How To Make an Inventory Spreadsheet (Plus Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Inventory management involves supervising goods from manufacturers to retailers to final points of sale. It's an essential process for ensuring that customers have access to the items that they need and that organizations can be profitable. Effective inventory management requires careful organization and accurate record keeping. In this article, we define what an inventory spreadsheet is, discuss the benefits of using one for inventory management and outline the steps for creating one.

Read more: What Is Inventory Management? Definition and Example Techniques

What is an inventory spreadsheet?

An inventory spreadsheet is an important part of the inventory management process. It's a document that allows business owners and managers to record and track their inventory levels. This helps them better monitor and manage their inventory to ensure a healthy inventory turnover.

Inventory turnover refers to how successful an organization is in selling its inventory within a period. A high inventory turnover indicates an organization sells the products quickly and created a demand for them, but a low inventory turnover suggests it struggles to sell the products and may need to improve its marketing efforts. It's important to strive for a balanced inventory turnover where there's a consistent demand for the products while the organization is able to keep enough units of a product in stock to meet customers' needs.

Read more: What Is Inventory Turnover?

Benefits of making an inventory spreadsheet

Inventory management is essential for supporting the success of a business. It ensures organizations have the products and supplies they need, which ultimately promotes customer satisfaction and generates revenue. It's important to create and maintain accurate records for effective inventory management.

Here are some benefits of making an inventory spreadsheet:

  • Accessibility: Creating an inventory spreadsheet in a standard word processing software or an online platform may make it more accessible for other users and easy to share. Conversely, using a dedicated system may limit who's able to access or open the file.

  • Accuracy: Maintaining an inventory spreadsheet provides you with accurate real-time data. This can be beneficial for preparing accurate sales forecasting and ensuring you order the appropriate amount of goods.

  • Affordability: Most programs that you can use to create an inventory spreadsheet are free or may be programs that your organization already has. This allows you to reduce costs rather than invest in a separate inventory management system.

  • Customizability: Creating your own inventory spreadsheet ensures you're able to accomplish specifically what you'd like to achieve. For example, you're able to add the exact rows and columns you want and use features to add colors or change formatting sizes.

  • Efficiency: An inventory spreadsheet is essential for supporting inventory management processes. Using a spreadsheet allows you to track your inventory levels and what you may need to order soon, supporting efficient business practices.

Related: 10 Benefits of Using an Inventory Management System

How to make an inventory spreadsheet

Here are the steps to follow for how to make an inventory spreadsheet:

1. Choose the program

Many standard word processing programs allow you the ability to create and update spreadsheets. Some programs may also include templates or be available for free. While each program may offer slightly different capabilities or features, the overall creation processes are similar. As you choose a program, it's important to confirm it's able to support your needs, easy to navigate and accessible for all necessary users within your organization.

2. Create a new sheet

Once you select your program, create a new sheet. You may choose to create a new workbook that you can dedicate entirely to inventory management, or you may choose to add a new tab to an existing spreadsheet. If you choose to create a new workbook, consider exploring the template options available.

Related: How To Create a Google Spreadsheet

3. Add headings

Use the top row of your spreadsheet to create headings for each of your inventory categories. In the top cell of each column of the row, enter the name of the inventory category. Consider changing the colors of the cells or using a bold font to distinguish this row from the others. Adjust the width of each cell to accommodate the full name of the category, or consider enabling text wrapping to keep the widths consistent but expanding the height of each cell.

Exact inventory categories may vary based on your business, your products and your inventory practices. Some common inventory categories to use include:

  • Bin number

  • Cost per unit

  • Inventory value

  • Item name

  • Location

  • Minimum order quantity

  • Order time

  • Net value

  • Number of units in stock

  • QR code number

  • Reorder flag

  • Sale price

  • Serial number

  • Supplier

As you add your categories, be mindful of how you order them. Strive to group like categories together, especially if you may use them to complete a calculation. For example, consider placing the columns for item cost, number of items and net value together. Most programs will allow you to add a formula that automatically calculates an item's net value based on the information in the corresponding item cost and number of items values in the cells.

Some common examples of calculations you may perform through added formulas are:

  • Inventory value

  • Purchase costs

  • Quantity in reorder

  • Quantity in stock

4. Input the information

After establishing your categories, add the most current inventory information. Be mindful that you enter the correct information in the appropriate boxes. Consider updating the formatting to help distinguish the rows or columns from each other. For example, some programs may allow you to alternate the rows as gray and white, creating a visual contrast that makes it easier to read the spreadsheet.

Related: 6 Ways To Improve Your Data Entry Skills

5. Save your work

Consider including a section on your spreadsheet to add the date that you most recently updated the information. Save your spreadsheet and be sure to title the file appropriately. Store the file in a secure location that you're able to access easily. If you create your inventory spreadsheet on an online platform, be sure to provide the appropriate parties with the required access.

6. Update the sheet

Determine a regular schedule for how often you update the information on the sheet. The frequency may depend on the size of your business and how often information changes. For example, some organizations may update their items in stock weekly, but update their pricing or cost information on a monthly basis. Update your records according to your established schedule and be sure to always save your work.

Explore more articles