Be Counted.

Table of Contents

Preparing for a physical inventory count plays an essential role in many businesses, particularly those in the retail and manufacturing sectors. To ensure that an inventory count is as accurate and efficient as possible, there are several crucial areas of preparation to consider. In this blog post, we discuss the primary considerations one must take into account.

1. Organization

Warehouse Organization

For any physical inventory to be successful, it starts with proper organization. Specifically, the way products are stored in a warehouse has a direct impact on the efficiency of the count.

Ensuring that products are neatly organized and placed in the correct slots is fundamental. Avoiding mixed pallets and mixed bins is vital as they lead to inefficiencies during the count.

Furthermore, the flow within the warehouse facility should be strategically designed. For example, the inbound area should be distinguishably separated from the outbound to ensure a streamlined process.

Process Organization

Another significant facet of organization relates to the internal processes a company has in place. The warehouse management system (WMS) is a critical tool here.

A well-structured and utilized WMS not only aids in organizing the products but also ensures that when it’s time for the count, there are fewer hiccups, fewer questions, and thus, increased efficiency.

If the WMS isn’t organized or isn’t used effectively, it can lead to more questions, more meetings, and overall inefficiency during the inventory count.

2. Effective Labeling

Product Labeling

A simple yet often overlooked aspect of preparing for a physical inventory count is the labeling of products.

Ensuring that products have clear barcodes or product numbers can drastically speed up the counting process. The last thing one would want during a count is to be unclear about which product is which.

Location Labeling

Location labeling, often achieved through clear bin or shelf labels, is equally critical. Even if products are well labeled, if their locations within the warehouse aren’t clearly marked, it can still lead to confusion.

While it is possible to create temporary locations, it’s always best to have a permanent, clear labeling system in place for verification during the count.

3. Clear Out Obsolete or Outdated Product

One of the best practices when preparing for a physical inventory count is to ensure that all outdated or obsolete products are cleared out. Not only does this make the count quicker and easier, but it also ensures that the data collected is as accurate as possible in reflecting the current status of the inventory.

4. Prioritize Communication

Setting the Scope

Ensuring clear communication with the inventory count provider is of paramount importance. Both parties need to be on the same page regarding the scope of the project. Proper communication ensures accurate planning for staffing needs, count duration, and other logistical aspects.

Team Training and Coordination

Ensuring that the internal team is adequately prepared is equally crucial. This includes ensuring the right staffing levels, coordinating the timing of the count, and providing any necessary training. Training is particularly essential if there are hybrid processes in place that the team needs to be aware of.

To guarantee smooth operations, it’s beneficial to schedule coordination meetings or pre-count meetings with the leadership teams. This ensures operational and logistic alignment throughout the counting process.


Preparing for a physical inventory count is no small feat, but with strategic organization, effective labeling, clearing out obsolete products, and fostering clear communication, the process can be streamlined and made far more efficient. If you have questions or need assistance with your upcoming inventory count, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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