How to use a perpetual inventory system

Written by
Holly Meikle

The perpetual inventory system has become an invaluable tool for many businesses when it comes to accurate, up-to-date inventory data. With a system like this in place, businesses don’t have to use their time to manage their inventory manually. Instead, the entire process is automated, leaving time to focus on other important decisions for the future of your business.

In general, using a perpetual inventory system over the periodic inventory system is a lot more effective and efficient for most businesses. As long as you are dealing with large and varied stock, then these automated updates save an exponential amount of time. For example, let’s say you are handling the inventory of a grocery store. Almost every day, new stock will be delivered for various food products and brands, whilst thousands of orders will leave every single day. Having a perpetual inventory system transforms the way that you count your stock and orders, leaving you more time to forecast and plan effectively for the following days or months.

What is a perpetual inventory system?

A perpetual inventory system essentially performs real-life updates to your inventory data. Rather than manually auditing your inventory for a set number of times across the year, perpetual inventory does this all automatically, at a regular rate.

A perpetual inventory system is made up of connections for each ingoing and outgoing process. Stock items, check-in, and check-out, for example. The system continuously updates these to return the most accurate insights. The system then calculates key metrics about your inventory via these connections. For example, it calculates the overall stock levels of products by subtracting the check-out data from the check-in data. As a result, you have the latest inventory data, accompanied by useful insights.

Benefits of using a perpetual inventory system

There are many benefits of using a perpetual inventory system within your operations. Here are just a few:

  • Real-time updates: Always be up-to-date with your inventory system with real-time updates that allow you to accurately manage and forecast your inventory operations.
  • No human error: Unlike a periodic inventory, all of the stock calculations are carried out automatically by the system. This eradicates any risk of human error, so your results are always accurate.
  • Useful insights: With constant updates and calculations of key metrics, your company receives useful insights that will help you to effectively plan ahead and make informed decisions for the future of your business.
  • Reduce inventory management costs: This perpetual system streamlines the entire inventory process significantly. What staff members manually had to carry out beforehand, the perpetual inventory system now does automatically in a matter of seconds.

Sheetgo template for perpetual inventory management system

Sheetgo offers an inventory management system template that acts as a perpetual system. The automated workflow is made up of 3 spreadsheets that handle your key data: Item registration, Check-in, and Check-out. These are then connected to the Inventory management master sheet, where all data is used to get the latest insights into your inventory status.

The workflow also includes Sheetgo forms which play an integral role in the real-time updates. The 3 spreadsheets have their own Sheetgo form, where users can either manually input or scan inventory items. Once an item has been scanned or registered, the Inventory management master sheet is automatically updated and the metrics will adapt accordingly.

With the Sheetgo template, you get a fully automated workflow that performs beyond a usual perpetual inventory system. Here are just a few of the additional benefits Sheetgo offer:

  • Sheetgo forms with barcode scanner: Sheetgo offers forms with an in-built barcode scanner, to streamline the data inputting process even more.
  • Access from any device: The Sheetgo forms and barcode scanner can be accessed from any device, including mobiles, tablets, and computers. This means inventory workers can use the system’s features on the go.
  • Dashboard view in Sheetgo web app: Sheetgo offers a Dashboard menu dedicated to offering a visual representation of your overall inventory performance.
  • Schedule automatic updates: Never worry about manually updating your inventory data again. Simply schedule automatic updates with Sheetgo. Choose from a daily or hourly schedule. For even more frequent updates, request a higher frequency up to every 10 minutes! Read our support page on automated frequency to find out how to do this.

How to install a perpetual inventory system with Sheetgo

1. Install the Sheetgo inventory system with barcode scanner

Click on the following link to install the Sheetgo perpetual inventory system template.

Once you’ve signed up with your Google account, click Install template, and your template will download into your Google Drive.

perpetual inventory system install template Sheetgo
2. Input your inventory data using the Sheetgo forms

Sheetgo includes sample data within the template to demonstrate how the flow works. To use this template from scratch, simply delete all of the sample data within the spreadsheets.

Now it’s time to input your own data. You must use a specific Sheetgo form to input specific data.

Here’s what each form does:

  • Register item: Input new items into your inventory using the register item form.
  • Check-in item: Input the items that have entered the inventory with the check-in item form.
  • Check-out item: This form is used to show which items have left the inventory.

You can either manually input data using the form fields, or use the barcode scanner to quickly scan item barcodes.

perpetual inventory system 1

Note: if your items don’t yet have their own barcode, Sheetgo can automatically create unique labels for your items that you can print out and use.

After inputting your items, open the Inventory management spreadsheet and head to the Print labels tab to find them.

3. Set a schedule for automatic updates

Now you can create a schedule for automatic updates so that your inventory management system is always up-to-date.

Simply select the Workflow tab on the menu and click on the button labeled Automate near the bottom of the screen. Slide the button Run automatically and select your desired frequency. Then press Save.

perpetual inventory system 2
4. Track insights in the Dashboard

Sheetgo’s Dashboard menu allows you to monitor the latest insights into your inventory. Here, Sheetgo automatically forecasts and calculates a range of useful KPIs, including total items in stock, average check-out items per weekday, and over-sold items.

perpetual inventory system dashboard

Perpetual vs periodic inventory system

And there you go! As you can see, a perpetual inventory system is the best option for businesses with a growing inventory. With real-time updates, you receive the latest insights that are vital to continually improve and forecast your inventory performance.

What’s more, the Sheetgo perpetual inventory system offers even more features and benefits to optimize your inventory operations.

If you would like more information on how to use this template, take a look at our article on Inventory with barcode scanner system in Google Sheets. Alternatively, check out our related articles below.

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