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What are the Basics of Inventory Scheduling?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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When it comes to proper inventory scheduling, there are a few basics that can make the process easier and more effective for a business of any kind. In general, there are two primary concerns that should be considered in order to schedule inventory in a way that will benefit a company most. The first such consideration is to determine when inventory should be counted in relationship to how a business operates, making sure that inventory shortages do not cause a company to lose customers or business. Proper inventory scheduling should also take into account the products that are being inventoried, and establish customized scheduling not only for an entire business, but also for specific products sold, manufactured, or used by a business.

Inventory scheduling is the practice of determining when an evaluation of inventory should be conducted by a business. The term “inventory” not only refers to the physical products that a business has on site, but also to the process of counting such products to ensure that quantities are properly known. This process of counting the products at a business can be fairly time consuming and may be difficult to conduct properly while also operating a business. Inventory scheduling typically works by determining how to count inventory in such a way that it only minimally interferes with business and still provides accurate counts.

One of the fundamental aspects of inventory scheduling is ensuring that the time used to count products will not excessively interfere with customers. This is why large-scale inventory counts or audits are typically performed in the evening when a store is closed to customers. Not only does this reduce the amount of clutter and frustration customers may encounter while inventory is being counted, but it also reduces the likelihood that customers will potentially move products around and throw off the accuracy of a count. This sort of inventory should also be done when a store is not experiencing its busiest season. Proper inventory scheduling should also ensure that an adequate number of employees can work during and after business hours.

Another major consideration of inventory scheduling is that a business should tailor inventory counts to the products of the company. A retail store, for example, may conduct a full store inventory annually, while only certain products are counted each week. This is usually done for products that are in high demand to ensure availability, or for products that are at higher risk for theft. Manufacturers and other businesses may take this into account when counting inventory such as office supplies to ensure commonly used products are available for employees; such businesses may also inventory popular items more frequently to make sure these items are being manufactured quickly enough to meet customer demand.

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