Inventory Sheet Template and Definition: Why Do I Need an Inventory Checklist?

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As a business with physical goods, properly managing your inventory is a crucial aspect of your business. It may seem tedious to count for every single item you own every day, but it needs to be done. 

With inaccurate inventory counts, your business can lose money and not meet customer expectations (especially if they purchase products that don’t give an out of stock notification). Plus, your accounting team will have to keep correcting the books to account for inaccuracies, which can cause more tax issues than you ever want to deal with.

You will also learn how 3PL services help businesses manage inventory so they can focus on other areas of your business.

What is an inventory sheet?

An inventory sheet takes on many different meanings for each type of business. Regardless of business type, an inventory sheet is a checklist of inventory type, amount you have, price per unit, and SKU or serial number. 

Keeping track of inventory

Inventory sheets help you keep track of your inventory on hand. Depending on the size of your business, this can be done by the owner or an employee who makes it part of their daily duties to count inventory. 

6 factors to include on your inventory checklist

You can make your inventory sheet as complex or simple as you want. At its core, here are the basic elements you’ll want to include.

1. Item

You need to list every individual item on your inventory sheet, including variations. For example, if you’re selling liquid drinks, then the 16 ounce and 20 ounce versions each get their own line item on the inventory sheet. You can use that description or the name of the product (e.g., “16 oz. canned water”).

2. SKU or Serial Number

It’s easier to track your products through SKUs instead of solely relying on the item name. A SKU is an alphanumeric code used to identify a specific product. SKUs represent different product characteristics such as colour, size, and brand, and are used for inventory management.

For example, let’s say your business sells the following shirt with different sizes and varying quantities currently available:

  • Red t-shirt, large (9)
  • Red t-shirt, extra large (8)
  • Red t-shirt, medium (13)
  • Red t-shirt, small (3)
  • Total Red t-shirts: 33

With the above example, your business has four SKUs for one red t-shirt. If your inventory sheet doesn’t include SKUs, then you would note you have 33 red t-shirts on hand. Why is this inaccurate? Because someone wouldn’t account for sizes and that could lead to inaccuracies when trying to fulfil orders!

It seems simple to say SKUs should be included, and it is. SKUs are the cornerstone to any fulfilment you have to get done.

Unlike the item name, a SKU can be identifiable more easily by its exact number. Instead of “Red t-shirt, large,” we can reference SKU 23183 on the inventory report to know exactly which product it is. See examples of SKUs for our other products:

  • Red t-shirt, large: 23183
  • Red t-shirt, extra large: 73241
  • Red t-shirt, medium: 53439
  • Red t-shirt, small: 92301

3. Amount of inventory in stock

This is a count of the total number of items in stock for a specific SKU. As mentioned in our example above, here are the inventory counts on hand for each SKU:

  • Red t-shirt, large (9)
  • Red t-shirt, extra large (8)
  • Red t-shirt, medium (13)
  • Red t-shirt, small (3)

4. Price per unit

This lets you know how much you’re paying for each unit of inventory. If you have 500 t-shirts on hand that cost you a total of $1,000, then you’re paying $2 per unit.

5. Sale price (optional)

Depending on how often your business runs sales or discounts on specific items, this can be an optional field to track. 

6. Location (optional)

If you have more than one inventory storage system, make sure you mark which inventory was from where. Regardless of whether you’re tracking inventory in a spare room in your house, or a fulfilment centre, it’s important to know where you inventory is located before the order fulfilment process begins. If you have multiple storage areas, this won’t be optional. 

Inventory sheet template

To make things easier, we put together this handy inventory sheet template for you. You can access it here.

Tips when building your inventory sheet

Now that you have a template for your inventory sheet, we have a few tips to keep in mind when building the sheet.  

1. Save a master template

Templates are great for many reasons. With a master inventory template, you won’t have to keep recreating the same design over and over again. You’ll need a template in the future, so make sure you have this one on hand!

2. Add any extra info you need to know

If you have specialities from certain suppliers or products made from certain materials, make sure you have an additional column to call those out.

3. Save as a standardized file type

Don’t save it in some strange program, keep it as an Excel file (or Google Sheets if your company prefers it). If you decide to manage inventory with a tablet or mobile device (instead of clipboard and paper), make sure to lock the file for editing to prevent any unwanted changes.

4. Date it!

Don’t forget to timestamp the inventory sheet so you know when you went through your inventory. If there are multiple people checking inventory, make sure to include a signature field, so employees can mark who checked the inventory. 

Let ShipBob professionals handle your inventory accounting

As a business owner, you have your hands full with managing and overseeing day to day operations. What if you could outsource fulfilment and inventory management, while being able to check your inventory at any time? This is where ShipBob comes in.

As your ecommerce business grows and managing inventory levels becomes too expensive or challenging to manage in-house, consider using an expert ecommerce fulfilment company to help you. They track your inventory for you and remove the day to day checks from your or your employees’ daily routine.

A 3PL like ShipBob helps direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce brands manage their inventory and ship orders quickly and affordably. To see if you’re a good fit and to get a pricing quote, click the button below.

What’s next?

Now that you have a better understanding of inventory sheets, it’s time to put it into practice. Remember to download our free inventory sheet template and use it to begin managing your inventory. 

If your business doesn’t have the resources to handle this or wants an easier solution to inventory management, talk to the ShipBob team and learn how you don’t ever need to do physical inventory checks again when you have inventory in a ShipBob warehouse. Track, manage, and account for your inventory right from your computer!

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Written By:

Shannon Callarman is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob. She researches and writes everything you need to know about the latest trends and best practices in ecommerce.

Read all posts written by Shannon Callarman