EOFY stocktake tips

Baby Anything store

The prospect of stocktake can be overwhelming. But with the right preparation and tools, a streamlined stocktake is possible.

At a glance

Here’s a snapshot of some tips from our interviewees:

  • Thorough record-keeping throughout the year will make stocktake on the day easier and more accurate.
  • Make sure your hardware and software are in working order and are up to the task.
  • Put your A-team on the job and look after them throughout the day.
  • Don’t compromise customer service by trying to complete stocktake and sell at the same time.

Alison Smith is Brand Manager at jewellery company Baby Anything, and has 20 years of experience running retail stocktakes.

“Accurate stock levels are essential so we can sell what we have and keep our production coming through to re-stock what we don’t have,” she explains. “If there are inaccuracies, we might accidentally sell something online that we don’t have, and this means disappointing a customer. Conversely, we might over-produce to make items we already have, which is a waste of time and resources.”

Here, Alison shares her top tips for a smooth and accurate stocktake.

Stocktake isn’t just for June – how to keep it up during the year

  • Consider doing a pre-stocktake earlier in the year. We did one in March to check some categories that seemed to have some stock errors.
  • Keep an eye out all year for quantities in stock that look irregular. Minimise the people who can edit your stock levels so there’s less chance of human error.
  • Integrate your online store directly to your POS so stock changes can happen automatically instead of manually.

A little preparation goes a long way – what to do the week before stocktake

  • Make sure all of your stock is tagged correctly and accessible. This might mean simplifying in-store displays temporarily so you don’t disturb too much floor stock on the day.
  • Run some preliminary reports to get an idea of the quantities you have on hand in each product category so you can gauge how long stocktake will take and which categories will be the most time-consuming.
  • Check any hardware you might need to use, like scanners or tablets, are working and have the right software loaded.
  • Figure out how you need to treat orders, items on lay-by and items on hold. Some systems will require you to account for these in specific ways. Go through them beforehand so you know what needs to be counted on the day.

From snacks to scanning – how to manage the day

  1. Start early! It’s going to be a long day.
  2. Make sure your A-team is working. Choose the staff who are fast, accurate and know the product well. They will be most likely to pick up existing errors and less likely to create new ones.
  3. Bring food that will keep the team going all day, snacks and plenty of water. Don’t waste time going out for anything other than coffee. And there will always come a time in the day when you need to eat chocolate – make sure you have some on hand!
  4. Keep a checklist – whether a list of categories or by drawing up a map of the shop. Mark off when areas are done to prevent double-scanning or missing anything.
  5. Start with something nice and easy to get you into the swing of the day – a small category or display.
  6. Tackle your biggest or most complex category mid-morning – not at the end of the day when you’re exhausted. For Baby Anything, that category is rings – we have so many and each is individually sized. Once that category is done, the rest feels easier.
  7. If possible, don’t trade during stocktake. No one likes coming into the store when it’s a mess, customer service suffers and it’s frustrating for the stocktake staff to be interrupted. If you have to trade, consider a late opening instead so stocktake can be done in private.
  8. If you decide to trade after stocktake, send in a fresh team. The stocktake team will be tired and frazzled – let them go home!
  9. If you’re not trading, allow your staff to dress for comfort. It’s a long, hard day and your staff will need to move around a lot more than usual.

Ready to make the investment that will take your small business to the next level? Speak with one of our small business lending specialists about how a Prospa Small Business Loan could help make this EOFY your most exciting yet.

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