10 Minute Tidy Tip 101: Inventory

by shannon on May 12, 2014

Tracking your inventory is not only a requirement for taxes, it also helps your business run more efficiently – spending more time creating, working, and selling whatever it is you have in your inventory. Having a system to track inventory offers you peace of mind and less time wondering where it is and how much you have.

There are a variety of systems available to you, depending on the type, quantity, and physical space your inventory takes up. You can use a system as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, or something more sophisticated with bar code tracking. Whatever system you chose, there are 2 major components to managing your inventory. There is the physical space – storage and retrieval, and the tracking portion- computer based.

If your inventory is something you sell, or contains finished goods that you sell, you might find a POS (point of sale) inventory tracking system useful. This will keep track of your physical inventory based on front end sales. Most accounting software includes an inventory component (QuickBooks, MYOB, etc.,) and there are numerous other software options available. First determine your budget, capacity, and accounting needs to better evaluate your options.

If you are on the go, and your inventory doesn’t always stay in one place, you need to track your inventory via forms, or barcode scanners – something that tracks inventory the minute is moves out. It has to be fast and easy, otherwise it might not get recorded. When you return to the office, inputting inventory/sales is a critical task.

For inventory that stays in one place – maximizing your space and ease of getting your hands on what you want when you want it- are the main factors to consider. Rolling shelving is great for this – you can stack all the shelves up close together and only pull out the ones you need. Akro bins of varying sizes with labels on the front are standard. The Uline company is a great resource for these and many other inventory and storage products. Numbering and labeling your shelves and bins, and keeping that list on your computer will help you (and anyone else) find specific inventory items quickly.

Whatever system you put into practice, it is important to document it and make sure the system is used and updated consistently so that everyone involved in selling, using, and replenishing inventory is trained in the proper procedures.

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