Stock Controller Job Description
Stock controllers maintain a company’s inventory, replenishing items according to business needs and implementing purchases, audits, and transfers. While taking care of logistics is a major part of the job, stock controllers must also be adept planners who can use sales data to gauge when and how much to restock. Often found in retail, wholesale, or import and export industries, they typically report to a store manager. Adaptability is important to this role, as they must always be on the lookout for changes in inventory and work may extend to evenings, weekends, or holidays, depending on the company’s schedule.
Stock Controller Duties and Responsibilities
The duties of a stock controller vary based on industry and employer, but job postings frequently list the following as major tasks that stock controllers must perform:
Ensure Stock Availability
The primary responsibility of stock controllers is maintaining optimal levels of stock at all times. Aside from constantly evaluating product count, they must foresee supply and demand, taking a strategic approach to replenishing so that both overstocking and running out of stock are avoided.
Handle Purchases and Transfers
Stock controllers carry out the entire phase of product purchasing, from selecting and negotiating with suppliers to tracking shipments and receiving orders. It’s their job to ensure that purchases arrive on time and in good condition. They also take charge of internal stock transfers, moving products to other store branches if needed or removing obsolete items.
Once new items arrive, stock controllers place them into storage using a meticulous process that involves tagging, boxing, and labeling. Because they follow a specific organization scheme that guarantees ease of retrieval, preparing items for display becomes efficient, and they maintain a steady flow of stock from storage to shelf throughout the workday.
Stock controllers maintain an accurate inventory of both stock items and transactions, noting down dates of purchase and receipt, item count and details, issues encountered, and more. They consolidate this into regular reports presented to other department units such as finance and sales.
Given the constant flow of products, stock controllers must undertake inventory audits to eliminate discrepancies. Audits for small batches occur every day, while large-scale audits may be performed monthly and annually. These involve checking for quality as well as making sure that finances add up and all products are listed in the inventory with correct details.
Stock Controller Skills and Qualifications
Stock controllers are proactive, organized professionals who maintain inventory records while using hands-on management skills to procure new items. Attention to detail is key to thriving in this fast-paced role. Employers look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field and the following skills:
- Supply chain management – stock controllers are proficient with moving items through the various phases of the supply chain. Remaining calm in high-pressure situations, they confidently handle challenges such as delayed deliveries or errors in product count
- Negotiation – because they’re the main point of contact for suppliers during purchases, stock controllers must have the interpersonal skills required to maintain good business relationships. They should also be excellent negotiators who can arrive at optimal prices for bulk orders
- Accuracy – because stock controllers are in charge of inventory, they need to accurately process and record details, especially numbers
- Data analysis – demand for products is often shifting, so stock controllers should adjust to this when replenishing stock and make estimates based on data such as industry trends and sales statistics
- Organization skills – being organized is vital to this role since there’s very little room for error. To keep the product supply consistent, stock controllers must be aware of the inventory at all times while accomplishing multiple transactions based on strict deadlines
Tools of the Trade
Stock controllers work with these tools on a daily basis:
- Pricing guns (sticker guns, laser guns)
- Spreadsheets (such as paper inventory tools and Microsoft Excel)
- Inventory software (such as NetSuite, Zoho Inventory, Fishbowl)
Stock Controller Education and Training
Many companies look for stock controllers with a degree in business administration, logistics, product management, or a related field. Previous experience in stock management, preferably in the same industry, also helps set candidates apart. Since this role mostly hinges on practical expertise, formal on-the-job training is very brief, and those who are hired as stock controllers learn directly through actual tasks.
Stock Controller Salary and Outlook
Job data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics show that logisticians, including stock controllers, receive a median annual salary of $75,000. The lowest 10 percent of earners make less than $45,000 yearly, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $120,000.
It’s projected that employment for stock controllers will grow by an average rate of 7 percent through 2026. The main reason for this is globalization, with businesses increasing their inventory as they expand to international markets. On the other hand, mergers of logistic companies could dampen this growth.
Build the skills needed to become a stock controller and learn strategies for success in this career path with the following resources:
Operations and Supply Chain Management – a strong foundation in supply chain management is essential for stock controllers, and this textbook, which is required reading in some MBA courses, does well as a refresher or an introductory guide
Association for Supply Chain Management – this global supply chain community offers a well-rounded bundle of learning resources. Stock controllers may be interested in its inventory accuracy workshops and its Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) program
The Definitive Guide to Inventory Management: Principles and Strategies for the Efficient Flow of Inventory Across the Supply Chain – geared toward both students and professionals, this book delves deep into every aspect of inventory management, including basic concepts, recommended approaches, and performance metrics
Inventory Management – Dr. Narender Sumukadas, who teaches operations management at the University of Hartford, uploads lecture videos on this YouTube channel. Stock controllers can home in on the inventory management module of his lecture series to learn more about different inventory systems
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In – stock controllers looking to improve their negotiation skills can turn to this classic business book, which presents a step-by-step strategy based on the Harvard Negotiation Project
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