Retail Stock Management: The Cycle of Insanity

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121AD – 180AD)

Is this a comedy of errors or a tragedy?

1. INT. STORE (AISLE 6) – MONDAY, 10:34AM

RICK – a retail department manager – sees a confused looking CUSTOMER in front of one of the shelves he manages. He approaches to see if he can help.

RICK
Is there something I can help you with?

CUSTOMER
I need one of these, but I can't find any.

RICK scans the shelf tag (Item #542317) and the system shows an on hand balance of 24 units.

RICK
That's weird. I better check the back room. Give me a few minutes.

RICK walks back to the stockroom and opens the door.

STOCKROOM

Upon opening the door, RICK is confronted with a disorganized mess of cartons – some already opened – haphazardly packed onto shelves and pallets of stock on the floor stacked 3 deep against the wall.

RICK

I'm never going to find it. I'll just write it off and the system will order more.

He takes out his trusty handheld device and, with a few keystrokes, wipes out the 24 on hand units in the system. He heads back to the CUSTOMER who is patiently waiting for him in Aisle 6.

BACK IN AISLE 6

RICK
I couldn't find any back there, but we should have some more by the end of the week.

CUSTOMER
(disappointed)
Oh, okay.

2. INT. RETAIL STORE (RECEIVING) – MONDAY, 4:55PM

SALLY – the receiving manager – is looking at her daily reports and sees that there are quite a few trucks coming over the next few days. The mayhem in the stockroom has caused to pile up in her receiving area and she anticipates disaster by week's end. She leaves a note to the night crew asking them to get as much stock out of the stockroom onto the sales floor as possible.

3. INT. HOME OFFICE (SERVER ROOM) – TUESDAY, 2:25AM

Lights are blinking in the dark room as the computer assisted ordering system (CAO) is combing through the stock records for RICK's store. CAO comes across a zero balance for Item #542317.

CAO
They're ! I had better send them another case!

CAO sends a request to the DC for 24 units of Item #542317, due into the store on their Thursday shipment.

4. INT. RETAIL STORE (RICK'S DEPARTMENT) – TUESDAY, 5:55AM

RICK arrives to see that the night crew has been very busy. There are pallets of stock in every aisle waiting to be put on the shelves. He gets to work.

AISLE 6

As RICK is working his stock, he comes across a case of 24 units of Item #542317 that was somewhere in the stockroom.

RICK
There you are! I've been looking for you! Well, not really.

He fills up the shelf with stock and admires his work. He brings back all of the stock he couldn't fit on the shelf back to the stockroom. It's still messy in there, but at least there's some room to move around. He doesn't update the on hand balance to reverse the writeoff he processed on Monday.

5. INT. RETAIL STORE (RECEIVING) – THURSDAY, 8:51PM

The Thursday shipment has arrived. SALLY has been struggling to keep up all week and the stockroom is really getting jammed again. Before leaving for the day, she approaches PHIL, the night crew manager.

SALLY
PHIL, I really need you to clear out Receiving tonight! I have more trucks coming tomorrow to get us through the weekend and I don't have any room to bring them in!

PHIL
No problem, will do!

6. INT. RETAIL STORE (RICK'S DEPARTMENT) – FRIDAY, 5:53AM

RICK arrives and sees that there are lots of pallets of stock in his aisles that need to be put away. It's the weekend, so he isn't surprised. He gets to work cutting open cartons and filling shelves.

AISLE 6

RICK picks up a case of 24 units of Item #542317 that CAO requested in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. A few units have sold since Tuesday, but the shelf is still mostly full and the new stock won't fit.

RICK
(frustrated)
Stupid replenishment system! Either I'm out of stock or I have way too much!

He sets the case back down onto the pallet to take back to the stockroom after he's done filling the shelves.

STOCKROOM

RICK starts shoving his excess stock wherever it can fit, including the case of Item #542317. He puts in on a shelf, slides it to the back and then puts a couple boxes of other stock in front of it. It's been a rough morning so he heads to the break room to get something to eat. The writeoff he processed on Monday is now a distant memory. Even though there are 40+ pieces of Item #542317 in the store, the system thinks there are only 24. Hopefully it will get corrected when they do the physical inventory after Christmas.

7. INT. RETAIL STORE (AISLE 6) – 3 WEEKS LATER

RICK sees a confused looking CUSTOMER in front of one of the shelves he manages. He approaches to see if he can help.

RICK
Is there something I can help you with?

CUSTOMER
I need one of these, but I can't find any.

RICK scans the shelf tag (Item #542317) and the system shows an on hand balance of 24 units.

RICK
That's weird. I better check the back room. Give me a few minutes…

FADE TO BLACK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *