You complete a stock take to get an accurate count of your stock at a particular point in time. Shrinkage, theft and loss mean that system produced stock numbers fall out of line and the only way to determine the difference between what the system says is on the floor and what is actually on the floor, is to conduct a physical stock take. Most companies are reactive in the process and count stock based on their accountants need for the information at financial year end. Rather than using a stock take as a management tool to maintain optimal inventory levels and to increase control, they see it as an arduous statutory requirement.
Much of this arduousness (strangely this is a real word) is due to poor practice and outdated techniques. With new technology and methodology now available, a stock take can be done super efficiently… and cost effectively… and more often. Conducting regular stock takes (frequency will depend on the type of business) will allow for stock relate problems to be identified sooner reducing the risk of poor practice or theft compounding the losses over time. Businesses should conduct regular stock takes at least once a month and maybe more often if margins are tight. In some operations the profit margin is low and the loss or damage of each single item can have a major impact on profitability. Identifying problem areas and identifying them sooner can have a material impact on a companies bottom line.
If your products are barcoded then the process becomes far easier and with new scanning technology now available on smartphones and tablets it becomes much more cost effective to make stock takes part of your operations management on an ongoing basis.