Completing a stock take once or twice a year is essential for maintaining healthy inventory levels and preventing losses. However, many businesses make some key mistakes when going about the stock take that can be fatal for the company’s success.
In this article, we highlight a few key areas in which business owners tend to make mistakes when it comes to counting stock, as well as a few tips on how to prevent these mistakes and maximise your inventory health.
Disorganisation in the Store Room
Especially as your business and inventory levels begin to grow, it can very difficult to keep your store room tidy. This is something that new business owners often overlook, but it is in fact key to ensuring accurate stock takes.
Before you even begin to think about counting your stock, you need to ensure that the store room is as clean and tidy as possible. Organisation is key to good stocktaking – separate certain areas for certain types of stock and use labels so that you never forget where your items are.
Failing to Schedule Stock Takes
A huge mistake which many new business owners make when it comes to stocktaking is failing to set aside a reasonable amount of time to focus primarily on stocktaking. Many new business owners will try and incorporate stock take into a normal day, but in so doing they are bound to be interrupted or distracted.
Set aside a good chunk of the day for stocktaking and depending on how much stock you have, you may even want to consider closing the store for a day or two. This will ensure that there are no distractions to prevent inaccurate stock reporting.
Relying on Manual Stock Take Processes
When a business first starts out, counting what little stock you do have can be easy and reliable enough. However, as your business and inventory levels grow, this can become increasingly error prone. Many growing businesses make the mistake of still relying on pen-and-paper stocktaking tools even when they have a growing amount of inventory.
A great way to avoid the mistakes that come with manual stocktaking is to download inventory software. Inventory software like barcode scanners and labels can help you reliably and efficiently count each item in your inventory, without the risk associated with human error.
Inventory software will also enable you to quickly pull up useful details about any given item, so that you can check its whereabouts and more. Inventory software will also help you to track sales trends so you can use the data to inform your purchasing decisions.
Failing to Account for Discrepancies
Things like theft or expiry and disposal of inventory items can show as discrepancies in your stock count. If you don’t take note of these issues as they occur, you will struggle to reconcile the discrepancies when counting your stock, and this may be fatal for your business. The best method is to note down these issues as they come up and save yourself time and energy.
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.