Inventory Management

What Is the Best Way to Count Inventory?

May 1, 2024 • 4 min read

What’s on your shelves? Although it can be tedious, inventory counting is a must. Without it, items can be overstocked, understocked, or out of stock without anyone noticing. Business profits, losses, and taxes will be recorded inaccurately and lead to costly mistakes. But what’s the best way to count inventory? In this article, we’ll break down the steps for counting inventory, and detail how an inventory counting app can help make your inventory counts faster and more accurate.

What Is the Best Way to Count Inventory?

The best way to count inventory is with inventory management software that helps keep inventory audits short and sweet. Using an inventory app is faster than physically counting items and maintaining spreadsheets, and it’s also more accurate. You’ll save even more time with inventory management software that uses barcodes and QR codes to automate and simplify the inventory counting process.

Free Ebook: Getting Started With Inventory Tracking

This easy, comprehensive guide will help you:

  • Determine your business's inventory levels and needs
  • Organize your inventory for optimal tracking
  • Follow tried-and-true best practices for inventory management

7 Steps to Counting Your Inventory

The best way to count inventory for your business starts with planning, selecting software that matches your business needs, and setting up barcodes or QR codes. Of course, if you don’t use an inventory app, most of these steps still apply (you’ll just be doing them manually).

1. Choose inventory management software

If you’re wondering how to take inventory, make the process easier on yourself by using inventory management software. Inventory software is the best and easiest way to count inventory. Without it, you’ll likely have to count your inventory manually, which can get tricky—especially if you have items spread across multiple locations.

Sortly is an inventory tracking and inventory counting app that can help you:

  • Track items across multiple business locations
  • Categorize items
  • Format data in a way that’s easy to access and read 
  • Create reports
  • Offer a mobile-friendly dashboard
  • Scan barcodes right from your smartphone or tablet—no external hardware required.

2. Identify all locations for inventory

List each physical location where your inventory is stored.

3. Identify each unique item

List each item in your inventory.

4. Categorize items

Establish item categories so you can quickly sort and find them. Inventory management software makes this easy through the use of folders and tags.

5. Describe items

Create a unique description for each item, list its physical location, and include essential details (such as quantity, condition, manufacturer’s number, and more). Using Sortly makes it easy to add these item details, or you can add them to your spreadsheet if you are tracking inventory manually.

6. Create barcodes or QR codes

Use an inventory control system to generate barcodes or QR codes, then print and test the codes before applying them to your inventory items. This can help speed up large inventory counts.

7. Apply barcodes or QR codes and scan as you go

As you apply barcodes or QR codes to items, you’ll scan them into the inventory counting app. 

Other Than Counting Inventory, How Will Automation Help?

Inventory management software is the easiest, fastest way to count inventory. But it’s also the best way to track and manage assets, equipment, materials, and products. You’ll have real-time access to relevant information about each product, including: 

  • Reorder levels – Limit or prevent shortages and out-of-stock items.
  • Vendor details – Quickly access the name and location of a vendor and the item cost.
  • Important dates – View details about item expiration or warranty.
  • Product summary – Check a product summary to answer customer inquiries about hazmat warnings or product usage.

How Sortly Inventory Software Can Help with Inventory Counting

Sortly for counting inventory

Sortly is an inventory management solution that helps you track, manage, and organize your inventory—from any device, in any location. We’re an easy-to-use inventory software that’s perfect for small businesses. Sortly builds inventory tracking seamlessly into your workday so you can save time and money, satisfy your customers, and help your business succeed.

With Sortly, you can track inventory, supplies, parts, tools, assets like equipment and machinery, and anything else that matters to your business. It comes equipped with smart features like barcoding & QR coding, low stock alerts, customizable folders, data-rich reporting, and much more. Best of all, you can update inventory right from your smartphone, whether you’re  on the job, in the warehouse, or on the go.

Whether you’re just getting started with inventory management or you’re an expert looking for a more efficient solution, we can transform how your company manages inventory—so you can focus on building your business. That’s why over 10,000 businesses globally trust us as their inventory management solution.

Start your two-week free trial of Sortly today.