It’s Time to Get Counting: The Tricks & Tips to Physical Inventory

With the last few weeks of summer almost here and the end of 2016 not far behind, it’s time to get counting! Yes…it’s true, the time has arrived to start preparing your store or retail business for its year-end physical inventory count.

For some retailers, just the thought of a physical inventory can cause them significant anxiety and dread. However, as tedious as it may seem, it is still a very crucial part to any store’s annual operations. Being able to account for what you have on record vs. what you actually have in store, enables you to maintain more accurate inventory numbers, detect potential areas of shrinkage or loss early on, and be confident that your store will be able to keep up to customer demand.  So, it’s not something that should be skipped or done carelessly, but that doesn’t mean it has to be like pulling teeth.

To make your next physical inventory just a little less painful, here are some simple tricks and tips to the count that can help this often detested task seem a lot more manageable.

Have a game plan

It’s important to remember that doing a physical inventory count is more like a marathon than a sprint. To conquer the task successfully requires thorough preparation and planning. By front-loading the work, you can save yourself a lot of frustration, and even time, on the actual day of the count. Here are some of the steps you should consider in preparation for your inventory count:

  1. Schedule a specific day in advance
  2. Create a map and/or layout of your store, stockroom, or warehouse
  3. Organize and prepare the stock to be counted
  4. Closeout all in-process orders and outstanding bills
  5. Prepare your staff and assign employees specific roles and areas for the count

Doing these tasks prior to the actual count will help you ensure that the day is as productive and stress-free as possible. To have an accurate count, you can’t let yourself be preoccupied with other tasks. Careful planning and proper preparation will allow you to focus on the task at hand and increase the likelihood of an accurate count and minimize the need for multiple re-counts, which will pay off big time for your business.

Be strategic when executing the count

The day has arrived. You have done your due diligence—you’ve processed all pending transactions and reconciled all inter-store transfers; assigned roles; and have ensured your warehouse or stockroom has been organized and mapped out—now what?

It’s time to see all your hard work and effort pay off, but that means making and actually following through with your game plan. Not everything will go according to plan, and that’s OK. However, by setting goals and trying to stick to a plan to accomplish those goals, you’ll end up feeling much better about the day. For instance, tackling your inventory in sections, according to a stockroom map, can make the daunting chore seem quite a bit more reasonable. You and your staff will feel satisfaction in being able to actually visualize the progress you’ve made.

Trade the pen and paper for a more efficient method

It’s time to ditch the pen and paper and switch to a digital solution for tallying your inventory. Just because it’s called Physical Inventory, doesn’t mean you have to take it literally. It’s 2016; leverage technology to make this process much more efficient and way less tiresome. Portable inventory devices or data collectors, like the AML LXD10, are easily the most efficient and accurate method for taking count of your stock.


Physical Inventory AML LDX10In the past, a major drawback of portable inventory devices was their relatively high cost, and therefore, the initial investment needed to have enough of the units to complete the process. The increase in efficiency and accuracy alone could be argument enough to invest in these devices, but even that’s not necessary now. Retailers can now easily defray their expenses by renting scanners or even sharing devices with other businesses.

We understand that doing a physical inventory count is not exactly high on anyone’s list of things they want to do, but we also know how valuable your inventory is to your business. So, Retail Control System is offering you an exclusive deal on AML LXD10 data collectors. Until September 30th, 2016 RCS will be having a 10% off promotion on all rentals or purchases of AML LXD10 data collectors. To find out more about this promotion, please contact one of our sales representatives by emailing, or calling 1-800-417-3030, option 1.