Stocktaking, it’s one of those necessary evils and possibly one of the least popular activities in inventory control. The necessity of undertaking a regular stock take is to help facilitate business improvement and to increase profitability for your organisation.
Stocktaking allows a company to determine product performance by highlighting the inventory stock that is selling well and those products that are not. A stock take will also ensure business targets are met by identifying discrepancies in stock quantities caused by damage, theft or inadequate inventory control practices.
The good news is that we now have access to a great range of tools and equipment to improve the accuracy and efficiency of stock counts.
Automate the stock take
Undeniably, automation has transformed inventory control and stocktaking activities. It enables businesses to track product supply and demand in real time, eliminating the need for manual counting to ensure enough inventory stock is available for orders to be filled. Automation provides the ability to capture point-of-sale data and track the movement of goods, which can be utilised to optimise stock ordering and to minimise waste. Valuable consumer data can also be acquired at point-of-sale through a variety of membership programs, identifying what and how individual consumers shop.
Barcoding and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology comes in a variety of forms, with mobile readers, hand-held scanners and software-based models.
Barcode systems are the more common technology that allow organisations to track products at every location and manage the complete lifecycle of inventory stock. Barcodes when scanned can provide large amounts of product information and help to manage product movements across multiple warehouses and store locations.
RFID technology is a data collection system that enables companies to rapidly scan large quantities of inventory stock items.
Both these technologies can improve stocktaking activities by maximising the accuracy, efficiency and productivity of stock counts through the simple act of scanning lot numbers and barcodes.
For large retail outlets with numerous stock items, new Segway technology will take the pain out of manually counting stock. This robot technology moves up and down shopping aisles scanning products as it goes. Not only can the robot log the amount and location of each product, but it is able to tag details to ensure inventory stock is in the correct place within the store.
The frequency in which a stock take is completed will vary from business to business, but don’t allow bad inventory habits to hack into your profits.
As unpopular as stock takes can be, the more regularly they are undertaken, the better for your business. Why? They will quickly uncover any discrepancies between inventory records and physical stock amounts.
Stocktaking helps to identify theft, waste and shrinkage issues. It also helps to identify unpopular, slow-moving products and those that have become obsolete. By highlighting product lines that can be discontinued, you can free up finances and space or more popular lines.