Managing the inventory of an entire boutique can be a daunting task. It is a big responsibility and can be devastating if not done correctly. Inventory management is reported to be an area that most managers do not like to deal with, or have the most problems with. It can be time consuming and is a lot of work for one person. If you run a boutique, you probably do the inventory management yourself, along with all of the other responsibilities of the business.

Boutiques often have a harder time managing their inventory than big department stores, because bigger chains have money to hire outside inventory companies, or their inventory is closely tracked electronically. Boutique owners usually have to manually keep track of everything, which translates into a big job.

Delegating some of the work to your employees can help to take a lot of the grunt work out of the job. Divide the store into sections and have each employee work on the inventory counts in that section during down times. Assigning small sections to each employee keeps the job from becoming overwhelming for any one person. When everyone is done with their counts, have them go back and check each other’s numbers.

You can offer incentives and rewards for accurate counts if the employees seem unwilling to do the job. Holding a pizza party or something similar outside of business hours to get it done is a quick and effective way to do it. Letting everyone know that first they will count and then they will check another employee’s work will generally ensure that counts are accurate the first time around. You can also assign a team to each section so that they can take turns counting and double checking numbers.

Most companies make inventory counts outside of normal business hours a mandatory requirement. However, boutiques often have part-time employees with other obligations outside of their normal schedule. If you worry about making things mandatory and risking losing valued employees, offer extra discounts or bonus money to those who participate.

Avoid the problem of miscalculating how much time each section will take by having employees that finish early help out in other sections until everything is done. Have them take on an extra clothing rack or straighten out displays so that the store is ready to open on time. Clothing racks and displays can be marked with tags or notes so that everyone knows when a section is complete.

About the Author: John Garvey is on the staff of Only Garment Racks, a leading online source of clothing racks including garment racks. Find a high quality clothing rack or garment rack at