One of the things you have to worry about as a business owner is how inventory and stock is handled. This includes both inventory kept in storage as well as stock shipped out to distributors and customers. Mistakes can be costly. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers lost $45.2 billion in inventory to shrinkage in 2015.

Damaged and lost inventory is a huge problem. With that in mind, here are some tips that can help insure that your products remain safe both while in storage and while in transit.

Give Your Employees the Right Tools and Vehicles

If you want your inventory to be handled properly, your employees need to be supplied with the right kind of equipment to do the job. For one, you need devices integrated with inventory management software to properly track inventory as it enters and leaves the warehouse. This should include things like bar code scanners and apps designed to work in tandem with the software.

Second, the vehicles provided to warehouse employees are extremely important. If the items you store in your warehouse are very heavy or come in hefty pallets packed tall with products, a fork lift is a must have. If you don’t provide your employees with vehicles like a fork lift, workplace injuries are a near certainty. Companies like Crown Equipment offer wide ranges of equipment and vehicles to fit any size of warehouse. This is an investment worth doing some homework on.

Control the Environment

You can’t simply stick inventory into a warehouse and forget about it. This will certainly result in shrinkage. Instead, your warehouse should be a tightly controlled environment. This includes security. Your inventory should remain under surveillance at all times. It’s not only break-ins that you have to worry about. According to Forbes, retailers lose $60 billion each year to theft by employees.

You also have to insure that your warehouse remains at the right temperature. Certain products can be ruined if they get too hot or too cold. A warehouse should also be a dry environment. Moisture can of course breed mold that can destroy stock. While a warehouse should be dry, it should also not be a fire hazard. Have proper fire detection and prevention systems installed in your warehouse.

Closely Track Shipments

You also need to remain concerned about your stock while it’s in transit. Work with distributors and shipping companies you can trust to not harm your products. This should include guarantees that they will pay for any lost stock that is their fault. Also provide customers with the ability to use tracking numbers to track their packages during each step of the process.

Overall, you can’t be lackadaisical about how you handle inventory. If you are, you are sure to have stock that is either damaged or destroyed. The cost for your company could be in the tens of thousands.