7 Ways To Stock Take

Ways to simplify stock take processes

What is Stock Take?

A stock take is the process of checking your inventory – how much you have in stock, as well as the condition of goods – and recording the results in a report.

A stock take helps with your stock control. For example, if you are manufacturing from components or raw materials, you’ll need to know when the raw materials are low in stock, so you can stock up the inventory when necessary.

The types of goods you sell will usually determine how often you should do a stock take. As above, food and drink businesses should check their stock regularly, as their goods are perishable.

But other businesses might choose to do an annual stock take – it depends on the specifics of your business.

A stock take helps you:

  • keep track of inventory
  • see if your ordering process is efficient
  • reduce over-stocking, or understocking
  • uncover problems – for example, issues with your supplier, or theft

Ways to Stock Take

1. Inventory management should scale with your business

There’s no getting around the fact that a stock take is time consuming and requires manpower. You need to dedicate time to the process, which should help you limit distractions and errors.

You’ll need to determine how regularly you’re going to do stock taking:

  • periodically – you may want to take stock on a monthly, quarterly or half-year basis, over a day or two
  • annually – this might be a bigger undertaking than a periodic stock take, but an annual stock take could make sense for your business – for example, if you have inexpensive, non-perishable goods
  • continuously – this is where you plan for continuous stock taking depending on the types of items you have in stock, for example you might check some items monthly, others weekly, and some daily – and then constantly updating your stock taking records 

2. Print stock take sheets

Stock sheets is the basis of stock take. You record your new count, against what should you already have. The stock sheets should use the most up-to-date records you have.

These should be embedded in your existing stock control system.

Always ensure to  use stock sheets in the right order:

  • count what’s on the shelves or in the warehouse first
  • secondy, note down against what your system says should be there

Otherwise, using the sheets as the basis of your count can lead to errors.

Having difficulty with printing your sheets or afraid of losing them? With Axacute, you can go paperless. Just update your inventory at the tip of your fingers.

View: Axacute Plans

3. Organize stocks first

Make sure you set aside any stock that’s already been sold, but is yet to be delivered or picked up by a customer.

As part of this, you should also pause all purchases and sales, because it’s very likely that you’ll end up getting confused if you have shifting stock while you’re trying to do your count.

Then, start categorizing your existing stock. Make sure your stock taking area is kept clean and mess-free to minimise the risk of errors.

Your total stock will likely fall into a number of different categories and it’ll be easier to properly account for everything if you develop a system to start with. This might involve physically moving items around your premises, sorting them into categories, and counting on that basis.

4. Organize employees

If you have staff helping out with your stock take, make sure that they’re properly organised. Once you’ve categorized your stock, it is better to appoint assign staff member to different categories.

Remember to appoint more staff to larger categories. Also, your staffs should take breaks during the process. Stock taking isn’t fun and it’s important to regularly recharge.

5. No estimations

Accurate stock taking requires methodical counting – no estimations. Mark items as you go in order to avoid duplicate counting.

Again, you can simplify the process significantly by using logical categories for stock, and by making sure that any sold items have already been removed from the areas being counted.

Plus, remember to simply count items on the shelves first, before using your stock sheet or looking at your stock control system to see what should be there.

6. Validate stock take

Once your count is finished, you need to validate your stock take. Compare the results of the count to the stock records you printed out earlier. Any inconsistencies should be noted and accounted for – for example, you need a procedure in place for dealing with damaged items.

If you have multiple branches, make sure that you’re properly tracking store transfers, and that purchase orders are being effectively dealt with.

Discrepancies can be serious, so it’s important to investigate their cause. Is an item in the wrong place, is there an issue with your supplier, or are there problems with your stock control system in general?

The good news is that a stock take is the first step to solving a problem, so you can make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

7. Update stock records

Finally, you need to update your stock records with the results of your latest count. If you’re using a software solution to track stock, this should be a simple process. If you’re still using paper-based systems, you could consider moving to a digital alternative.

Is there a stock take software?

Yes –  in fact, these software makes the process much easier.

Axacute is a SaaS Inventory and Production System that enables you to stock take! It is a solution designed for small and medium sized manufacturing companies to obtain greater visibility into their warehouse and shop floor operations; so that they can get better insights to true operation costs, improve cycle times and on-time deliveries. 

Read more: Axacute Introduction

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