There are several crucial stages and considerations to make when performing a stocktake for new or expanding companies to guarantee an accurate assessment of your inventory. Here is a summary of some of the stocktake essentials that must be in place before undertaking a stocktake.
Firstly, determine the purpose of your stocktake and define your goals and objectives for the stocktake process. Determine what you want to achieve, for instance verifying stock levels, identifying discrepancies, assessing product performance, or assessing stock value. This will enable you to approach this task objectively, free from subjectivity or influence from less important aspects.
Plan your stocktake
Create a detailed plan outlining the timeline, resources required, and responsibilities of each team member involved. Decide on the stocktake method (e.g., periodic or perpetual) that best suits your business. Consider factors like timing, communication with the resources required prior to the date of stocktake, and any necessary technology or software.
Categorise your inventory
Classify your inventory into categories such as product types, brands, or SKU numbers. This categorisation simplifies the counting process and minimizes errors. It also ensures that your stock area or warehouse is well-organised and tidy before the stocktake begins. Clearly label and categorise products, making them easily identifiable.
Furthermore, you should consider the use of technology in your inventory count process. Utilise inventory management software or a barcode scanning system to streamline the stocktake process and reduce manual errors. These tools can automate inventory tracking, provide real-time updates, and generate accurate reports. You can also consider this capability when making the decision to invest in ERP software. You should ask your consultant, “Will this software seamlessly allow me to implement this type of technology when doing stock counts?”
Set a date and time
Choose a time when your business experiences minimal disruption, such as after business hours, during weekends, or during a slow period. Ensure you communicate this schedule to your staff and allocate sufficient time for the stocktake.
Train your staff
Provide proper training to your employees involved in the stocktake. Familiarise them with the counting procedures, use of technology or equipment, and any specific instructions or protocols. Consider conducting a pre-stocktake count, performing an initial count before the stocktake day to get a baseline, and identifying any significant discrepancies that may require investigation.
Notify suppliers and customers
Inform your suppliers and customers about the upcoming stocktake, especially if it may affect deliveries or order processing. Coordinate with them to minimise any potential disruptions.
Conduct a full count
Perform a comprehensive count of all items in stock, including finished goods, raw materials, and supplies. Count each item individually, double-checking for accuracy. Follow consistent procedures during the stocktake, such as counting stock in sections, double-checking counts, and resolving discrepancies immediately.
Perform regular stocktakes
Implement a schedule for regular stocktakes, depending on the size and nature of your business. This helps maintain accurate inventory levels, identify trends, prevent stockouts, and minimize losses due to theft or damage. Again, this depends on the nature of the business for instance if you sell small products of high value such as jewellery made of precious material such as gold or diamonds you might need to consider doing stocktakes on a daily or weekly basis for a particular location or shop.
One of the crucial elements in stocktake which people tend to overlook is the process of analysing the stocktake results. Once the stocktake is complete, analyse the data collected. Look for patterns, identify the slow-moving or obsolete stock, and make informed decisions on restocking promotions, or inventory management strategies.
Validate and reconcile
Once the physical counting is complete, compare the results with the recorded inventory in your system. Investigate any discrepancies and reconcile the differences. This step helps identify any losses, theft, or errors that may have occurred.
Reflect and improve
Incorporate the lessons learned from the stocktake process into your ongoing operations. Implement measures to prevent inventory discrepancies, streamline processes, and optimise inventory management. Use the previous stocktake as a learning curve considering the dos and don’ts to avoid in the future. This will reduce bottlenecks in stocktakes and increase efficiency and productivity. Remember, conducting regular stocktakes and maintaining accurate inventory records are critical for efficient operations, cost control, and customer satisfaction.
Want to know more about stocktakes?
A stocktake doesn’t need to disrupt your business and will give you the information you need to make better decisions. Acacia Consulting Services can assist in the streamlining of your stocktaking process and has recently launched Stocktake Web App for MYOB Exo that allows stocktaking to be performed using a mobile device and an optional barcode scanner. For more information on stocktakes please contact us and we will be happy to discuss.