Inventory 101: What You Need to Know about the Physical Count

Inventory-Management-101In order to gain an accurate view of the inventory you have on hand and to develop inventory forecasts for the future, you need to perform yearly physical counts. While many have come to dread the annual physical count, there are several ways to make the process easier and less burdensome. Here are a few tips to help you perform the physical count with ease:

  1. Carry out a mock count during the planning stages of your physical count. This will allow you to estimate the time and resources required for your upcoming physical count.
  2. Inform suppliers, customers, and production staff about the physical count schedule and make any necessary adjustments to shipments beforehand.
  3. To minimize the amount of time the facility has to shut down, consider conducting the physical counting of slow-moving products a few days before the actual counting takes place. These inventory items should be properly tagged and the transactions should be frozen until counting is complete.
  4. Establish designated counting areas throughout the warehouse and assign teams/persons to each area.
  5. Dispose of any defective or obsolete inventory prior to conducting the physical count.
  6. Use the proper equipment, such as inventory counting software and barcoding solutions.
  7. Train staff on proper physical counting strategies and procedures.
  8. It is a good idea to cease operations until the physical count is completely. However, if you can’t completely shut down, at least minimize the movement of materials and document everything that occurs in the warehouse during that time period.
  9. Have extra staff available for support, and keep your software provider on standby should anything happen to your warehouse management and inventory control software.

Do you have any other tips to add? Share your inventory counting tips and tricks below.