What is Stocktaking?

Stocktaking (or stock counting) is when you manually check and record all the inventory that your business currently has on hand. It’s a vital part of your inventory control but will also affect your ordering and sales. Much like any aspect of inventory, the process of stocktaking will vary hugely from company to company.
Despite the name, a stocktake is about more than just stock management. Any inventory that your business needs should be included. If you’re a manufacturer, for example, then you’ll want to record products that you use to create your finished goods — because running out of these would be just as disastrous as running out of stock.

What’s the difference between Stock and Inventory?

While they are often used interchangeably, stock and inventory are two different things. Stock is just the products you sell as part of your daily business operations. Inventory meanwhile, includes any other items you need to make, store or sell your stock.

Why are Stocktakes Important?

Any product-based business will need to ensure that their levels are 100% accurate from time to time as a part of their inventory control. In some countries, it’s even a legal requirement. But even if you aren’t required to do so by law, here are three key reasons why you should regularly check your goods.

1. See how well you’re tracking inventory

Relying entirely on your system for accurate stock levels is usually a bad idea. By comparing the figures from a stocktake to what you thought you had on hand, you can identify discrepancies and fix them before they become problematic.
If you aren’t tracking your goods as well as you thought, then it may be a sign that you have poor inventory control. It’s worth fixing issues sooner rather than later before they lead to bigger problems such as running out of stock, overstocking for certain products, stocking of obsolete products.

2. Discover stock issues

Use a stocktake to identify problems that your inventory management system might have missed: such as damaged products, missing orders, poor control or theft. Sometimes these are one-offs that don’t cause too much trouble, but they can also be symptomatic of a deeper flaw.

3. Ensure your business is meeting targets

When it comes to monitoring the performance of your business, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Calculating key metrics such as inventory turnover for instance, requires 100% accurate figures.

How to Stocktake?

There are a few steps that every business should follow when recording stock. Generally, these can be broken down into three stages: before, during and after the count.

Before the count

First of all, decide on a date and time for your count.
You don’t want any unnecessary distractions that could lead to miscalculated figures, so consider either closing operations down for the day or conducting the take after hours. You’ll also need to set aside time afterwards to resolve discrepancies and fix issues.

Just before the count occur, organise the area where the count will take place. Having a clean space helps ensure that there are no unnecessary disruptions

During the count

What happens on the day will depend on your chosen process. However, there are a few guidelines that every business should follow in order for their take to progress smoothly:

Include everything. Individually recording every item might seem like a tiresome task, but cutting corners can have dire consequences. So, take the time to check everything properly.

After the count

It’s time to upload everything into your inventory system.

Deal with any stock discrepancies. Any stock discrepancy may be bad news for your business — even if you discover that you actually had more stock on hand than you thought.

When you encounter a discrepancy, the first thing to do is to uncover its cause. It might be a simple human error (putting something in the wrong place or incorrectly entering data into the system). Alternatively, it might be a serious problem such as theft or supplier issues.
Once you know what caused the discrepancy, you can take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. This may require changes to your processes, new software or extra security. Then, simply upload the new correct figure into your system to resolve the problem.

How often should you count stock?

The frequency of stocktakes should be a key consideration when choosing an inventory management system.
The exact answer will vary widely from business to business, depending on the complexity of your inventory, whether you’re utilising cycle counting and a host of other external factors. However, there are a few things you should bear in mind when deciding how long you can leave until your next tally, your reliance on accurate figures and the disruption that a stocktake may cause to your business.

Stocktake Barcode Solutions?

Barcode Logic have several Stocktake Barcode Solutions, including: systems integrated to large retail and accounting systems e.g. MYOB AccountRight and also standalone systems.
These Stocktake Barcode Solutions increase the speed and accuracy of your Stocktake.
Please give us a call to help you with the stocktaking of your business and we will answer any questions that you have regarding our Stocktake Solutions.
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