How Effectively Are You Monitoring Your Inventory?

Though it is just as important as other parts of the inventory monitoring process, few people enjoy stock taking. Here are a few ideas to maximise your effectiveness and hopefully make the process less of a hassle.

A stock take is the manual inspection of inventory held on-hand. It verifies variations in quantity of items that an automated system cannot always detect. A successful stock take ensures accountability and control over essential daily operations for businesses.

The Stock Take: a pivotal point in the weekly calendar

Most managers and chefs see stocktaking as a tedious chore and often rush through it. Instead stocktaking should be seen as a pivotal point in the week. We recommend that you complete your stocktakes at least weekly because if you leave it any longer it becomes very difficult to troubleshoot when things go wrong. It is relatively easy to remember what happened over the past seven days, but any longer than this becomes a blur.

The objective is not just to get a total financial value for the stock on hand; it is also an excellent opportunity to get an understanding of your business. It can also assist in the detection of pilferage and shrinkage.

The key to success: be systematic!

  1. And it starts with goods received. You need to make sure all of the stock Items have been received and recorded before starting the stock take. Otherwise there is no way that you will be able to get an accurate cost of goods value for the period of your stock take report. Check to ensure that there are no outstanding orders in your system. Do not attempt to conduct a stock take while inventory is being delivered – you will end up double-counting.
  2. Always keep your food stock sheets arranged and updated to meet the needs of the restaurant. Make sure that all of the sheets are updated, the old foods are changed with new ones. Alternatively, for non-perishable goods, wait until you have used them all up before ordering again to save costs.
  3. Having your storerooms well organised before the stock take will make the process much easier, so get the staff to clean and organise all stock rooms prior to doing the stock take, sweeping the floors and facing all packaging outwards. 
  4. Complete the inventory using a two-person process to reduce the error rate in counting. One person counts and weighs product and calls the results aloud. The other person records and calls back. Remember all inventories should be completed by management. 
  5. Use the same staff to take inventory. They will not only get faster at it, but they will tend to be more consistent.
  6. Be thorough. Complete each storage area before moving on to a new area. Make sure there are no mistakes.
  7. Start counting from the back of the kitchen and move forward. Count at the same time every week and ensure that the same managers are counting every time. Enter counts immediately; the person who counts should also always enter the date to avoid confusion.
  8. Spot checks can be made to ensure that accuracy in the stock take has been obtained. Have a goal every week after you do that inventory – set out an action plan.

Next time we’ll look at possible causes of variances and anomalies in your inventory check.


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