10 Tips for a Successful Stocktake

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A stocktake is a challenging but vital part of any company with inventory, especially given inventory can be one of the biggest assets of a company. Here are 10 tips for a successful stocktake:

  1. Ensure inbound shipments are closed off

When doing a stock count it is important to make sure you know what you are counting.  In order to ensure this, inbound shipments must be closed off. This means that there is a clear distinction between what is physically inside of the warehouse and what is outside of the warehouse. In addition, this is a healthy division for the inventory management tracking system as the system will have only tracked items that are physically inside the warehouse and that have been scanned from previous inbound shipments.  This tangible and electronic distinction will help simplify this process.

  1. Finalizing sale orders

Finalizing sales orders should be completed prior to a stocktake.  If you have made a sale to a customer, it needs to be properly invoiced and the stock should be removed from the area that is being counted for the stocktake.  This outbound stock should be placed elsewhere, otherwise it could cause discrepancies in your final numbers.  However, if you chose to leave the customer’s purchased stock in for the stock count, do not raise an invoice against this stock. Issuing premature invoices is another way to create stocktake inconsistencies.

  1. Maintain an organized work area

A tidy work area and warehouse will make the process run smoothly.  If items can be properly identified and accessed, the count will be efficient.

  1. Provide the necessary tools for a stocktake

Although it may seem simple, tools like calculators, pens, hand-held scanners, clipboards, and stock sheets need to be readily available during the stocktake. These tools will help decrease errors.  It will make it easy for those participating in the stocktake to get accurate numbers the first time. As a result, this will make the reconciliation at the end much easier.

  1. Decrease distractions in the warehouse

By minimizing staff distractions, a stocktake can run well.  Whether it be the radio, mobile phones, side conversations, or talking to an employee about something off topic, these distractions should be minimized to maintain staff focus.  Distractions cause errors and reduce the effectiveness of a stocktake.

  1. Maintain auditable records

It is important to keep records along the way, which gives you the ability to identify where something went awry in the process.  Record keeping needs to be as precise as your actual counting and ready to be audited.

  1. Count all inventory items – do not estimate

Although a stocktake can be a very laborious task for a company, it is imperative that an exact count is taken of all inventory. Estimating can cause inaccuracies.  It is important to open every box and count the items on the inside, rather than just trusting the count on the outside of the box.

  1. Know the value of each inventory item

Being able to identify the price of each item in your stock is very helpful during a stocktake. The item’s price may have changed from the supplier since the previous stocktake.  Therefore, it is important to know the price that was paid for the item being counted.

  1. Update records upon completion

After the stocktake has finished, make sure to update the final inventory count for accounting purposes.

  1. Use this stock take to shape your next one

A stock count can effectively identify which products are selling and which products are sitting dormant in your warehouse.  Use this information to shape your inventory purchases.  In addition, if items were shelved poorly or if more space is needed for certain products, aim to change the storage method to make it easier next time.

Hopefully these tips will aid in an accurate and efficient stocktake, leading to better inventory management in the future.

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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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