Warehouse 101 – Inventory Basics – How To Conduct a Stock Take

Stock Take

Once you understand how to set up your stock and why you are counting your inventory, you can start to think about how you are going to conduct your stock take. There are several key considerations that you must keep in mind to set yourself up for success.

What are you going to count?

Think about the categories of items that you need to count and what will be included vs excluded as part of the stock take. Examples of these categories include: saleable items, i.e. any item that may be sold to a customer, maintenance items, and raw materials.

Where are you going to count?

Consider all locations where items may be located. While the bulk of items may be in the warehouse there are other locations that might have items such as dispatch and shipping, returns, storerooms, the sales floor, etc. make sure these areas are accounted for so that no items are missed. You might also want to break up the activity by different physical areas, so it can be done more easily over several sessions. It is also important to consider items that are in transit or off-site for some reason. These must also be counted.

When are you going to count?

It can be very difficult to perform a proper stock take during operating hours. If possible it is best to do it in ‘off hours’ such as overnight or on a weekend. It is also important to communicate in advance when the stock take is going to occur. This way everyone can make sure everything is put away and in its correct place. It also lets them know if items will be unavailable during this time.

Who is going to count?

To determine how many people you will need to conduct a stock take it can be useful to do a small ‘practice’ count on a small section of stock and time how long it takes. You can then multiply that time by the remaining areas to be counted. This will give you the total “person hours” required to count all your stock. Divide this number by the amount of time available, and you’ll have the number of people necessary to meet the deadline. Finally add one person to this number to account for the ‘drag in efficiency’ of having to manage as well as count.

By considering all these questions you can conduct an effective and efficient stock take. This will ensure that not only is all stock accounted for, but you have the relevant information you need to optimise your storage and processes.