The end of the year is a great time to perform a physical counting of your inventory to start fresh in the new year. On top of that, as people cease shopping after Christmas, it is usually the slowest time of the year. That makes it the perfect time for you to minimize or stop your sales operations for a while. Physical counts of inventory are very important. So let’s see how you should prepare so your physical count goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
1. Notify Suppliers and Clients
During your physical counting, you should stop product movements or minimize and well document them. When this happens, you will not be able to receive or fulfill new orders. So it’s best you inform your suppliers – and clients if applicable – when you will be performing the inventory taking. Do this ahead of time so you don’t put any additional pressure on them. After all, November and December were the busiest and most hectic months for everyone.
2. Do a Mock Physical Counting
Physical counts of inventory can take up a lot of time. Because no one likes wasting their time, a mock counting will help you estimate the time and resources needed for the actual counting. How to do a mock counting? Take a small fraction of your inventory and record the time needed to count it. Then multiply this time with the areas that need to be counted.
- If you are short on people, divide this sum by the number of people available to see how long it will take to count your whole inventory.
- If you are short on time but plenty of people, divide the sum by the available time, to see how many of your staff need to be there on counting day.
It’s a good idea to hire one more person than you think you’ll need. Problems could arise and delay the process, so an additional pair of hands can speed things up.
3. Communicate Early With Team Members
The annual inventory-taking usually takes place during off-business hours and during the holidays. This means that your employees might have already made plans for the day. Inform everyone well ahead of time to make sure they are available, or they don’t have to cancel their plans.
That being said, not everyone on the team is required for the counting. First of all, a very experienced employee should be present to check that everything goes smoothly. With their guidance, your team won’t waste time by having to figure out on the spot what to do. Also, this process is a very good learning experience for new employees, as they will get to know better your merchandise, so don’t hesitate to call inexperienced members as well.
4. Clean and Organize Your Warehouse
Before starting the actual counting of your merchandise, it is highly important to clean up and organize your warehouse. It will make everyone’s life easier during the counting and the whole process will go much faster. Therefore, during the clean-up dispose of any defective or obsolete inventory so you don’t waste time on those products during the counting.
5. Pull Away Tied Inventory
To make the counting easier and avoid mistakes, it is vital to pull away any products tied to orders. Ship or pull everything on order and don’t fill new orders or receive products while counting. If this is impossible for your business, start counting on your fastest-moving products that bring the most money. That way you can have your employees start filling new orders sooner. Plus, those are the products that most likely will contain counting errors. They could delay the whole process if counted at the end when everyone is tired.
6. Have The Proper Equipment
The right equipment can do wonders during inventory taking. Barcode scanners connected to your inventory management system or excel can speed up the process immensely. Make sure that your personnel knows well how to use them before counting starts.
Nevertheless, even with the best system, problems and questions may arise. A good idea is to be in contact with your system’s support team during the counting. Check beforehand if they will be available during that time and try asking any questions you have well ahead before the counting.
7. After the Counting
When physical counts of inventory are completed, arrange a meeting with your team to discuss what worked during the counting and what didn’t. Make sure to write down what you should change for next year’s counting. After all, the holidays are the time to spend with family and friends. Every minute you save means more time for you and your employees to spend with those special people.
Annual inventory taking can be a difficult process if you don’t do the proper preparations. Make sure to communicate with everyone involved ahead of time. Also, remember to keep a strategy in place so that everyone understands what to do at all times.
Megaventory provides a cloud solution to manage incoming and outgoing goods, as well as monitor the picking, packing, and shipping process.