Stocktaking: the steps to success

Posted on February 6 2024

Reading time: 4 minutes

If you are a business owner, you know that stocktaking is a recurring task that must be done regularly to ensure the smooth running of operations. 

So what are the steps to carry out a stocktaking?

the steps to
success with inventory shelves on the right side

The importance of stocktaking  

Stocktaking is an essential task for any type of business, regardless of your sector of activity. It allows you to have a precise vision of the quantity and value of products, raw materials, finished goods, and all items stored in the warehouse or on the shelves. 

This process also allows you to quickly detect discrepancies between theoretical and real stocks, and thus prevent losses, and possible thefts and optimize stocktaking management.

How to carry out the stocktaking? 

Stocktaking as such consists of counting the stocks, which makes it important to do it regularly for efficient inventory management. To ensure the success of this task, here are the steps to follow: 

1. Planning 

Planning is the first essential step in stocktaking. Before beginning the physical count, it is important to plan the process. This involves determining when the stocktaking will be done, suspending inventory movement during that time, deciding where to start, and making sure everything you need is on hand. 

Planning can help minimize disruptions in the day-to-day operations of the business and ensure that all necessary resources are available to conduct an effective stocktaking. It is also important to communicate the dates of the stocktaking to all relevant personnel in advance to minimize scheduling conflicts.

2. Choosing the appropriate method of taking an ivory sample

The periodic method 

The periodic method consists of performing a complete inventory count at a pre-determined time, usually at the end of a month, quarter, or year. This method is simple and suitable for companies with relatively stable or small inventories.

The partial method 

The partial method involves counting inventory at a point in time when you are about to place an order with your supplier. This allows you to order the exact number of goods you need so that you don’t run out and have to deal with an overstock, or order less and run out of product later on.  

The method by product category 

The product category method consists of counting products according to their category, such as raw materials, finished goods, office supplies, corporate clothing, etc. This method is useful for companies that have a large variety of products in their inventory and therefore wish to spread the inventory taking over several days, for example, so as not to interfere with current operations.

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3. The physical count of the inventory

This step is essential for accurate and reliable results and involves counting the items in stock. 

During the physical count, it is also important to note any discrepancies or anomalies in the inventory, such as expired, damaged or missing products.

Physical counting can be done using several methods such as barcode scanners or paper stocktaking sheets, but it is important to have a clear method for recording the results of the count

4. Verification of the count 

Verification of the count is a crucial step in ensuring the accuracy of inventory data and effective inventory management.

This step consists of comparing the results obtained during the physical count with the reference data. It is important to verify that the quantities counted are correct and that any errors are identified. If an error is found, the count must be repeated to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the inventory data. 

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5. Discrepancy Analysis 

Once you have completed the physical count and verified the results, it is important to record the results of the stocktaking. This step is essential to maintaining accurate stocktaking. 

If significant discrepancies are identified, or markdowns whether known or unknown are found, it is important that you analyze and correct them immediately to ensure the accuracy of the stocktaking. 

This analysis can also help you identify potential problems in inventory management, such as inventory turnover problems or supply problems, which can be resolved to improve the efficiency of inventory management in the long run.

The steps below may appear easy to perform, however, human error can occur during data entry, resulting in inconsistencies in stocktaking reports.

How to avoid errors when taking stocktaking? 

Inventory management software can greatly facilitate stocktaking by automating many tedious tasks. 

For example, Ill can automatically track inventory movements and update stocktaking levels in real-time, which reduces the risk of errors and optimizes the time you spend doing the verification. 

The software can also provide you with analysis tools to help you identify trends and discrepancies in inventory levels. 

These features will save you time and money by reducing the time needed to take inventory and optimizing day-to-day inventory management. 

By using inventory management software such as Hector, you can perform your stocktaking efficiently without the need for a specialized team.

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