How Often You Should Do Your Stocktake
When it comes to food inventory management, the frequency of your stocktake plays a significant role. The answer to the question of how often depends on multiple factors. These include what type of business you have, how much control you want and the reason for doing this particular stocktake. Once you reflect on these, you’ll know what’s best for you and your business.
Why It’s Important
Ultimately, you want accuracy, efficiency and consistency with this process. Staying on top of your food inventory management means you can spot inefficiencies, issues with portion control, if there is any poor governance and even theft. This means you can intervene earlier if there is a problem and sort it out before it gets worse. It also gives you the insight you need when it comes to increasing your gross profit margin.
On the whole, across various sectors, such as hospitality, doing a monthly stocktake is quite common. But this varies in different industries and businesses as other factors require consideration. For those in the food and beverage sector, perishable goods need to be taken into account. Shop delis and restaurants are good examples. When it comes to fish or meat cuts such as steaks or chicken, if possible, these should be counted daily. Tracking of expiry dates is also a key part of this operation.
Having this level of stocktake frequency for goods such as these keeps the process more manageable as it’s regular and contributes to waste prevention. Doing your stocktake can seem like a disruption to your operations, but if it becomes a more common activity in your business, it becomes a natural part of it instead. Making it a regular requirement only serves to bring ease to your food inventory management process.
The size of your business doesn’t necessarily dictate the regularity of your food inventory management process. Whether a small or large company, you need to keep on top of your stock as unaccounted items exist at all inventory levels. The frequency of your delivery is also a factor. If you want to ensure optimum competence with your order, make sure your count is carried out before you make a new one.
Another consideration for how often to do your stocktake is the accuracy of your product tracking system. A more accurate system may give you the freedom to do it a little less often as it keeps a better track of items. If it’s less reliable like using pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets, you’ll be required to intervene more regularly. If you have a digital food inventory management process, such as Digitally, you immediately support this process, making it more efficient, reliable and accessible.
It’s also important to remember there will always be external influencing factors or unexpected obstacles as no process ever goes completely undeterred. We’ve seen this most recently with the pandemic, but this can be anything from issues accessing your stock to delivery delays.
This action of stocktaking can be carried out daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. It ultimately comes down to your desired outcome, business type and aspired level of control. In our opinion, the more frequent, the better. It’s all about minimising food waste, keeping your stock levels healthy and having a great food inventory management system. If you want better control over your GP margins, and prevent problems, do your stocktake often.