What Is An Inventory?
Do you own a home business or a new small business and find it hard to keep track of everything? If so, you may need a more efficient inventory system. A tracking sheet shows you how many items are currently available. When you use inventory sheets to track orders and sale rates for each item, you can determine which ones sell better. In turn, you know which items to order more of in the future or which ones to discontinue.
Tips For Making An Inventory
The key idea is to make the document as useful as possible for yourself. If you appointed someone else to handle ordering and supply monitoring, you should meet with that individual to create a format that is useful to both of you. These are some helpful tips from experienced professionals for designing your own inventory document:
- If some of your items are similar in appearance, leave room for detailed descriptions to minimize errors.
- Be sure to include beginning and ending quantities to match against original orders.
- If you have an extensive product base, use product categories for optimal organization.
- For layouts that require counting items by hand, include a checkbox to indicate that each category was counted twice.
- If multiple people count goods or access your supply documents, include spaces for employees to initial or sign.
- If multiple employees conduct counts or use the document, include important instructions or warnings below the chart or list.
How To Make A Good Inventory Record
When the design is finished, it should be a polished template that you can print each week, month, quarter or however often you need it. Although many people keep their records online or use spreadsheets to track purchases and supplies, keeping a paper record is also important. This is especially true if you have a warehouse of products that must be counted by hand periodically. These steps will help you make the right type of document for your needs.
1. Start with a draft. Write down everything you need to know when tracking your own merchandise and supplies. If other people will use the sheet, what will they need to learn from it? Collaborate with those individuals to ensure that the list is as comprehensive as necessary. You may need to modify the final document several times after your initial printing.
2. Run a preliminary test. One way to ensure that your first printed document will be as useful as possible is to conduct inventory counting as you normally would with the new list. For example, if you are using it to count merchandise in your storeroom, do an unofficial count. If there is anything missing from the sheet that would make your job easier, you can add it before you use the document for actual counting and data entry.
3. Make department-specific boxes when necessary. If you have a smaller storeroom or supply closet, a simple list format will usually suffice. However, if multiple people are responsible for counting all of your merchandise and supplies, the list is cleaner and easier to use if you divide it into department categories. For example, imagine that you own a company with a large warehouse. You have eight departments in the warehouse, and each one has a section where it stores manufactured items and supplies. In this instance, you could have each department conduct its own counting on a master list.
4. Provide room for adequate descriptions. For office supplies or merchandise, detailed descriptions are a must. If your company manufactures and sells plastic eating utensils in a wide variety of colors, you may want to know how many royal blue fork packages were sold last month to see if you should keep manufacturing that color. If your employee who is in charge of counting included navy, royal and light blue fork packages in the same count, you will have no way of knowing unless there are production and sales records. Be sure that anyone counting supplies and merchandise knows how to use descriptive terms properly.
5. Use colored rows for long lists. If you record more than about 10 items on any counting list, make the rows for quantity in, quantity out and quantity on hand separate colors. This helps reduce column errors when you or someone else is conducting a count. When you combine this technique with dividing the list into categories, you also reduce row errors.
6. Include pricing information. This is optional and may not be ideal for your situation if you have a separate cost analysis system in place. It is better for tracking supplies or merchandise in a small business or home business. When you buy supplies and track them, you only need to enter how much the supplies cost. For any products that you make or stock to sell, enter the cost to buy them and their sale price. If you offer discounts or other promotions, use a separate cost analysis instead of relying on your inventory record for sales and purchase prices.
The previous tips and steps should help you set up the framework of your document. With the following examples, you will know what components should be on a basic list and what to include on a thorough counting sheet. You can adjust it as necessary to add other fields that are helpful to you.
Date of count
Name of person conducting count
Name of merchandise or supply
Thorough description of product
Cost of supply
Cost of buying merchandise
Sale price of merchandise
Count date: March 1, 2017
Counted by: Jon Doe, Manager
For period: February 1 – February 28
Purple, musk scent
Yellow, fresh scent
Blue, fresh scent