Preparing to take inventory
Business & Leadership Behaviors Project Management Thoughts

5 Tips to Get Your Team Ready for Your Next Inventory

Conducting inventories on your assets is a necessary evil for many of us.  I don’t think I know anyone who gets excited about doing them.  They are frequently considered a pain – but the inventory must be done.

At HL Group, our whole mission is to make your inventories easier – and over the years, we’ve helped a lot of teams get ready.

Here are some tips to make your next inventory effort a little easier.  They may seem pretty obvious – but you may (or may not) be surprised how frequently overlooked.

1.  Review your goals.  I know – this sounds a little stupid.  Your goal is just to get it done, right?  What I’m talking about here is the WHY.  Why are you doing this audit?  Is it for compliance reasons?  Do you need it for financial reporting?  Maybe for operational planning or budgeting?  The WHY often gets lost along the way.  But it’s important because it (should) shape the whole effort.

Which leads us to our next tip:

2.  Review your parameters.  What information do you need to collect during the inventory?  Do you just need to know that an asset still exists?  Do you need to know the location?  Is there other information that should be verified – like condition or operability?

Having someone standing in front of the asset offers a great opportunity to ensure your data about that asset is correct.  But that person standing there needs to know what you need to know.

3.  Review the last round.  How did the previous inventory go?  Were there mistakes made that you’d like to prevent this time?  Were there things done that made the outcome more of a success – and should definitely be repeated?   Taking a little time to review your last effort may prevent some issues in your next one.

4.  Get some extra tags.  Make sure you have some additional asset tags on hand for your inventory team to take with them on their counts.  That way, if an existing tag is damaged or the asset never had a tag, your inventory team can clean up the tagging as they go.  Again – take advantage of having that person actually standing in front of the asset & get as much done while they’re there.

5.  Consider automation.  There are inventory tools that operate on mobile devices that can do things like:

  • automate creating and distributing your inventory lists,
  • managing the audit activities,
  • collecting the count and asset data,
  • cleaning up the data before reporting to your ERP and other business systems – and more.

Obviously, I have some biases regarding which one you choose (are you familiar with mobilePLUS?).

Regardless, there are solutions available that can be implemented quickly to help make your next inventory round easier, more efficient, and much more accurate.

Again, I know these tips seem obvious – but they are frequently skipped in pursuit of just getting the task done and moving on.

However, if you want to avoid risking recounts or just make the most of the inventory activity, these activities can help.