Physical Inventory Counting: 13 Best Practices for Counting Inventory

Carrying out the physical inventory count in a systematic, organized manner with appropriate quality controls can significantly enhance the accuracy and reliability of the count. Next, we’ll cover the steps that should be taken after the count, including reconciliation and reporting. This post-count process is vital for fully realizing the benefits of the physical inventory count, as it’s during this stage that discrepancies are resolved, data is analyzed, and valuable insights are gained. With cycle counting, staff members count a specific portion of goods at one time, then move on to other portions at another time. The process is repeated until all goods have been counted within a given period.‍Cycle counting example‍You work at a large warehouse with lots of SKUs. An inventory count, also known as stocktake, is the practice of counting stock on hand.

  1. Tell your staff about these high-risk areas and figure out how you can minimize losses in those regions.
  2. The totals from this count will be compared to the values listed in the accounting inventory records.
  3. Walk around the store or stockroom and keep an eye out for items that aren’t in their proper place.
  4. Provide a map of your floor, backroom, and storage to make sure that employees know where they need to go.
  5. However, you can implement inventory management systems, and its automation feature can simplify your tracking and counting process.

In this procedure, physical counting happens only for randomly picked materials. Conducting a complete physical inventory warrants undivided attention. Temporary cessation of regular operations during this process ensures a meticulous count. Cycle counting is counting all the products in a designated area of the store, or a particular type of product. You then move from one zone to the next until the entire store is counted within a time period. Cycle counts are most effective in high traffic industries, like grocery and retail.

Here are several best practices for taking physical inventory that we have found effective in inventory count processes. Each team must have one person counting a specific item within a bin location, and the other team member recording the bin location, item description, part number, quantity, and unit of measure on a count tag. The team must then keep the original copy of the tag and attach it to the inventory item. If a seal is broken, a counting team will know that the contents of a container must be counted again. Your physical inventory count will only be as accurate as your parts department is organized.

They’ll review these documents to evaluate cutoff procedures for year-end deliveries and confirm the values reported on your inventory listing. Establish a freeze period that restrict any movements or transactions involving inventory items before the count begins. This prevents additional stock from entering or leaving the premises, reducing the likelihood of errors during the count. Write off unsalable items and dispose of them properly before the count begins. Ensure non-inventory items are marked clearly and identifiable separately. What happens if an item is missing a tag, is faulty, or is incorrectly labeled?

Variance Report

Select and train your staff who are familiar with your inventory and products, providing them with instructions and guidelines on how to count, record, and report the results. Divide and assign your staff into teams and roles based on the method, scope, and duration of the count, allocating them to specific areas or sections physical inventory procedures of your inventory. Utilize tools such as radios, phones, or tablets to communicate and coordinate with your staff during the count. Assigning staff appropriately will guarantee that the physical inventory count is done efficiently, effectively, and consistently while motivating and engaging them in the process.

Inventory counts have several technical limitations to which they must adhere based on the amount of system resources available to a computer running Xstore. All size limitations are necessitated by either a memory concern, or an imposed technical limitation of supporting software, such as Microsoft® SQL Server®. The count sheet status for count cycle 1 is set to Submitted status and cannot be changed. The count sheet status for count cycle 2 is set to Preliminary, indicating this is a new count. The Supply Count document will be available in the list of existing Inventory Count documents when you are ready to continue with the count process. The following steps describe how to create a new Inventory Count document.

What is Annual Physical Inventory? (Methods and Procedures)

Year-end inventory counts are a critical aspect of business operations, impacting financial reporting and strategic decision-making. By following these best practices, businesses can enhance the accuracy and efficiency of their inventory counts and improve their overall inventory management. Having a tool to record and track the results of the physical inventory count, as well as to compare them with your inventory records and identify any variances or adjustments is essential. You can use paper and pen for a simple and inexpensive option, but it may be prone to errors, delays, or losses. Alternatively, you can use a barcode scanner with a printer for a fast and accurate option, but it may require more equipment and maintenance.

A Supply Count is a count of items not sold in your store, but are required for normal store operations, such as rolls of receipt paper for cash registers or printer paper for report printers. The Supply Count process is similar to the Cycle Count process; however, the count sheets are automatically populated with only the items identified as supplies in your store. To locate a Supply Count document refer to Finding an Existing Inventory Count Document. To create a new supply count document see Creating a New Inventory Count Document.

Retail Inventory Method: A How-To Guide

However, inventory management software, such as DCL’s eFactory, can assist you in expediting this process while maintaining accuracy. Inventory software can assist you in reducing workload and saving time. When conducting a physical inventory count, the method you choose should depend on your business size, type, and needs. Periodic counting requires closing your business during the count and may cause large discrepancies, while cycle counting requires more resources and coordination but is more frequent and manageable. Spot counting is quick and flexible, but it may not be comprehensive or consistent. Choose the method that best suits your business goals, resources, and constraints in order to achieve the highest level of inventory accuracy.

Designate a bin for miscellaneous items, which the team can then filter through and see if any correspond with the SKUs they were assigned to count. According to a recent study, an out-of-stock product was the biggest reason for a customer’s decision to leave a store empty-handed. Wondering if you need an inventory solution for your Magento business?

In preparation for the physical is the time to remove the bad locations. As of April 2023, the United States Census Bureau found that the average retail business had $1.39 worth of inventory for every $1 in sales. Most of our customers say Magento is speedy and more customizable than others; it is suitable for medium and large enterprises or fast-growing businesses with complex requirements/customizations. Magento is an open-source platform that helps retailers create eCommerce websites, released on March 31, 2008, by Varien and developed on Zend Framework.

Also, make sure your employees can participate at the scheduled time. From a broader perspective, a physical inventory count is a tool for accuracy and accountability. It’s a tool that aids businesses in maintaining control over their inventory. It’s a crucial part of the operational and financial aspects of a company.

It may be best to identify high value or high shrink products that “may have legs.” Set up caged or locked areas with restricted access. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there’s continuity from sales to services to support. This procedure avoids counting every item in an inventory, which can be time-consuming and costly. Inventory sampling is a process by which a representative sample of goods from an inventory is selected and counted to estimate the number of goods on hand. A mock count during the planning phase can help your team familiarize themselves with the process, iron out any kinks, and bolster confidence. When discrepancies surface during the inventory count, address them immediately.

Finally, review your inventory regularly and make changes based on what’s selling and not. Finally, update your tracking system as you always have an accurate picture. It’s crucial that the cost of items being counted is not visible during the count to prevent bias and maintain objectivity. By promptly and reliably meeting customer demands, businesses can elevate customer satisfaction, strengthen their brand reputation, and foster long-term customer loyalty. The process is suitable for small and medium-sized organizations that have fewer products.

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