Inventory Counts

JLC1990JLC1990 Moderator, Lightspeed Staff Posts: 29 moderator
edited June 2017 in Products & Inventory
Hey Everyone,

Inventory Counts are an important part of the Retail business and it can be a large and daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Lightspeed has different ways to do counts that can lighten the load. Provided you follow the steps below, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to get this done efficiently and correctly.

Most of the details you would need to do an inventory count can be found in the link below:

https://retail-support.lightspeedhq.com/hc/en-us/articles/229129948-Doing-inventory-counts

There are a few tips and tricks that I have picked up in my time with Lightspeed

-You can have multiple people with multiple devices doing the count at the same time. Each person must be using their own login (you can not have users doing a count under the same login)

-Should you choose to do a count with multiple people, you can divide the workload into sections or categories. If you click Advanced while in the count, you can narrow down what is shown to a particular category. That way if you are doing a category count, you can show only the items you are working on and have counted or missed.

-Check your Totals tab. This can not be understated. If you count just 1 unit of an items inventory, it will no longer show up in the Missed tab. For example, if you have 10 Shirts and enter the count as 1 Shirt, it will show up in totals saying Counted: 1 , Change: -9. However it will not show -9 in your missed tab, be sure to go through the Totals and look for any odd counts.

-The Missed tab should be empty before you reconcile. Count the items or zero them out, but they should all be accounted for and not left in this tab. If you reconcile with items in Missed, they will remain in your inventory with the same quantity.

-Laptops with USB scanners and iPads are great for inventory counts, it allows you to move freely and count quickly. Divide the store into sections to be sure nothing is counted twice.

Is there anything we have missed that you would like to add?

Have you had any issues or good experiences with Inventory Counts that you would like to share?

Leave your comments below!
Post edited by JLC1990 on
Cheers!,

Jordan L-C
Lightspeed Retail Support
Lightspeed HQ

18 comments

  • wocrucwocruc Member Posts: 9
    The current inventory count process is very cumbersome and tedious to use and not very helpful after being used. What is really needed is this:
    1) a date field on each item that gets updated whenever the inventory count is adjusted.
    2) a report showing items where that date field is older than the selected date. That report would tell us what to count next.
    3) a quick data entry method to go back and record the physical counts
  • Gabriel GivensGabriel Givens Moderator, Lightspeed Staff Posts: 19 moderator
    Hello Wocruc,

    There is a quick/manual-count option under the Print Item List command from inside the inventory count screen. The ID number is the last non-zero numbers of the system ID. So if you have a system id of 210000044555, the ID for the item would be 44555.

    Also, every field in the count can be edited. As you sell and receive, those figures are updated in the count automatically until reconciled. So no additional input on your part is required while counting.

    The Missed tab in the count allows you to quickly review and count whatever wasn't counted by simply entering the number counted in the field provided.

    Gabriel Givens
    Senior Frontline Support
    Lightspeed HQ
  • darksidesupplydarksidesupply Member Posts: 2
    it would be nice if under the missed items, that inventory with a '0' quantity would show up. That way i can know it's missing out of inventory.
  • LalineUSALalineUSA Member Posts: 2
    We would love the option to import a csv file with counts. We have standalone scanners that we have used for years, and I feel that it would be much easier just to use the csv generated by those scanners.
  • LanSuPDXLanSuPDX Member Posts: 11
    I'd love to hear from those with experience doing a year-end physical inventory using Lightspeed. We can't bring iPads/scanners into our stockroom (no WiFi etc) so the bulk of the count has to be manual. I can't believe that it is as cumbersome as it seems. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
  • gregaricangregarican Member Posts: 383 
    Most POS/Inventory systems I've used in the past had an offline inventory count option, allowing imports/exports, so that standalone handhelds could be used. Most retailers don't have 100% WiFi saturation around all areas where products could be located. Warehouses and stockrooms being prime examples.

    One idea, if you had the internal IT resources or could find a third party to assist. If the LS Retail API was used, you could use that to pull the inventory file to a standalone, scan the items against the file, and then push the results back into LS Retail. See around this area for some of the API documentation --> https://developers.lightspeedhq.com/retail/endpoints/InventoryCount/. If such a third party add-on doesn't already exist then this would be a from-scratch implementation. Not the easiest to pull off without the right assistance. :neutral:


  • terrygehrketerrygehrke Member Posts: 1
    The clunkiest part of LS inventory counts is the fact that you can only print count sheets by category or brand.  I'd love to see a location count sheet.  Otherwise its very difficult to count from product to sheet, and to split locations up for multiple people counting the same category.  Coming from an accounting background in wholesale warehousing, it's imperative to count from shelf/location to sheet, and mark whats missing or moved on the sheet for research.  

    While we're at it, I'm also astounded at the fact that a) anyone can add an item code to inventory, there are no permissions, and b) inventory is auto added to push a sale through, creating huge discrepancies in inventory.  Then, IF you use the Purchase Order function correctly, inventory coming in may or may not be sold; the employee checking it in will never know.  On top of that, the Special Order function is extremely tedious with numerous steps just to create and track a backorder, and again, IF it's followed correctly.  Trying to train a salesperson on that process, someone who just wants to push a sale through or who may not understand technology, its extremely cumbersome.  
  • gregaricangregarican Member Posts: 383 
    The clunkiest part of LS inventory counts is the fact that you can only print count sheets by category or brand.  I'd love to see a location count sheet.  Otherwise its very difficult to count from product to sheet, and to split locations up for multiple people counting the same category.  Coming from an accounting background in wholesale warehousing, it's imperative to count from shelf/location to sheet, and mark whats missing or moved on the sheet for research.  

    While we're at it, I'm also astounded at the fact that a) anyone can add an item code to inventory, there are no permissions, and b) inventory is auto added to push a sale through, creating huge discrepancies in inventory.  Then, IF you use the Purchase Order function correctly, inventory coming in may or may not be sold; the employee checking it in will never know.  On top of that, the Special Order function is extremely tedious with numerous steps just to create and track a backorder, and again, IF it's followed correctly.  Trying to train a salesperson on that process, someone who just wants to push a sale through or who may not understand technology, its extremely cumbersome.  
    We have run into quite the same scenarios and challenges. What we have done is assign tasks to running "exception reports." For example, the inventory change log report for auto-added to sale --> https://us.merchantos.com/?name=reports.inventory.listings.inventory_logs&form_name=listing&__sort=create_time&__sort_dir=DESC&item_search=&simple_reason_search=all&start_date=2018-11-07&end_date=2018-12-08&automated_search=off&reason_search[4]=createAndRemoveInventoryForTransaction&category_id=-1&tags=&neg_tags=&employee_id=-1&shop_id=-1. This will detail any items that weren't properly transferred and received in the system. The functional gaps in the system have to be met with either custom development via the API or else with additional manhours plugging them. 

    If we were to implement LS Retail for our larger companies with more complex transaction sets then we'd likely need to create a totally custom Inventory Count module based on the API --> https://developers.lightspeedhq.com/retail/endpoints/InventoryCount/. There are too many gaps in the internal one.
  • negbertnegbert Member Posts: 1
    1.) How does LS account for the same PN# in two diffrent locations. Like one is in primary stock location(in the store) and one in overstock(backroom)?
  • zcormicanzcormican Member Posts: 1

    Durning inventory counts we are missing items due to scanning too fast and/or the item not loading fast enough in Lightspeed. We use iPads and do our best to scan then look over at the screen making sure the item loads but inevitably come up with a different physical count many times. The scanner makes a noise and kills the light once the code is scanned. An option we think would help was if the iPad also made a beep once the item was successfully added and ready to take the next code.

    There are also times when there is an error and you are pushed to a screen requiring manual entry. If you don't notice this right away, it gets difficult to know exactly where the problem started and end up rescanning everything. A rapid two beeps to let the user know of the issue may be useful in these situations.

    Is there a better way to go about this or is looking at the iPad after every scan the best way everyone else has found to do these counts?

  • enano2054enano2054 Member Posts: 2

    Having experience with a few different POS systems and while I love a lot of things about Lightspeed, Lightspeed has the WORST inventory counting solution by far. Everything else I have used has a CSV import method for stand alone scanners. Lightspeed's API has been our best method but it's also very unforgiving with its leaky bucket replenishment rate.

  • TrolleyMuseumTrolleyMuseum Member Posts: 13

    Have to agree. The WORST inventory reconciliation system I have ever used. I have zero faith in the accuracy of my inventory and usually do it at least twice. I have to do it alone as I can't trust any employee to pay attention to the loading and lagging issues as closely as I do and I have to recount their work...absurd, I know.

    Even so, my count is ALWAYS off and I have to redo & recount, over and over. It takes 3-4 WEEKS to do what should take a few days at most. The negative inventory issue being fixed should make a HUGE difference going forward, but the bottom line is I think I have so many auto adds because of the errors made counting inventory in the first place.

    I can't trust the missed items or zero items report as accurate, so I have to go back and recheck every item on them as it could have been the lagging "issue."

    One thing I do is to tell my employees if they see the error message that they are adding to inventory during a sale to STOP and double check - that they are selling the right item - and to notify me ASAP as something is terribly wrong if they are selling something POS says is out of stock. This helps a bit as I can usually catch the error before multiple sales and auto-adds of the same item, correct the employee if they are selling the wrong item, or fix tickets if the item is marked incorrectly.

    I have solved the wi-fi issue by using my phone as a hot spot (I understand is not free for everyone and is NOT a solution) which keeps internet connection strong, but system still lags often. Offline is needed in a big way.

    SIGH...incorrect inventory...you might as well use a cash register....it ruins every step of the retail process...

    Any tips or insight would be great to hear before this years horror show begins!

    Lightspeed might consider consulting people who actually work in retail as they have missed some really BIG issues while creating this system.

  • AuditControlAuditControl Member Posts: 1

    I own and operate a third-party inventory service and have worked with several Lightspeed customers whose retail establishments are too large for an internal physical inventory to be done in a timely manner.

    While the Inventory Count function of Lightspeed is good for small retailers, the inability to import a file created by a professional inventory service is a huge hole in their resume'.

    All Inventory Services have their own internal checks and balances that are performed to ensure data integrity prior to the creation of a .csv or .xlsx file that should be quickly and easily imported into the customers' POS system. Why Lightspeed lacks this function is a question I am asked several times a day by potential clients who want to use our service but are usually unaware of this flaw in the functionality of Lightspeed until I tell them.

    The only workaround we have found so far is to create a spreadsheet that compares the LS on-hand values to the physical count performed and eliminate all zero variances, leaving you with a list of items that need on-hand values changed in LS (a list that is sometimes quite large). The most recent LS client we worked with had 1944 records that needed to be manually adjusted out of 12,000 SKU's.

    If Lightspeed wants their customers' businesses to grow, they need to correct this flaw soon.

  • enano2054enano2054 Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2019

    It still angers me how bad the inventory counting process is with Lightspeed. If anything will cause me to switch to a new POS, it is this. Why can we not import CSVs????? We invested in quality scanners that export CSVs and save SO much time but why Lightspeed won't allow us to use them is beyond me.

  • TrolleyMuseumTrolleyMuseum Member Posts: 13

    I have found a somewhat acceptable solution that has provided my most accurate count in 4 years. I used the Nadamoo wireless barcode scanner, which is very reasonably priced and uses a USB stick to connect to your PC, in perhaps 2 minutes, with zero issues to date.

    I then scanned my items with a co-worker seated at the computer, called out the item name to make sure it scanned and told her the count - which she input online.

    I have a store with about 1700 sku's and we got it 95% done in about 2 full days, (not including a day I took to double check the final "missing items" and counts that seemed way off.)

    There was very little lag time as the scanner is using the PC processor and RAM, not a laptop or ipad with far more limitations in speed, usually...

    Our missed count list was unbelievably smaller than it's ever been and consisted mostly of items in the storeroom or damages.

    My shortage was minute in comparison with years past, and I know this is almost entirely due to the inventory count errors of those years.

    In short, I got my inventory done in very reasonable amount of time (it used to take me about 3 weeks) and my final numbers were astounding with this method.

    If you have a smaller storefront, I would HIGHLY recommend you give this a try as two sets of eyes are way better than one, time saved is money saved, not to mention finally feeling like my inventory is accurate for the first time in 4 years.

  • Jessica PhillipsJessica Phillips Member Posts: 1

    Those Nadamoo wireless scanners are lifesavers for sure! We do our inventories in 7 teams of 2 people. There are several things that would be SO HELPFUL: 1) PLEASE create a filter so I only have to see what I am scanning (filter by who). When you have so many people scanning at once, the count list populates so quickly, that you can't find the last item you scanned easily to know if it was done correctly. 2) You are able to keep scanning while the page is "working" or "loading" and because of that, LS doesn't count the item scanned but you don't know that and you're just scanning away - unaware that it isn't counting half the items! I don't know the solution to this since it's web based but surely there's is something that can be done.

  • gregaricangregarican Member Posts: 383 
    edited January 27

    This. @Jessica Phillips you bring up a quirk that only grows quirkier the more products your shop has. Especially if the products contain custom fields.

    When we enter in new merchandise we have to wait up to a full minute for the save process to refresh the product page. If the operator isn't patient and moves onto entering in another new item, then that new item is lost as the web page pops back to the saved item that finally completed.

    We found this to also be the case when performing inventory counts. If the operator wasn't patiently waiting for the save process for confirm each item, they would skip a lot of items. And we are talking about inventories of thousands of SKU's at each site location. Since we heavily rely on custom fields, this contributes to the lag time.

    Earlier in this thread I suggested the prospect of utilizing the Retail API to create an external inventory count program. This would be a home run, if either a third party integrator already has such a program, or if internal manpower can involve a software developer :)

  • TrolleyMuseumTrolleyMuseum Member Posts: 13

    External inventory count program would be amazing, but this was the fix I can up with as the inventory issue seems a LONG way down the lightspeed priority list.

    @Jessica Phillips --- The lag time is the reason I had the 2 person team, with someone else watching everything I scanned and then reconfirming the item and the count. It was time consuming and annoying to have to use 2 people for what should be doable by one, but it worked very well and my count was extremely accurate for the first time since I got lightspeed.

    Even though I had to pay an employee to help me, it saved time in the long run as my missing items list was minimal and my totals page had very few errors as well. In years past I would spend a week to 10 days, minimum, fixing and recounting all the errors on these two reports before I could reconcile my inventory - and still there were many errors that I found after the fact.

    The only way I can see for you to avoid the list population issue of all seven teams at once is to perhaps have 3 or 4 separate inventory names? I am not sure it would work, but it theoretically seems if each team was working on it's own inventory with one (or two) scanning and one re-checking the list, the rapid population of the list would not be an issue as the each scanner would only be transmitting to the list being worked on the computer its usb is paired with??

    The other option is that there are scanners out there that store all the info and then upload at a later time via wi-fi or usb. You can confirm the data on the screen of each scanner so you can check it in real time as you work, but they are very expensive and since inventory maintenance is the basis of any decent POS, this issue should be more of a priority for lightspeed. I also really feared that due to the lag time, the upload might not be successful and cause the same issues, but I have not tried it to confirm that theory.

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