Preparing for the Year-End Physical Count

The accuracy of your inventory data is critical to your company’s success, for it impacts customer service, stock levels, employee theft deterrence, and more. Performing physical counts, while unpleasant, can protect the accuracy of your inventory data and improve your chances for business success. Dreaded by most companies, the physical count often conjures up images of long hours spent in unpleasant temperatures in order to count every single item in the warehouse.

The year-end physical count process is daunting, to say the least. There are a variety of methods used by companies to alleviate the challenges faced during the physical count process, including implementing mobile devices and barcoding software to assist with inventory counting tasks. However, these methods and tools can only get you so far. In order to ensure a successful physical count, you need to spend some time in the preparation process before you can begin counting inventory.

We’ve created a list of six tips designed to ensure a smooth inventory counting process and accurate end result. Planning ahead will streamline the tedious process of inventory counting and achieve the desired end result of accurate inventory data, which will ensure efficient inventory management, improved customer service, and lasting success.  Keep the following tips in mind as you begin to plan for this year’s physical count:

  1. Pick a date for your year-end physical count.
    Selecting a date (and sticking to it) is important when it comes to planning your physical count. The best time to perform a physical count is when you are closed for business; however, if this is not possible, pick a day or time of day when business is slow and inventory stocks are at their lowest levels. Avoid scheduling physical counts on days employees may be distracted (such as around the holiday season). Once you have chosen your date, put it on the calendar and inform your employees.
  2. Choose a method for inventory counting.
    Different companies perform physical counts differently. There are a variety of methods and tools available to aid in the inventory counting process. Make sure that the method you choose makes sense for your company. While some companies still rely on count cards and count sheets, many companies are transitioning to barcode scanners and mobile devices with barcode scanning and inventory counting applications. These methods are by far the easiest and most accurate way to perform an inventory count.
  3. Invest in all of the necessary supplies.
    Once you have chosen your method for counting your inventory, it is time to invest in any supplies you will need. If your company has decided to use mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets), you will need to purchase inventory counting software, such as Scanco Counts. If you’ve decided to use wireless barcode scanners, you will need to purchase the devices and software if you do not already possess them.
  4. Communicate with your staff members ahead of time.
    It’s important that you communicate your plan with your staff members ahead of time. Make sure they are aware of the physical count date and the method you’ve chosen. If you are implementing a new inventory counting tool, set up a training day to familiarize them with the new device and software. This will ensure a smooth physical count for everyone.
  5. Organize your warehouse before you begin the physical count.
    This is one of the most important parts of the planning process. An organized warehouse makes for a more efficient physical count. As close to the physical count date as possible, instruct your employees to walk through the warehouse and put everything in its proper place.
  6. Backup your data before you begin the physical count, during the count, and after the count.
    As a matter of precaution, you should always backup your data before you begin counting your inventory, again before you apply the inventory count changes, and a third time once the changes have been implemented.

Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about the physical count process. If your company could use some help improving the physical count process, consider investing in our newest solution, Scanco Counts. This mobile application for Sage 100 (formerly MAS 90 / MAS 200) allows users to perform inventory counts directly from their iOS, Android, and Windows device. If you’d like to learn more about this solution, contact us today.

How does your company prepare for physical counts? Have we missed any important preparation steps? Let us know in the comments section below this post.