What does an Inventory Specialist do?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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An inventory specialist is someone who works for a business, typically a retail or manufacturing location, and is primarily responsible for dealing with inventory counts and issues in the store. This can be a lower position, where the title is primarily meant to sound more important than it really is, or a management position closely tied into the daily operations of the store. Regardless of the status of the position, the typical duties can often include performing daily counts, tracking down inventory problems, communicating with warehouses and distributors, organizing scheduled inventory counts, and effectively organizing the inventory of a business.

Inventory is generally regarded as the product or materials that are located at a retail store or manufacturing facility. It is sometimes also referred to as “physical inventory” and usually consists of the goods that a store sells or that a manufacturer uses to produce other products. In either type of establishment, inventory is important and so an inventory specialist is typically hired to ensure the proper counting and storage of such products.


Daily counts are often an important duty performed by an inventory specialist. These types of counts typically involve physically finding products in a store to ensure that what is in the store matches the records kept on computer or in other forms of bookkeeping. Errors in shipping, shoplifting, employee theft, and mishandling of products at sales registers can all lead to differences in physical inventory and what should be there. By performing these types of counts, mistakes and other issues can often be discovered and solved more quickly.

Since much of a business’s inventory comes in from other manufacturers or distributors, an inventory specialist may also have to deal with warehouses to determine the roots of inventory issues. If a pallet of merchandise was not on a truck, then the specialist will usually have to track down the pallet and ensure it reaches the store or facility where it belongs. Yearly store inventories are also a major aspect of what people in this position are often responsible for overseeing.

These types of yearly inventories often reveal “shrink” or “swell” in company profits through discovering that product is either missing or has been found in surplus to what should be present. Excessive shrink can often effect the employment of an inventory specialist, so precise counting is quite important to anyone in that position. Inventory specialists may also be responsible for ensuring that product is properly placed on shelves, so that customers can find what they are looking for. Excess product may need to be stored in overhead compartments, and an inventory specialist may also have to ensure that this is done in a way that is safe and efficient.


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Post 3

This position will never come up on Forbes' list of hot 100 careers. For those unfortunate enough to find themselves is such a position, it is a tedious, thankless, grossly undervalued role in any warehousing, distribution, or fabrication site (or combination of the three).

The bottom line? An "Inventory Specialist" (or any variation you choose) is essentially an embellished workhorse responsible for cleaning up the messes of everyone else on site. They perform 90 percent of the actual work, and only get 10% of the credit. The rest goes to their beloved manager. (We won't even get into the pay scale. Let's just say it makes cleaning toilets at Denny's look appealing.)

Have employees who are utterly lazy, worthless, and

can't bring themselves to follow simple stocking instructions? Who don't have basic computer skills and can't perform a simple two-click operation to move product from one location to another? Who can't follow standard operating procedure and create numerous systemic issues across multiple warehouses that require many lost weekends, holidays, and personal time all on behalf of the said "specialist"?

Who do you think is there for all these mandatory cleanups, rain or shine, to improve accuracy percentages to please auditors? And whose job is on the line if audit results are unsatisfactory? Certainly not yours. You can be thankful for that.

Post 2

I have a nephew who does this type of work, but I think he title is stock boy.

Post 1

I think that most inventory specialist jobs must be in larger companies, because smaller businesses typically have employees that multitask in many different areas. I've never even met anyone who has the job of inventory specialist.

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