Top Tips for Managing Your Year End Inventory

Inventory labelsChristmas is just weeks away, which means presents, great food and time spent with friends and family. However, the rapidly approaching holiday means something else as well: inventory day. For some, this time consuming process can mean chaos and hair pulling. However, with the right planning, the process can run smoothly and efficiently.

Preparation. Like with most things, preparation is half the battle. Make sure that the inventory area is clean and organized. If you have inventory that doesn’t turn over often, consider counting and tagging those items early. Separate and label anything that shouldn’t be included as part of the inventory.

Inventory Instructions. While it may be a hassle, management should take the time to write out specific instructions for performing inventory and give it to employees in advance. Having written instructions will ensure everyone is following the same process and eliminate confusion on inventory day.

Moving inventory. In order for the process to run smoothly, it’s important for inventory movement to be kept to a minimum or, even better, stopped altogether. If you cannot shut down your business during inventory, it’s important that your instructions detail the plan for how that movement will be monitored and documented.

Counting. One process that works well is to divide the inventory and assign each section to be counted by two employees with a supervisor overseeing their work. Employees should, after counting each product, sign off on their count.

Recounts. The supervisor for each section should be responsible for performing recounts.

Damaged inventory. Any inventory that is damaged or obsolete should be removed in advance. However, employees should also keep an out for damaged or obsolete inventory while they are counting.

With the right amount of preparation and a specific plan in place, the entire process, while still time consuming, can run smoothly. Make sure you stock up on the inventory labels and any other tools you will need to sort and manage your inventory.