Many retailers schedule physical inventories...

at the end of the year as a regular routine. We know that performing a physical inventory can be challenging and time-consuming. Sometimes it requires closing stores for business, bringing in outside staff to help with counts, renting equipment, paying overtime, and working long hours. Preparation is the key to a successful physical inventory. One Step would like to help you prepare for a smooth physical inventory and conduct the inventory with minimal issues by recommending the following tips.


  1. If you rent scanners from One Step, we suggest that you reserve the units as soon as possible. The end of the year is popular for physical inventories so our scanner schedule fills up very quickly.
  2. Because physical inventories are generally conducted only a few times per year, it is easy to forget details. We always recommend you schedule time with our Implementation Specialist for a walkthrough of all steps 1-2 weeks before you perform the counts. This will ensure you are well prepared. Spending time with your consultant for an hour or two is far less costly if it saves you many hours of work trying to correct errors after the fact.
  3. Test your scanners to be sure they are charged and that they hold a charge. Also, confirm that they scan and sync properly by uploading a sample count.
  4. Stop inter-store transfers at least 3 days before the start of the physical inventory in order to allow transfers to reach their destination before the start of the physical. If using transfer verification, finalize match and updating of all transfers prior to starting the physical counts.
  5. Make sure all recently received merchandise has been entered into the system as received, tagged and is preferably out of the box. This will avoid unnecessary delays.
  6. If you have a multi-store environment, start a manual communication cycle to send any pending documents from corporate to store and vice versa. Confirm that the inventory counts at corporate and the store match before starting the physical. If they still do not match, initialize or force the inventory counts to match. Never start the physical until the counts are matched between corporate and a store.
  7. Print / save / export* On Hand reports at corporate and stores. This will aid in the analysis of any possible issues at a later time, should they arise.

 Performing the Physical Inventory

  1. Do frequent downloads to guard against scanner failure and to make locating scanning errors easier.
  2. Print / save/ export* Error reports and attempt to resolve errors. Do not continue until all errors have been identified and fixed or removed for later handling.
  3. Print / save / export* Discrepancy reports and attempt to resolve all discrepancies. This is your overage or shrinkage report.
  4. Do not update your physical inventory until all items above have been counted.
  5. After updating your physical inventory, conduct another manual communication cycle between corporate and stores, verifying that the counts match once again. Print / save / export* On Hand reports at corporate and stores. This will aid in the analysis of any possible issues at a later time, should they arise.

* We recommend exporting to Excel or an alternate application in order to be able to sort the data.

Please call One Step Retail Solutions at 1-800-266-1328,  if you wish to schedule some physical inventory brush-up training before your physical inventory. We would be happy to help you prepare for this important time.

We wish you a wonderful physical inventory season!