Inventory management is one of the most critical aspects of a well-run retail business, yet it is one of the hardest tasks to stay on top of. This article is intended to be the one-stop-shop for understanding Inventory Counting in Cloud Retailer.
NOTE: This documentation reflects options available in version 4.6 (or later) of Cloud Retailer. For documentation on earlier versions see here.
Between sales, purchase orders, transfers, spoilage, and shrinkage it's hard to ensure everything is always accurate. That means having a good Inventory Count process in place can help dramatically. Recognizing there are multiple ways to perform an Inventory count, we've added some flexibility to Cloud Retilaer, however, the various methods all share the same overall process:
General Inventory Count Process
- Define the scope and intent of the Inventory Count
- Prepare for the Inventory Count
- Count the Product
- Review and Reconcile the Inventory Count
- Finalize the Inventory Count
- Review Related Reports
Define the scope and intent of the Inventory Count
Why and what are you counting? This might seem like overkill, but this step will not only help you understand which options to select within the system but will also help communicate to others the value of what they are doing.
Are you counting the entire store for taxes? Cycle counting the Vodka department? Maybe you want to know what's sitting on your shelf not moving.
It's helpful to capture this why/when in a short sentence or phrase and put it into the Reference number or Notes field of the Inventory Count.
Based on your intent, this is also where you'd want to pick your Inventory count type:
- Inventory Check-in - A very lightweight inventory process that is more focused on if a Product is present at a given location, rather than specific quantities.
- Spot check - Starts with a blank Inventory Count and updates only the Products you've manually added.
- Quick adjust - Defaults the Quantity counted to the Quantity expected for given Products, then provides an interface to quickly adjust values.
- Complete audit - A more traditional "full inventory" where all given Products are expected to be scanned and counted.
NOTE: For a more complete overview of Inventory Count Types and when you might use each, please see Understanding the Inventory Count Types available in Cloud Retailer.
Prepare for the Inventory Count
Before jumping right into counting, it often pays huge dividends to take some time and prepare for the work you're going to undertake. This is a perfect opportunity to:
- Test, sync & charge mobile devices
- Identify Inventory locations and pre-count Products
- Create the Inventory Count within the Cloud Retailer Back Office:
- Print count sheets for offline counting
For additional suggestions see Inventory Counting Tips, Tricks, and FAQs.
Count the Product
And now for the fun part, counting! Fire up the scanners, sharpen the pencils, grab some caffeine, and count. Ensure you capture everything in the nooks and crannies you identified in previous steps.
Depending on your selected Inventory count type, see the following articles for detailed walkthroughs:
- For Inventory Check-ins, see Walkthrough - Checking in product with the Inventory Check-in Product Scan page
- For Quick adjust Inventory Counts, see Walkthrough - Entering values with the Inventory Count Quick Adjust page
- For Spot check and Complete audit Inventory Counts, see Walkthrough - Counting with the Inventory Count Product Scan page
One final way to input count values for an Inventory Count is through data import. Please see Walkthrough - Importing quantities into an Inventory Count for further details on that option.
Review and Reconcile the Inventory Count
You've gone through and counted your inventory. By this point in the count, you may be tired and just want to be done! It's important that all the work that's gone into the count so far pay off in the end. Did you catch all your products? Did you double-check anything that's "off"?
We've given you some tools to help you double-check your list and hone in on any outliers in your count.
In the Inventory Count Results section, we show you the number of products that you've indicated should be counted along with the number (and %) of those products where you've counted at least one product or made one change. In the grid just below, you'll see a list of Products that have a Quantity variance listed. To best understand all your outliers, it's important to click on the Quantity variance header to sort the list first by the Products with the highest positive Quantity variance, then the lowest. In both cases, you may want to recount the top Products with the highest variances that are not easily explained.
See Walkthrough - Reviewing and reconciling an Inventory Count for a more detailed account of using these tools!
Finalize the Inventory Count
You've counted and verified. Time to pull the trigger!
Each of our Inventory Count Types has a Finalize Inventory button. Once you confirm this action, each Product listed in your Inventory Count that has a Quantity variance other than 0 will have an Inventory Count Adjustment created. This action is what allows our First In First Out (FIFO) inventory management system to track that the change happened.
WARNING: It's important to call out that any Product listed on an Inventory Count that has a Quantiy variance other than 0 will be adjusted. This means specifically in Complete Audit counts, even if a product was not scanned, if it matched the filters used to create the count, it will still be adjusted!
To complete an Inventory count, see Walkthrough - Finalizing an Inventory Count.
Review Related Reports
Pushing the button is only the start, now that you have updated and accurate counts, some additional links have become available in the Next Steps section. Use the reports to better leverage the data you just collected.
For Inventory Check-ins:
- View Products that were not checked in but recently sold - Our Product Sales Analysis report keys on Products that have not been checked in recently, but have been sold within the last month. Use this report to find Products that may be out of stock and need to be reordered.
- View Products that were checked in but not recently sold - Our Product Sales Analysis report keys on Products that have been checked in recently, but have not been sold in the last month. Use this report to find Products that may be slow movers and should be further analyzed.
For all other Inventory count types:
- View Counted Inventory Value report for this count - Our Inventory Count Products and Quantity Variance report keyed in on displaying the value of the product counted by this Inventory Count, grouped by Department.
- View the Quantity Variance report for this count - Our Inventory Count Products and Quantity Variance report keyed in on displaying the variances committed by this Inventory Count.
- View Products not in stock but recently sold - A specific report aimed at finding Products that have a Quantity of 0 (or less than 0) and have been sold recently (within the last 30 days). Use this report to find Products that may be out of stock and need to be reordered.
- View Products in stock but not recently sold - A specific report aimed at finding Products that have a Quantity, but have not been sold within the last 3 months. Use this report to find Products that may be slow movers and should be further analyzed.
Other Important Inventory Count Resources
Additional Training Resources Available
Outside of the KB articles and YouTube videos, we can also host specific training for you and your team. This would be considered a premium service outside the scope of most of our deployment and support packages. Please ask a Cloud Retailer team member for additional information if interested.
- Understanding the Inventory Count Types available in Cloud Retailer
- Walkthrough - Creating an Inventory Check-in
- Walkthrough - Creating a Spot check Inventory Count
- Walkthrough - Creating a Quick adjust Inventory Count
- Walkthrough - Creating a Complete audit Inventory Count
- Walkthrough - Printing an Inventory Count for offline counting
- Walkthrough - Checking in product with the Inventory Check-in Product Scan page
- Walkthrough - Entering values with the Inventory Count Quick Adjust page
- Walkthrough - Counting with the Inventory Count Product Scan page
- Walkthrough - Importing quantities into an Inventory Count
- Walkthrough - Reviewing and reconciling an Inventory Count
- Walkthrough - Finalizing an Inventory Count
- Report - Products that were not checked in but recently sold
- Report - Products that were checked in but not recently sold
- Report - Counted Inventory Value
- Report - Quantity Variance
- Report - Not in stock but recently sold (last month)
- Report - In stock but not recently sold (within last 3 months)