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An inventory taker is a person who specializes in tracking inventory in a retail establishment, factory, warehouse, or other business. The inventory taker may work for that company, or he or she may work for an independent inventorying company that will visit a business for a set period of time to take an inventory of all items in that space. These professionals will then create a master list of items in the store or business, as well as the value of each item, any items that are not sellable or usable, and so on.
Sometimes the inventory taker will conduct the inventorying process by hand, meaning he or she will physically handle each item and make a record of it on paper. In other cases, the inventory taker will use scanning devices to scan the barcodes on each item; the items are then logged automatically in a computer system. The latter method is much quicker and takes less work overall, but it requires that every item in a store or business feature a tag with a barcode on it. If an item does not feature a barcode to be scanned, it can be entered manually into the computer, or a barcode can be generated for the item, but such fixes require additional time and effort.
The requirements a person must meet to become an inventory taker are fairly minimal. A high school education or equivalent qualification is usually the only basic requirement, though on the job training will also be necessary to learn how to use scanning devices, how to inventory items, and how to adhere to all other practices instituted by the inventorying company. Some companies may require the potential inventory taker to have a driver's license so he or she can travel to various locations for inventorying as well. Basic math skills will be necessary to work in this job, as will basic communications skills. Computer skills are usually also desired or required, as inventory taking personnel will work with computerized hand units as well as various computer software.
The pay for an inventory taker position is usually fairly low to start. Minimum wage is common for such a position, though many companies pay slightly better than minimum wage for inventory taking services. Inventory takers can be promoted to supervisory positions or other more advanced positions fairly quickly, provided they undergo the appropriate training and display exemplary work ethic.