With the end of the financial year looming, businesses across Australia will be gearing up for their annual stocktake. For many people, the very mention of the word “stocktake” is synonymous with “headache”. For most of us who have ever taken part in a routine stocktake, it conjures up memories of endless hand counting of ‘widgets’ and ‘whatnots’ which was enough to drive you to drink!
These days, it’s a lot different.…………….And, it isn’t only at the end of the financial year when stocktakes are important.
The idea behind a stocktake is to reconcile your physical stock on hand with your inventory records and to analyse the discrepancies. It basically gives you a financial snapshot of your business. Stocktaking is traditionally done at the end of the financial year with a fully manual audit. Some businesses, however, choose to do it more often, finding continuous cycle counts are best and minimise nasty surprises once a year.
Carlo Santoro, Managing Director of RetailCare, says that stocktaking is a very valuable tool.
“And if you go about it the right way”, he says, “it’s relatively quick and extremely helpful in giving you information about your business that you may not be aware of.”
With mid-year clearance sales about to start, many retailers are hoping to move mountains of dead stock and end of life products, but do they really know exactly what those items are and how many they have to sell?
Santoro believes that getting a detailed analysis of your inventory levels prior to commencing a sale is the key.
“By assessing your stock before you start your sales, you’ll have an accurate picture of exactly what you need to move and the margins that you can work with. Discounting is great, but it needs to be done in a way that is still beneficial for the business where possible.”
Technology has come a long way since the days of manually counting ‘widgets’. Barcode scanners for stocktaking save time and money and these days, they are portable, cordless and omni directional. Bluetooth varieties can provide reliable and secure wireless transmission of data, making things simpler still.
Most POS systems today too, contribute greatly to making stocktaking a breeze, with sophistication and ‘intelligence’ that the humble cash register sadly lacked. The results of a stocktake can be reconciled against the inventory records and generated into a report in just a few easy steps.
There is no doubt that the results of a stocktake are very significant. They will allow you to make informed decisions in your business about stock management, highlight slow movers or obsolete items, help you plan for better buying and budgeting, and assist you in identifying and dealing with theft.
So, with the sale season fast approaching, ensure that you get the edge on your competitors and have the right information in place before you start discounting. Most importantly, get help and advice if you need it. An early stocktake makes a lot of sense and can save you valuable dollars!
RetailCare is a retail specialist – specialising in personalised, comprehensive consulting & training services on retail operations such as stocktaking, reporting, rostering, developing first-class customer service, sophisticated system security plus invaluable advice on Point of Sale (POS) systems and digital services such as website design, domain names & social networking.