The 7 Golden Rules of A Stocktake
An accurate Stocktake helps you make the correct decisions about managing your business.
It allows you to reconcile physical stock to the stock levels, identify variances, and discover issues with stock management and control.
With accurate knowledge about stock movements and stock on hand, you can make informed decisions about theft/shrinkage, slow-moving items, damaged stock, technological discrepancies and warehouse processes.
Here are my top tips to have a smooth, successful and stress-free stocktake.
1. Clearly identify what stock is owned by the business and all areas to be counted
Separate stock that’s been invoiced to a customer, but is still in store. Likewise, stock received but not yet recorded, should be distinguished.
Make sure stock held at different locations or on lay away for deposit items and such, is accounted for.
2. Make sure the stock room is clean and tidy and stock items are clearly laid out.
Attach labels to shelves to clearly identify different departments; eg, categorise products and label stock not to be counted etc…
Give stock takers clear guidance on the way they should count; eg, start at the top shelf and work your way down, while working from left to right. This provides clear instructions and if this process is carried out correctly can be helpful in identifying discrepancies.
3. Tools for the stocktake
- Hand held scanners – For bar-coded inventory.
- Trained Stocktakers – Untrained Stocktakers may not fully understand the process.
- Supervisors – To spot check certain areas to ensure maximum accuracy.
- Preparation – Although not necessarily a tool, good prep can shave a lot of time off your Stocktake.
4. Discourage radios, mobile phones, earphones and idle chit chat
While it might seem unnecessary, distractions can easily lead to errors. Errors lead to inaccurate reports, Thus Undermining the whole effort of the Stocktake.
5. Count every product in stock. Don’t estimate!
It might seem tedious, And you may think there are only a certain amount of items while looking at them but always count everything physically to avoid human error, it’s much better to get a 100 percent accurate record the first time.
Just because the carton says there are 24 items in the box doesn’t mean there actually are. This goes for items in boxes on the shop floor also, Confectionery & sweets often come in a small box with the quantity on the outside. Even if it looks full it could have a small amount of product sold, So double check!
6. Check the physical count against Live Stock levels. Recheck discrepancies
Make a note about variances and follow up where necessary. This can be useful information for Stocktakes after this, If the same discrepancy pops up again it could be an easier fix second time around.
7. Update your records
Once the Stocktake has been finalised, update Your stock levels in accordance.
A well-planned Stocktake will result in minimal disruption, accurate inventory records and provides a basis for making well informed business decisions from top to bottom.
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