Dreading your physical inventory? Tips for making it smooth this year
- December 14th, 2011
Last week in our Parts Inventory series we talked about the value of your parts and accessories. We also discussed what to do with those pesky obsolete parts. This week we will discuss the nuts and bolts of performing a physical inventory. In this post we discuss the tools needed to conduct an accurate and efficient parts count.
A physical inventory or parts count is a laborious process and can easily become ineffective if you are not prepared. Having the right process designed before you ever start counting is key. In other words, just don’t go through the motions. You need a plan before you start your counts and in this post we discuss some ideas to help you prepare.
Scanners and Bar Codes
Before you can start counting, you’ll want to get organized. Are all of your products clearly labeled with a readable part number? Better yet, is everything bar-coded? If you implement a bar-code system, it allows you to conduct your inventory count using scanners. Using scanners improves both the accuracy and efficiency of your count, helping to eliminate common counting errors. Parts scanners should integrate with your marina management system or your RV dealership software to ensure easy transfer of counts during this process.
If you do not have a scanner and bar code system in place, use easy to read count sheets that do not have the on-hand quantities printed on them. You should be able to print these from your marine management software or RV dealership system.
Define your process
Get together with your team and outline a plan that includes all of the different areas that need to be counted. Different people are going to think of different things, and it will be helpful to get all the input you can. Are there storage areas that you forgot about? Are there parts under the counter, or parts you are holding for customer pickup? Ask your team, I bet they know of a few hidden places.
Brainstorm with your team on all the supplies you may need to get ready for the count. Stickers to mark counted areas, clipboards and count sheets if you are not using bar code scanners, and easy access to your inventory management system.
When all of the places that need to be counted are identified, assign bin numbers to the sections. Breaking it down into small sections will help with the data entry process.
You can’t be too organized when it comes to an inventory count.
Train on all systems
Take the time to get some training on the inventory section of your parts management system. Ensure you understand the process from beginning to end, and have scheduled your inventory count to happen during a time that you have access to technical support. Let the support department know when you plan on doing your final counts so they can prepare in case there is a problem.
Educate your staff on the process ahead of time, so they know what to look for and how to spot and correct errors. Two common scenarios can occur that could slow down your inventory count: 1). Part exists in inventory but not on the count sheet or 2). Part is on the count sheet but not in inventory. Make sure they know what to do in both of these scenarios and a process is in place ahead of time to correct it. This implies also that you and your parts inventory staff are comfortable with entering parts counts into your marine management system or RV dealership software.
Bottom line: The more prepared the team is before a count, the more accurate and efficient it will turn out to be.
What tips do you have to conduct a great physical inventory count? Leave your comments here: