An inventory clerk keeps track of stock that moves in and out of a specified location, commonly referred to as a stockroom. He may work in a factory, retail or wholesale outlet, distribution center or warehouse. Although many inventory clerks work alone, in large operations he may have an assistant who helps him in maintaining the inventory levels.
Most companies depend upon accurate and adequate inventories to keep their customers happy and their revenues profitable. An inventory clerk is customarily depended upon to accurately track the movement of the goods in his charge to prevent production delays and avoid lost sales. Good record keeping is generally considered imperative to successful inventory control.
When a shipment of products is received, the inventory clerk is normally the person who confirms the delivery with his signature. Although he commonly performs a cursory inspection upon receipt, the clerk generally conducts a more in-depth examination as he unpacks the delivery. As he places the goods in the appropriate bins and on the correct racks and shelves, he traditionally separates damaged and incorrectly shipped items for return to the shipper.
The correctly-received merchandise is typically priced or marked with identifying information as it is organized in the stockroom to facilitate easy retrieval. When a request for items is received by the stock clerk, he processes the order. Using a computer, handheld electronic device or a handwritten log, the inventory clerk normally updates the record of the product transfer.
In addition to dispensing goods upon request, someone in this position is ordinarily in charge of reordering products as the stock becomes low. This responsibility may include all goods in the stockroom or be limited to regularly needed goods. Special items that are offered for limited periods of time or seasonal merchandise may require additional authorization for the order to be processed.
Besides keeping track of merchandise, an inventory clerk is generally in charge of stockroom maintenance. This usually includes keeping the room clean and free of clutter that may pose safety hazards or impede the movement of goods in and out of the room. If the contents require storage at a prescribed temperature, he is frequently the person who is in charge of controlling the thermostat.
There are no educational requirements for this position. Basic math, writing and computer skills are generally preferred. Job experience in record maintenance or product tracking is a desirable background for applicants.