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How to manage a successful year end stock take

How to manage a successful year end stock take


With Spring fast approaching, many companies are preparing for their financial year end, which means warehousing businesses are preparing for their year-end stock takes. As an essential part of warehouse management, conducting stock takes helps businesses identify problem areas, allowing them to create plans to minimise waste and improve efficiency.

With over 20 years experience in warehouse management processes, Bit Systems have put together a handy top 5 list of things to think about when you are planning for your year-end stock take.

1. Plan
Planning for any stock take, whether it’s conducted once a year or once a month, will help your business work more efficiently with reduced disruptions. As part of your planning process, understanding the resources you need to process your stock take will improve organisation and efficiency. In general, common resources needed for a successful year end stock take includes:

  • Clipboards
  • Stock sheets
  • Pens
  • Calculators
  • Handheld scanners/mobile devices (if you use barcoding inventory management software)

In addition to this, estimating the time it will take to complete the stock take will help with time management, and give warehouse operatives counting the stock a deadline to work towards. It’s important to consider that pushing for a shorter stock take deadline may in theory minimise business disruption, however if pushed too far, more mistakes are likely to happen.

2. Organisation 
Organising your staff is a hugely important task to make sure there are still enough warehouse operatives to complete customer orders. Once you know how many people are in each stock-counting team, assigning roles to each member will help reduce confusion about each activity they need to carry-out. A supervisor should also be assigned to each section of the warehouse that’s being counted in case there are any issues or questions during the count.

Having a systematic approach to stock counting will help keep consistency and provide a structure for the teams carrying it out. Organising each team to count, for example, from top to bottom and left to right, will avoid duplicate counts and create a more efficient counting process.

3. Identify
Every piece of stock your business owns should be identified, including inventory that’s held in other locations, for a thorough stock take. For items that have already been invoiced to customers, they should be held separately and not included in the count, otherwise it could cause a misrepresentation of stock that is available. There should also be a plan for damaged items to be taken note of, and whether they can be sold at a discounted price or disposed of completely.

4. Value (£)
Once the stock take has been completed and verified, it should be valued for accounts purposes. As your inventory is an asset for your organisation, its value can help you understand your business’ stock turnover ratio, which can further help your business with planning purchasing decisions.

5. Improvement
A result of managing a successful stock take is that it will provide beneficial insights into stock movements, for example items that are slow-moving and those which need to be ordered in higher quantities. The information gathered from stock takes should be used to improve efficiency of picking moving forward, for example by relocating the quickest selling closer to dispatching points to save time.

Planning your end of year stock takes can often seem like an overwhelming task. However, by breaking it up into manageable stages, you can gain greater control over your processes. Technologies such as barcoding stock management software that can assist with tasks such as resource allocation, item traceability, and that offers valuable stock information insights, can also help with managing and delivering a successful stock take.

If you would like further advice or guidance on how you could improve your stock taking process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 03300 245452 or email