Stock taking methods

STM Process: 5 steps to offer the best accuracy and reliability of your stocks

The Ivalis Group is one of the pioneer of the Stocktaking Market in Europe. Born in 1991, the company developed fast all over the continent, building subsidiaries in most European countries. The Group is now also based in Brazil and North Africa. The success of the group is based on the ability to offer a very challenging process based on accuracy and reliability on stock information. Over years, this process – STM (Stocktaking Methodology) - has become the Standard of the market in all retail segments. It is an exclusivity from Ivalis.

Step 1 : Zoning

To make sure that all products have been counted, The STM methodology starts with the definition of an address (a label with a bar-code) for every location in the store: the zoning. To avoid mistakes, a review is then made with both the inventory manager and the store manager before the start of the count. Once it is checked and approved, each location is entered into the software so that the computer can check before the end of the count that he got stocks information for every location.

One of the specificities of the STM Methodology is in the way to size each location:

–        The “easy way” would consist in a very large zoning: the inventory supplier will take less time and will use less labels… Easy but not accurate enough.

–        The STM way recommends a very tight zoning to increase the accuracy and to make controls a lot more efficient.

The STM Methodology will also define specific rules – based on a 20 year experience – for each specific area decreasing massively risks of mistakes from counters.

Step 2 : Counting

Depending on what type of products will be counted (needs are not the same for tins of green peas or jackets of different sizes) the type of count will change: either quantity scanning or single scan.

–        The “easy way” would consist in promoting quantity scanning because it is faster to count.

–        The STM methodology will define the best approach based on what type of products will be counted and what is the level of risks of mistakes.

Accuracy being the highest priority, STM will always recommend what is best from this perspective: it will be part of the proposal, always written into the specific process and all scanners will be set up accordingly.

Step 3 : Controls

This is “the heart” of the STM Methodology: to control every counter and to be able to give evidence of the accuracy of the count. In real time, anywhere at any time.

Those controls are systematically made by the inventory teams but in the STM Methodology, it is also key to give the opportunity to the store team to check what has been done. As part of this very transparent process, Ivalis has developed several types of controls. Very recently the group developed for instance “green controls”: with a simple scan of any zoning label, a store manager can check immediately on the scanner screen what has been counted on this specific address.

This transparency is also very much linked to the tight zoning. As you can imagine, it becomes very difficult to control an address when you have hundreds of items.

Step 4 : Corrections

Corrections are a key leverage in the final result of the inventory as long as they are done in a very specific way:

–        Every location with a mistake must be fully recounted.

–        All types of mistakes must be analyzed and registered

–        Corrections will be implemented only after a validation of it.

In the STM Methodology, the inventory supplier must be able to provide all statistics about counters, number and type of mistakes, etc…

Step 5 : Validation

No inventory can be validated as long as the software has not guaranteed that all locations have been counted.

All controls must be completed

Agreed reports must have been issued and given accordingly to the process

The Inventory team is allowed to take off labels and leave the store floor only once the validation from the store manager.