Navigating Inventory Control: Best Practice for Stocktaking

24 November 2023
Equation Lge 8205

Effective inventory management is crucial for the success of any business.

A key component of this process is maintaining accurate Stock-on-Hand (SOH) records. Accurate SOH data enables businesses to make informed decisions, prevent stockouts or overstock situations, and streamline overall operations.

In this blog post, we will explore useful tips to help you get the most from your stocktakes.

Carry Out Rolling Stocktakes

Rolling stocktakes involve sorting the inventory into groups and counting only a portion of the stock at a time. Essentially, carrying out mini stocktakes until the whole inventory has been counted, over a period of time. This reduces the disruption to the business, allows stocktakes to be performed more regularly and issues to be identified earlier.

Follow a Systematic Approach

Measure twice, cut once. Taking a small amount of time to make a plan before you begin stocktaking can save you hours later on. This is particularly important when a stocktake is being carried out by multiple staff or over a longer period of time. A consistent approach to counting, recording, and reporting on the stocktake will result in an accurate count first time with fewer variances or errors to follow up.

Plan Stocktake Timing

Conducting stocktakes when business is at it's quietest has two major benefits. Firstly, staff are less busy and distracted from their general duties. This reduces the likelihood of mis-counting or re-counting and results in a more efficient count. Secondly, the turnover of inventory is going to be slower, meaning less products being sold mid-count and a making tracking products much clearer.

Close Pending Actions

Open sales, purchases, returns and transfers, that are due to be completed but haven't yet been, can result in your stock expected SOH figure being different to what you physically have on hand for the count. Closing actions that are due to be completed, or deleted, will give you more accurate figures to begin you count with. This will reduce the overall number of variances you come across, and save you a lot of time following up on errors, or creating new errors by adjusting your stocks incorrectly.

Follow Up on Variances

This is a big one not to miss. Stocktaking is not just for fixing incorrect stock levels, it is important to take it a step further and figure out why the stock levels are incorrect. Which departments, or product groups are showing increased errors? and what is the cause? This can be a valuable tool for identifying gaps in training and inefficient processes.

Locate Misplaced Inventory

These are the items that are sitting in a different location than you expect. This can include items that are on layby, returns, damaged goods, and displays. Keep track of the areas that may potentially be missed in stock counts and plan how to best manage these.

Review Your Stocktake 

As well as reviewing the results of your stocktake, you should take some time to review the stocktake itself. What worked well, what could be improved, which challenges came up, and how it compared to previous stocktakes. Taking some time to look at your process will help you to perform more efficiently for furture stocktakes.

Accurate Stock-on-Hand records are the backbone of effective inventory management. By implementing these tips, you can enhance the reliability of your SOH figures, optimise your stock ordering, and make informed, data-driven decisions for your business. Regularly reviewing and refining your inventory management processes will help to contribute to long-term success and customer satisfaction.

Need help with your stock management? Give us a call - we're here to help.


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