Written by: Brook Kole, Inventory Control Manager at PBD Worldwide
The dreaded notice comes out that there will be a full physical inventory count coming up in one month. Do you delete the notice because you think you do not play an active part in the count or do you start planning on what your role is or how you can assist? Remember, everyone in the organization is responsible for inventory control whether you are in receiving, outbound, customer service, sales, etc.
At PBD, we believe the biggest factors for a successful inventory are "no movement" and the "prep" put in prior to the count. These enable you to get through the actual count with as few distractions and slowdowns as possible. Let's take a deeper look at the "no movement" and "prep" needed for physical inventory counts.No Movement. No matter how sophisticated your system is, the best inventory counts, reconciliations and results come from not having any stock or system movement during the count. This means clear, concise cut-offs for each functional area. You want your inventory to be a "snapshot" not a "motion picture". Trying to hunt down material that has moved since the inventory began can waste time and be frustrating, making you appear disorganized to an auditor.
Prep. Imagine you are the one responsible for counting and no one "prepped" for the count. Now imagine the item you are counting is a small widget and all of them are just thrown loose into a box. You empty the box and start counting one-by-one, tossing the widgets back into the box. You finish 20 minutes later and you record your count. Later on, there is a variance on that item. The recount person does the same thing. Then the auditor selects that item and does the same thing. 60 minutes have now been spent on counting one SKU. You're frustrated, the recount person is frustrated and the auditor is frustrated.
The inventory team could have used their prep time to avoid this frustration by making sure the inventory was organized and ready for the count, or what we call at PBD "Showroom Ready".
- All sealed cartons have labels forward with carton quantity visible.
- All small loose stock is either stacked in multiples, boxed and sealed or banded in easy to count stacks.
Up front time and preparation allows for a quick posting of the inventory and resumption of normal business. If there is an auditor, it makes it easy for them to perform their test counts and also gives them the confidence that the count is well run, accurate and organized.
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