Anyone who has ever worked in either the retail or service industry knows just how painstaking it can be to count inventory. If you have a lot of different products to count, it can be difficult to keep track of it all, and extremely easy to get products confused. However, there are several different ways that you can simplify the process so that you can reduce your margin of error and cut down on the amount of time it takes to complete. Of course, you will need to create systems to ensure that your counts are accurate, and you will have to hold your employees accountable. Here are five ways to make inventory counts painless.

  1. Make sure your POS system labels all of your SKUs. When you assign an SKU to each of your products, you want to be sure that you are using a POS system, like Arba Retail Systems, that will label that product in words as well as in code. The code is useful for the computer to keep count, but what good is the count if you don’t know what each code represents? When your employees take inventory, they should be able to cross reference their count with the records kept by your POS system.
  2. Always account for products sold, even when taking cash. Inventory management is an essential part of your accounting and marketing efforts. The data you collect from your inventory will tell you a lot about the spending habits of your customers. That’s why you want to train your employees to account for all products sold, even if customers are paying in cash.
  3. Stack all of your inventory in equal sized piles. One of the easiest ways to speed up an inventory count is to stack all of your products into equally sized piles. If you stack in piles of ten, for example, you can just count the piles and multiply by ten so that you don’t have to count each product individually.
  4. Always take inventory right before restocking. The best time to take inventory is right before the next shipment arrives. This way you can track how much you’re selling between shipments and determine if you need to change the count on future orders. Moreover, you want to have your employees take inventory right before or after you close so that they are not interrupted by customers. Interruptions will lead to incorrect counts and they will lengthen the process tremendously.
  5. Always have employees sign off on their inventory count. If you want to be sure that your employees are counting correctly, it’s important to hold them accountable. You should always assign 2 different people to do each count so that you know for sure that the count is right. If they come up with different numbers, then you can have a manager triple check the count and make note of which employee is incorrect. If any employee is incorrect multiple times, or by a very wide margin, you may want to take them off of that duty completely.

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