What your employees need to know about inventory management

Editorial Team

4 min read
Retail shop owner looking at tablet

In an already busy environment, adding inventory management to your employees’ plates may seem like an annoyance or a task to be pushed aside. While it’s true that training your team on inventory management requires time upfront, once they understand its value, each member can contribute significantly more to your store’s overall performance.

With inventory management knowledge, employees minimize waste, prevent stockouts, streamline operations, and eliminate excess carrying costs. Moreover, they have the tools to fulfill customer orders promptly and accurately, increasing customer loyalty in a highly competitive market.

Why inventory management is a team effort

Effective inventory management is a collaborative effort that involves your entire team. Each member plays an important role in helping to ensure accurate inventory counts, tracking product movement, and maintaining optimal stock levels. Inventory management affects practically every department in a small business. Some employees have a direct hand in it, like those who determine what products to order. Others more indirectly, such as the marketing team doing a campaign around excess inventory.

READ: Understanding the basics: 4 types of inventory for small businesses

Roles that lead inventory management

While every person on your team needs to understand inventory management, these roles have the most responsibility when it comes to optimizing stock counts and processes.


Business owners make strategic decisions about the store’s product assortment, inventory goals, and profitability. By actively engaging in inventory management, small business owners set the tone for the rest of the team and play a key role in driving efficiency and success.


The manager’s role involves overseeing and coordinating the day-to-day inventory operations. This includes receiving and stocking products, monitoring stock levels, identifying trends or patterns in demand, and making informed decisions about purchasing and replenishing inventory. One of the most important aspects of a manager’s job is collaborating with other departments, such as sales staff and marketing, to align inventory strategies with the overall business goals.


The buyer is in charge of selecting and purchasing inventory from suppliers based on market demand, sales trends, and the business’s inventory goals. This role requires strong analytical skills. Knowledge of market trends and effective communication with suppliers is key to maintaining optimal stock levels and product availability.

Sales associate

A sales associate accurately records sales transactions and updates inventory records to match. However, they also have the most visibility when it comes to product movement, which plays an essential role in identifying low stock levels and collecting customer feedback. This data informs purchasing decisions and inventory replenishment strategies.

How to train your team on inventory management

Though each team member will require a different approach to inventory management determined by their role, investing in the following inventory training methods for your company as a whole is critical.

1. Onboarding

Onboarding is key for new employees because it lays the foundation for successful inventory management practices from the start. Proper training in inventory management helps to ensure that your team understands the importance of accurate inventory counts, tracking product movement, and maintaining optimal stock levels. It familiarizes them with the processes and software necessary, such as Thrive’s inventory management system.

2. Cross-training

Cross-training reduces dependency on a single person and helps avoid disruptions in case of absence or turnover. That in turn means you have a more flexible and adaptable workforce. Employees can easily switch roles or take on additional responsibilities during peak periods, which can help maintain smooth inventory operations and prevent bottlenecks.

3. Recurring training

Recurring training sessions provide an opportunity to reinforce and refresh your team’s knowledge and skills in inventory management. Over time, employees may forget certain aspects or become complacent in their approach. Regular training reiterates important concepts, reinforces good habits, and addresses any areas that need improvement.

Arming your team with the right inventory management tools

Investing in an inventory management system allows your team to do their best work. By giving them the resources and tools to make the best decisions possible, they can run your business with confidence and spend their time where it’s most valuable. An inventory management system, like Thrive, has all the tools your team needs to enhance overall performance from barcode scanning cycle counts to auto-add purchase orders. It even has security and audit log features to help keep your team accountable.

Setting your team up for success

Proper inventory management is a team effort that requires understanding and collaboration from all employees. By embracing the principles of accurate inventory management, small businesses establish a solid foundation for success, drive growth, and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Thrive integrates seamlessly with Clover’s POS systems. Visit the Clover App Market to start using Thrive to manage your inventory today.

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