes to maximise throughput and minimise the risk of error in stock management. The profile of inventory control specialist has evolved from an operator charged with managing stock manually to an employee who uses software to perform their duties.
Deploying warehouse management software enables real-time control of goods entries and exits and of the status of each good stored. The job of an inventory control specialist involves designing a strategy that leverages the benefits of automating management, including product slotting, goods flows and procurement. Software like Easy WMS saves the inventory control specialist from having to perform cycle counts, automating stock management techniques and eliminating the risk of error during the process.
Ultimately, investment in management programs such as warehouse management systems (WMSs) has changed the nature of the responsibilities of an inventory control specialist. This person used to be in charge of periodic inventory counts. But today, this job profile is increasingly technical ― especially in large organisations. It calls for someone who can master software to devise stock management strategies and improve the throughput of logistics operations in the facility.
Against an omnichannel backdrop, in which facilities have more SKUs — but in fewer quantities — manual goods management entails the possibility of error. A WMS maintains real-time stock control, letting the inventory control specialist focus on designing strategies that, with the help of the software, ensure optimal goods management.
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