Year-end is the best time to do a stock take. A lot of companies choose this moment to proceed with stock take along with year-end financial reporting. Unfortunately, the year-end stock-taking procedures need a lot of time compared to the ones you usually do once a month.
For companies such as manufacturing or retails which routinely replenish inventory, stock taking is an important task that needs to be done frequently. To make the process a lot more effective and efficient, you need a plan, a good one. Here are 7 stock-taking procedures that you need to know.
Related article: The Definition and Benefits of Stock Taking
Pick a time outside of operating hours to do stock-taking procedures
To avoid discrepancies, we suggest you pick a time to do stock take outside business operating hours. Sunday is the best time to do this task. You also can do stock-taking before or after business hours.
But if your business runs 24/7, consider doing stock-taking during slow hours, such as midnight time when there’s little to no customers visiting your business.
During stocktake is underway, don’t add more items to your inventory or record any sales. If you are using an accounting system, it’s best to turn it off momentarily until the stocktake is completed.
Identify which items need to be counted
Before starting the stock-taking process, make sure the warehouse is tidy, and the inventory items are visible. This is important to make the stock-taking process runs without any problems.
Other than that, separate incoming items that haven’t been recorded, and sold items but not delivered yet to customers. Attach labels to those items to make recording easier.
Use a system to count
A system to count is a must-have if you have warehouses on multiple locations. Determine which warehouse you want to count first. Make sure at least each warehouse has two staff to do the stock-taking. One person counting the stock, the other record the count.
If you still count manually, it’s recommended to add one more staff to recount the stock. If there are discrepancies between the stock amount and the record, the third person can redo the count to find the error.
Provide a clear instruction in stock-taking procedures
Before the counting begins, make sure you already give clear instructions to your staff. Double-check whether they fully understand where to begin, what kind of items that need to be counted first, and what direction to move through the shelves later on.
Prepare the tools needed to do the count, such as stock sheets, barcode scanner, and pen or pencil. Make sure each staff holding their equipment before the counting begin. You don’t want them to be distracted because pen suddenly stops working or the barcode scanner runs out of battery midway.
Count everything, yes, every little thing!
You have to count every item in your inventory. Say you found a box of tomatoes. Don’t assume the number of tomatoes within the box. You need to open the box and count every tomato in it.
You also have to check the condition of each item. Separate the broken items to be returned to the manufacturers or tossed away to the dumpster/incinerate later. This way you can figure out which items that still can be sold and which one isn’t.
Update the record after stock-taking procedures completed
After the stock-taking procedures completed, the next step you have to do is update the inventory record in the accounting system. Check whether the new data has a lot of discrepancies or not. If any, find the error and fix it as soon as possible.
When everything has been checked and you found nothing wrong, the thing you have to do is submit the data to the staff in charge of inputting the data into the system, or spreadsheet if you still running everything manually.
Make use of technology
It’s impractical if you still run the stock-taking procedures manually, especially if you have several warehouses and thousands of items. Not only it will take a lot of time to complete, but manual stock-taking also needs more human resources as well.
That’s why a lot of companies and offices start using a barcode scanner. With barcode scanner help, scanned data can be delivered wirelessly directly to your accounting software. Imagine how much steps you skipped with only using a barcode scanner.
Not only making things easier, but technology can also make the stock-taking process a lot faster, compared to when you do it manually. The stock accuracy will also improve and the information will be more up to date.
Related article: Everything You Need to Know About Barcode System
With the right tools and methods, you will no longer have to do the stock-taking process outside the operational hours. You can do it anytime you want to. Just aim the barcode scanner, the stock data will be updated directly.