A simple guide to inventory counting and methods for the AV and event industry

Making sure you have the most up-to-date inventory count is important. If you don’t, you risk running into equipment shortages when planning an event. Meaning you’ll have to scramble for alternatives or subrentals.

However, an accurate count enables you to determine if you have the proper inventory to take on an additional project, if your inventory process functions properly, and implement additional checks as needed to work more efficiently and reduce losses.

Inventory counting methods are vital for managing your stock effectively, allowing you to keep track of inventory accurately and prevent losses from theft or other problems. That’s why we’ll guide you through:

1. What is inventory counting
2. Inventory counting methods
3. When to do your inventory count
4. Who should be involved in inventory counting
5. Taking action based on the outcome
6. How software can help your inventory counting efforts


What is inventory counting?

Inventory counting means keeping track of what you have in stock (including rentals and sales items) by physically counting all your products. Compare that number with previous counts to evaluate differences in quantities, discrepancies, and spot popular items

It's a structured process where you separate items, count them, and record the numbers. The main goal is to know exactly how much inventory you have at any given time.


Which inventory counting method is best?

In the AV and event industry, companies are often busy all year round. This can make it difficult to find the time to conduct a full inventory count.

There are four methods to consider for counting your inventory:

  1. Full inventory count: A complete count of all inventory items, typically done annually or bi-annually. This gives you a good overview but can be time-consuming if you need to do this across multiple warehouses.
  2. Cycle counting: Involves counting small sections of the inventory regularly, such as daily or weekly. This allows for the early detection of issues.
  3. Tag counting: Counting inventory items by physically attaching tags or labels to them for transparency and accuracy.
  4. Ad-hoc counting: Random counting of inventory items for special purposes, such as in case of emergencies or to investigate discrepancies.

All methods will give you a full overview of your inventory. However, it’s up to you to decide which tactic best suits you and if you prefer to do a full count in a few days or spread this out in smaller time frames throughout the year.

If you’re physically and manually counting all of your inventory, cycle counting allows you to spot shortages quickly. So if an item is stolen, it’s easier to implement stricter processes in the warehouse to prevent this from happening again before your next cycle count. With a full inventory count, this problem wouldn’t be noticed until later.


When to conduct an inventory count?

The frequency of inventory counting depends on which method is the right one for your business and needs. Some companies choose to do it on a weekly or monthly basis while others do it annually or bi-annually.

Finding the right time to execute an inventory count will look different for each event company and depend on your event calendar. If your company caters to multiple types of events, it may seem like you never have a spare to conduct an inventory count.

One solution may be to identify periods with relatively fewer events scheduled, even if they are brief, and leverage those windows of opportunity to execute the inventory count. Alternatively, consider implementing a cycle counting approach, where smaller sections of the inventory are counted regularly. This allows your company to maintain accurate records without disrupting workflows and operations.


Who should be involved in inventory counting?

The main people who should be involved in inventory counting are your Inventory Manager and/or your Warehouse Manager.

However, depending on the size of your inventory, if it spans multiple warehouses, consider hiring temporary staff to help with your inventory count on an annual or bi-annual basis.

Look for staff with a high attention to detail who is comfortable with precision tasks to ensure accuracy while keeping human error low.


Analyze your count and adapt based on the outcome

Once you have finalized your counts, it’s important to analyze the data. Were a lot of items in shortage? And, if so, why? Is this due to lost items on location or theft?

Determining why quantities differed will help you manage your inventory better. It also lets you create more efficient processes to prevent losses in the future. For example, if you keep losing certain items during events, you can implement a required RFID check during key moments of the event to keep track of your gear’s whereabouts. By viewing an item’s scanning history, you can see the exact moment it was lost.

Because there’s nothing worse than losing an item worth thousands of dollars and not knowing when or where it was lost.



Speed up your inventory counting with software

Inventory counting can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process if you have a large inventory or multiple warehouses. Therefore, if you can’t keep up with manual counting methods, there are software solutions that can help you speed up this task while ensuring a high accuracy rate.

Inventory software can speed up the inventory counting process through barcode or QR code scanning capabilities (see which is better). Using your mobile device or a handheld scanner, you can quickly and accurately capture item details without the need for manual data entry. This saves you a lot of time and hassle while reducing human error from manual counting.

Inventory counting software often includes features cycle counting, multi-location support, and real-time updates so you can see your inventory levels across your warehouses all the time. Then, using the software’s analytics and reporting feature, you can make data-driven decisions based on past shortages and upcoming events. Thus reducing stockouts, overstocking, and inventory-related losses and saving your company money.


Optimize your inventory counting using Rentman

Regular inventory counts, done either manually or using software, will help you reduce shortages and determine what internal processes need to be adjusted to improve your business operations.

Rentman not only manages your entire inventory but also helps you conduct your inventory count by providing a dedicated section for counting your inventory and immediately informing you of inventory shortages during the counts.

Learn more about how Rentman can help with your inventory count.


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