You must count all items that are delivered and make a record of how many there are. The number of items is important for two reasons:
- For accurate payment to the vendor
- For accurate warehouse records
- If the delivery is for many items, assign at least two people to count items.
- Put the counters at different points of the unloading process.
For example, put one on the truck to count how many items leave the truck and the other in the warehouse – by the stack – to count how many items are stacked. (The person at the stack should also organize proper stacking.) A third person can be at the warehouse door to count how many items enter the warehouse.
- Compare the different counters’ numbers at specific point in the unloading – for example, after each truck. If they don’t match, figure out what happened before moving on.
- To make counting easy, use one of the following four methods:
- Stroke tally sheets. This is a tested and approved method for easy counting, and consist of drawing a short vertical stick for every item counted, crossing the four previous stick with a horizontal stick. It makes later additions easy as you the have to count items in lots of five. A tally sheet template and a sample completed tally sheet are available.
- Clicks: There are small machines that roll a number up every time you click them. These are often used by airline crew to count passengers. If you have such machines, you can use them.
- Pallets or nets: If your delivery uses forklifts cranes, with either pallets or nets to carry items, you can easily count the number of items that are placed on each pallet or net and count them in ‘nets’ or ‘pallets’ instead of individually.
- Weighing: If items are packaged in containers (bags, boxes, bales) you can weigh a sample of the goods and use the weight to determine the number of items, based on standard weight of an individual item. Sophisticated delivery systems use weighbridges for this.