Inventory control is a major concern for any business that maintains parts or products in order to conduct business. As such, inventory department employees play a key role in helping balance the cost of maintaining inventory with the need for keeping a certain amount of stock on hand. A front-line employee in this balancing act is an inventory control clerk.
Your role as an inventory control clerk focuses on managing informational and physical aspects of inventory control. This includes keeping track of both incoming and outgoing inventory products and items from a stock room or warehouse. Although this is a front-line, entry-level position, usually requiring only a high diploma or GED certificate, the duties you perform as an inventory control clerk are essential.
While your specific duties may vary by employer, informational aspects of your job often include creating and maintaining inventory records and files. Inventory records form the core of an inventory system, and include item details such as the amount, type, cost, material, equipment or stock on hand. You then organize these individual records within a paper or computer filing system to facilitate the process of tracking. The preparation of inventory reports may also be your responsibility. These reports provide inventory balance and cost information, highlight areas with overages or shortages, and help your employer make decisions on appropriate stock levels.
Physical aspects of your job include entering items into inventory, removing items from inventory and filling requisition forms to reorder inventory items as necessary. After entering items into your inventory system, a common next step is unpacking, marking, coding or pricing, and then organizing products or items on stock shelves. Removing items from inventory can mean repacking for shipment or handing out for inclusion in the manufacturing process.
Experience and formal education can provide opportunities for advancement to an inventory control supervisory position. Most often, you will need a four-year college degree in business management, business administration or industrial distribution to move up. Industry certification is optional but may also enhance your employment or advancement options. The Association for Operations Management offers a certification in production and inventory management that focuses on five core areas of inventory control, including the basics of supply chain management, master planning of resources, advanced supply chain management, procurement, and materials management and purchasing.