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What is an Inventory Clerk?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By wander — On Jun 03, 2011

If you get offered a job as an inventory clerk and you are the only person doing it, or are on a small team, make sure that you like working alone.

While some stores do this as a staff project, others segregate shipping and receiving duties into a back warehouse. This can mean many hours spent in solitude organizing inventory.

I think this job is great for people who enjoy keeping everything orderly and don't want to spend as much time with the public.

Usually this job starts at minimum wage. But it really depends on what your in charge of. The wage cap seems to be around $25USD an hour for specialized goods that require extra knowledge.

By animegal — On Jun 02, 2011

If you ever work in a retail store the chance of you ending up being an inventor clerk for at least part of your time at the store is pretty high. This is especially true of smaller stores.

I worked in a fair size video store, and all the staff had to accept incoming packages, count inventory and note things that had to be reordered. As far as the storeroom went, we took turns keeping that clean and organized.

This job isn't too hard, but once you start counting inventory in store, it can be very tedious. I remember evenings of all the staff having to scan every movie in shop, it took hours.

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