7 Essential Tools for Your Stocktake
Stocktake doesn’t have to be a disorganised whirlwind of activity; there are a some great tools and equipment that can make your life a whole lot easier. If you’re running a small business, you may not have state of the art stocktake equipment, but don’t worry; all the things you need are available for hire, too.
We’ve put together this comprehensive list of items that will definitely make your stocktake easier, more accurate, safer, and quicker. Not all of these essentials are expensive pieces of equipment - some are wonderfully cheap and easy! Have a read and see which tools appeal to you and your business.
1. PDA Stocktake Scanners
If you’re going to hire just one tool, make it some stocktake scanners. Also known as PDA scanners, PDA barcode scanners, or portable data terminals, these handy items do not simply scan barcodes. In addition to scanning barcode IDs, a PDA scanner will also capture location, date, and quantity information.
How do stocktake scanners save time?
Conducting a stocktake with PDA scanners takes three separate jobs and condenses them down to one. Using the old pen and paper method requires one person to count, one person to write down information, and a third person to enter data into the system.
What’s the difference between a PDA scanner and a barcode scanner?
During your research you will come across a variety of terms for stocktake scanners, which can become quite confusing! The key difference between a PDA scanner and a barcode scanner is that a barcode scanner will simply scan the barcode ID and send the data to a program you have chosen, such as Microsoft Excel.
A barcode scanner will not capture as much data as a PDA scanner, which is why we’re only including PDA scanners in this list of essential stocktake equipment.
2. Inventory Management Software
Inventory management software is crucial for anyone running a retail business. Instead of manually keeping track of stock through Excel spreadsheets, which can easily get out of hand and out of date, move over to something more sophisticated.
This isn’t just an inventory numbers game - proper inventory management software will offer a range of features, including:
- Real time data
- Cloud-based storage
- Complex reports
- Integration with barcode scanners
- Automated ordering
- Planning and forecasting
- Label printing
Bear in mind that if you’re using PDA scanners, you will need a compatible inventory management system for inputting data.
For more information, you should check out two of our in-depth inventory management articles; Inventory Management 101 and The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Inventory Management Software.
3. Counting Scales
If you stock large quantities of very small items, for example, gemstones or beads, it’s going to be a hard task counting them all by hand. If you have bundled stock in your storeroom, that should be easy enough, but small items out on the shop floor can be easily counted with counting scales. There are various companies out there who hire these scales to businesses.
This one is for anybody with a large storeroom or warehouse. You may need to move quite a few pallets around during stocktake, so it’s a good idea to have a forklift on hand, as well as an experienced driver.
5. Store Map
This is something you can create for free and shouldn’t take more than an hour or two, depending on the size of your store. You should clearly mark out all areas of the store, colour code them, and assign teams to particular zones. You should probably complete this phase a week before your stocktake to ensure things run smoothly.
6. Stocktake Stickers
You’ll need some coloured dot or square stickers to colour code your map and to place in areas of the store as products are counted. These are low cost and can be found in Staples or any good office supplies or stationery shops.
7. Rockin’ Playlist
Don’t let stocktake night pass in tedious silence. Create a fun and upbeat playlist to keep everyone in a good mood. Don’t forget to order food in if the count runs overtime!
Need more stocktake tips? Check out our article, 8 Steps to Stocktake Success!