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Enhancing Inventory Management: EPOS & Stock Control Solutions

Efficient inventory management is a cornerstone of successful business operations. In this blog, we explore the intricacies of stock control, with a focus on the indispensable role of EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) systems and specialised stock control solutions. Tailored for trade counters, retail stores, and businesses with a need for advanced transaction processing and inventory management, this guide aims to provide valuable insights and best practices for optimising stock control processes.

Fundamentals of Stocktaking:

Stocktaking is the meticulous process of physically counting and recording the quantities and conditions of items within an inventory or warehouse. It serves as a pivotal element in stock control and inventory management, ensuring the accuracy of records and facilitating informed decision-making in areas such as procurement, production, and sales.

Key Objectives of Stocktaking:

  • Ensuring Accuracy of Inventory Records: The process of physical counting validates inventory records, mitigating discrepancies that could lead to financial losses and operational inefficiencies.
  • Identifying Discrepancies: Stocktaking uncovers potential issues such as theft, damage, or errors in data entry by revealing discrepancies between physical inventory and recorded amounts.
  • Informing Purchasing Decisions: Accurate inventory records obtained through stocktaking offer insights into stock levels and consumption rates, enabling businesses to make informed decisions on when and how much to reorder.
  • Optimising Production Planning: For businesses involved in manufacturing or production, stocktaking of raw materials, components, and finished goods is essential for planning production schedules efficiently.
  • Preventing Expired or Damaged Goods: Stocktaking helps identify expired or damaged goods, ensuring that only quality products are offered to customers, thereby maintaining satisfaction and preventing revenue loss.

Stocking Methods and Frequency:

The frequency of stocktaking varies based on the nature of the business, the value of inventory, and the risk of discrepancies. Two primary levels of stock counts serve distinct purposes:

  • Complete Stock Counts: This method involves counting all inventory at a specific point in time, providing historical accuracy. It is recommended at least annually but may not prevent real-time issues.
  • Perpetual Stock Counts: Conducted in real-time, perpetual stock counts are regular, partial counts based on specific criteria. These proactive measures identify issues before they escalate, allowing for immediate corrective actions.

Seen vs. Blind Stock Checks:

Two approaches to stock checks, seen and blind, offer distinct advantages.

  • Seen Stock Checks: The traditional approach provides full visibility of items during the count. While effective for validating inventory records, it is susceptible to human error and potential manipulation.
  • Blind Stock Checks: This method introduces an element of surprise, as individuals performing the count lack access to product information or visual cues. While more time-consuming, blind stock checks promote meticulous counting and uncover discrepancies that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Stocktake Checklist – To ensure a smooth stocktaking process, a comprehensive checklist is recommended:

Before the Stocktake:

  • Set a date and time for the stocktake during non-busy hours.
  • Notify staff about their roles in the stocktaking process.
  • Prepare up-to-date stock records and label stocktake sheets with location details.
  • Organise the stockroom for efficiency.
  • Isolate stock that hasn’t been recorded or dispatched.

During the Stocktake:

  • Assign counting teams and divide the stockroom into sections.
  • Count each item individually without estimation.
  • Record counts clearly on stocktake sheets.
  • Double-check counts with a second person to ensure accuracy.
  • Reconcile counts and resolve any discrepancies.

After the Stocktake:

  • Review records for anomalies and discrepancies.
  • Identify potential causes of discrepancies, such as theft or data entry errors.
  • Remove obsolete or expired stock.
  • Adjust inventory records to reflect actual stock levels.
  • Analyse stocktake results for insights and communicate findings to relevant stakeholders.

Additional Tips for Success:

  • Use a consistent counting method to ensure accuracy.
  • Train staff on stocktaking procedures.
  • Utilise technology, such as barcode scanners and stock control software, for efficiency.
  • Conduct regular stocktakes to identify and address issues promptly.
  • Periodically review and refine stocktaking procedures for continuous improvement.

In summary, stocktaking remains an essential practice for businesses seeking operational excellence. By implementing regular stocktaking procedures and leveraging appropriate tools and methods, businesses can maintain control over their inventory, make informed decisions, and improve overall financial performance. The integration of EPOS systems and dedicated stock control solutions serves as a strategic approach for businesses aiming to elevate their stock control practices to a professional standard. You can find more information about our integrated EPOS and stock control solutions here.

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