Why You’re Experiencing So Much Inventory Waste

For any retail or eCommerce business, one of the most widespread causes of loss is that of poorly managed inventory. When items go missing, get damaged, spoil, or otherwise become impossible to sell, it’s a direct hit to your business’s budget. Here, we’re going to look at some of the major causes of this inventory loss, as well as what you can do about it.

This is a contributed post. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.

Missing items

Some items are simply going to go missing. This doesn’t mean that they vanish into thin air but, whether it’s due to getting lost in the stockroom, being accidentally sent out, or just being thrown out accidentally, you are going to have items that disappear without any malice behind it. To stop that, it’s a wise idea to use a digital inventory system alongside a barcode scanner that allows you track the last known location of any item, and ensure that everyone who handles inventory is responsible for updating its status when they do.


It’s not the most pleasant occurrence to think about, but it’s unfortunately not uncommon in the world of retail. Aside from using the inventory system as mentioned above, you should make sure you’re preventing theft by hiring the best possible people. A background check can ensure that you’re not hiring anyone with a record of having committed similar offences, before. Controlling who has access to your stockroom by providing a key to only those responsible and meant to be handling inventory can cut down on the chances of experiencing loss by theft, too.


It’s not just food, there are plenty of products that can spoil over time, especially if they’re not kept in the right conditions. For that reason, you must make sure that you have controlled environment storage options such as water cooled chillers ready for any products that can and will spoil without them. Otherwise, ensure that you have a system to track the spoilage date of every item in your inventory. Know when you need to have them shipped out by to avoid them being spoiled by the time they get into your customers’ hands and track your spoilage rates so you don’t over-order items that end up spoiling more often.

Damage in packing/transit

If your items are turning up damage, the only reason is that enough care isn’t being taken to secure them and move them as responsibly as your team can. Using the right box with the right packing materials, such as foam peanuts, can help you prevent damage. Similarly, you should avoid using oversized boxes that allow for too much movement, and ensure that there is a process for taping them up correctly. If your team can’t handle your inventory with damage, you might want to look at working with a fulfilment service provider instead.

Putting a stop to lost inventory isn’t easy. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a problem for most businesses. You’re likely to experience it to some degree for as long as you have inventory to lose. The tips above can, however, help you minimize it.

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