Essential Steps for Effective Inventory Stocktaking

Let’s face it — stocktakes suck. They’re an interruption to the business, they need hard work and no one enjoys them. But you have to get them done, maybe every six months or once a year. In order to make the process a little less tedious, here are three top tips from Greg Murphy: Unleashed Founder, current Partner Manager and overall stocktaking expert.

1. Get ready in advance – then stop

One of the first things I found with stocktakes is that you need to prepare: sometimes up to a month in advance. The whole company needs to know what is happening, who is involved and what they are doing as a part of the process.

You’ll also want to ensure that all your latest purchases are receipted and everything that has gone out is sold. Once that’s done, stop. Because you need that stock to be still to get an accurate count. If you still have stock coming in and out of your warehouse, there’s no chance of an accurate count.

2. Count warehouse to sheet

Counting stock manually is not fun: it’s a messy, dirty job. But it’s important to count from warehouse to sheet and not the other way round. Why? Because there could be stuff in the warehouse that you didn’t know existed. If you’re just counting off a piece of paper, you won’t take it into account.

Make sure your counters are checking each other’s numbers, to avoid any mistakes.

3. Fix those errors

Your stocktake isn’t over the moment you have a figure. Importing your new data is no fun either, but it’s got to be done accurately. Because chances are, you’ll have some reconciling to do.

People often think that finding stock is a good thing. But in reality, it means someone has made a mistake. It’s really important that your stocktaking process includes taking the time to investigate how these mistakes occurred, so you can ensure they don’t happen again.

You should also be rechecking your figures — maybe even twice — to ensure that before you hit that big red button to free up your stock, you have a 100% accurate figure.

Finally, don’t shy away from stocktakes. They are absolutely crucial, giving you the accuracy your business needs. And the longer you leave it until the next one, the harder it will be.

Find out more about stocktaking.

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