The Best Ways to Manage Dead Stock Inventory

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With a big warehouse, managing inventory stock can be a challenge. It is a delicate balance to optimise your inventory stock if your warehouse stocks too little, you could lose customers, but if you stock too much, you might end up with dead stock.

Dead stock can pile up in a warehouse. Before you know it, several seasons or years can go by and you are left with an impressive amount of unsold merchandise. Not only does it take up space, but it can add financial pressure to your business. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it seems. By addressing the issue piece by piece, you can find ways to better manage your dead stock.

Devise a plan

Wouldn’t it be great to wake up to a warehouse free of dead stock. Unfortunately, this problem cannot be solved overnight. However, you can set reasonable goals with defined time frames to help guide you out of your dead stock situation. It won’t all disappear at once, so look at smaller portions at a time and see how they are dealt with.

Look at your sales history

If your dead stock is consistent with certain products, you may need to reassess your order numbers. Look at previous sales history over the last few years to guide your future orders. If the same items keep reappearing in your dead stock, it might be time to discontinue these purchases. Carefully analyse your history to help you navigate away from future dead stock problems.

Talk to your suppliers

If you have good relationships with your suppliers, you can ask if you can return the goods. Sometimes suppliers will be able to repurpose the products, use parts of it for a different item, or sell it on to a company who can use it; make it so both parties can benefit from the return. This is not something that should happen frequently, but in desperate times when managing dead stock, it could be a viable option.


Sludge refers to the bottom-barrel dead stock items that are too old and dated and they just won’t sell. It’s time to remove them from the warehouse, but you can look at other useful ways to get rid of the items.


Getting rid of dead stock is not quite like running a clearance sale. Since there is less demand for the merchandise, you need to price it differently and only bring a small amount out for sale at a time. Too much dead stock inventory on offer will put people off as they will be digging through piles of old and undesirable products. Just a handful at a time might spark their interests at the right price point.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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