Tip of the Week December 27, 2011
Volume: 1 | Issue: 3

Tip: Inventory Reconcilation

We hope you all have had a lovely [and busy] holiday season thus far. We stayed warm by drinking hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols in between phone calls and emails. Just kidding ... Or are we?

Anywho, it is nearly 2012, which means for a lot of you, the fiscal year end. This could involve a rigorous and fun [sarcasm] process of number crunching, sales analyzing, tidying up accounts/payables and ... dare we say it, counting your inventory. Fear not though, BookManager has a built-in Inventory Reconciliation module that will help push those worries away.

Let's give you a brief idea of how we tackle this procedure in our store. Mosaic Books is nearly 9,000 sq ft with roughly 25,000 unique inventory items in stock...

First and foremost, we stay open and we do the inventory counting all in one day. In Michael's eyes, we would rather add extra staff members and work a few longer hours, than lose sales for an entire day. We also stop all receiving as going through a list of adjustments for all the sales, as well as received goods, would be a nightmare.

Our process is an easy one: we wire in a handful of networked laptops and give our dedicated staff one mission only - to roll around with these laptops and scan til the cows come home.

[Just a note: Some stores do a slight variation on our procedure; they make copies of the BM folder and treat each non-networked laptop as their own "data collector" for counting specific areas of the store . Not all bookstores have the luxury to have additional "live" stations, and therefore they just wheel around laptops with multiple copies of BookManager. So they use these copies to scan in different areas of the store, and export the counts to the "master/live" file, where the actual reconciliation gets done, along with adjustments, etc. Also, some stores will use carts to wheel back and forth their stock from shelf to computer to scan it all in. Whichever way you prefer to do it is fine - moral is, you need to get every item scanned in and accounted for.]

Once all the scanning is done, and that includes every nook and cranny that might be hiding some inventory - such as window displays, staff and customer "held" shelves and all "backroom" items - we let boss man Michael do the number crunching and adjustments. He essentially goes through the list of discrepancies and adjusts accordingly, depending on whether the item was actually lost/stolen or just sold that day as we scanned.

After he is satisfied that the list of discrepancies is accurate, he will use the simple function to adjust all the onhand quantities to match our counted quantities to make the counts our actual on hand figures. These counts will now reflect what our on hand levels are really at. The whole Inventory process seems to be a dreaded one for most retail outlets, but as we all know, it is absolutely necessary in order to accurately analyze your inventory.

The BookManager support staff has hands-on experience with pretty much every step of this, and we have gone through the process with 100's of booksellers like yourself - so please, do not hesitate to give us a call. We can offer some insight, strategies and just some warm hand-holding, so to speak. We can also show you how to generate reports including what was adjusted and where your inventory figures stand after the whole process.

For the technical nitty gritty of BookManager's Inventory Reconciliation procedure, please click here.

And for the record, if you do decide to use BookManager's built-in Inventory Reconciliation module, YES, every one of the steps MUST be preformed. Otherwise hair pulling and even tears may ensure.

Good luck! And trust us, counting inventory is really not as scary as everyone makes it out to be!

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Tip: Suggested Inventory Deletions report

Let’s face it – all of us have inventory records in our BookManager that are as old as the hills. Sometimes there are records in there for items you’ve never even ordered or sold. While this old data doesn’t do any harm, it does increase the time that it takes for reports to be generated. It could also be misleading or confusing to staff when inventory searches turn up older editions of an item that appear to be what a customer is looking for, but in reality is not an item you would (or could) obtain. Sometimes an item might still be available, but you would not want to order it again. Running the “Suggested Inventory Deletions” report can help you pinpoint items to consider for deletion, and give you a list from which you can easily mark items for deletion or delisting.

You can find this report from 0-Reports --> 2) Inventory Reports --> m) Suggested Inventory deletions. If there is an old report displayed, press <U>pdate. A list of report criteria will be displayed, which you can adjust depending on your needs, and a brief explanation of how the report works is also provided. Note: leaving the supplier and class field blank will allow you to scan through your entire inventory file.

When the report is finished, you can scroll through the report to review the items. Pressing <V>iew will allow you to see the inventory record for the highlighted item at the top, with the list of items from the report below. You can <A>djust, <E>dit, see the <H>istory of the item, <Z>Return the item, or <P>rint the report. But most important for the purposes of this report, you can <D>elete items. When you press <D>elete, you’ll be given options to delete the inventory card: <Y>es (which will delete the item), <N>o (oops, didn’t want to delete), <D>elist (I don’t want to permanently delete the item, but I want to put a “delisted” flag on it that indicates that the item is no longer something I want to order), <U>ndo (reverse a previous deletion), <R>eport (delete the item from this report), or <G>lobal (delete ALL items that are listed in this report.) It’s usually easier to review the report, <D>elete <R>eport on the ISBNs you want to keep, then <D>elete <G>lobal to delete the rest all in one go.

FYI: When an ISBN is deleted but has a link to some other file, it is marked DELETED but remains in the file to preserve the relationship. Linked deleted items can be found by in Inventory only by searching for the exact ISBN of the deleted item. Items can be <U>ndeleted up until the point that the Month-End routine runs, at which point the records that can be deleted (those with no links to other files) will be permanently purged from the inventory file.