Today, I want to share my Top 7 Tips for a Successful Army Inventory. These tips pertain to ANY type of inventory you might be responsible for. These are some inventory tips I learned during my 15+ years in the Army. Although I was never a Supply Sergeant or 92Y, I probably did close to 50 different inventories during my time in the Army. I made some mistakes and did a lot of things right. My goal today is to share some of the things that I learned along the way, so I can help you have successful inventories. The tips are listed in no particular order.
1. Sit Down with an Expert and Educate Yourself – One of the best things you can do ahead of time is sit down with your Unit Supply Sergeant, S4 or Property Book Officer and get some expert input. Find out any tips or secrets or guidance they can give you for doing a successful inventory. All of these folks have a ton of experience in the inventory world and can point you in the right direction. Take your Supply Sergeant out for lunch one day. Pay for the meal and pick their brain. It will be money well spent.
2. Develop a Game Plan and Schedule – Like anything in life, it helps to have a game plan. Before you just start doing an inventory, you want a written game plan and inventory schedule. This will let you break down your inventory into bite-sized chunks and it will allow you to stay on track. If you just wing it, you won’t do very well.
3. Find a Helper – With most inventories, you will need a helper. Find someone with a Supply background, or good Supply knowledge and see if they will help you. This gives you an extra set of eyes at the inventory, and an additional perspective. If you miss something, there’s a good chance they won’t!
4. Get the Respective TM’s – One of the best things you can do is get the respective TMs for each piece of equipment you are inventorying. That way you know the components and sub-components that come with the item. For instance, an Army Truck might have 100 or more different components and sub-components such as a fire extinguisher or car jack. If you don’t know what these things are, you won’t know if they are missing.
5. Have an Updated Shortage Annex – Make sure that you have a copy of the shortage annex with you, so you can see what missing items have already been identified. You should also update any missing items or components/sub-components that you find during your inventory.
6. Physically Touch Everything – Make sure that you PHYSICALLY touch EVERY item on the list. If something is signed out to another unit, go to the location it is supposed to be at and touch the item. For example, if one of the unit’s machine guns is at the Small Arms Shop getting fixed, visit the Small Arms Shop to actually see it. Put your hand on it and touch it! Never take a hand receipt or sub-hand receipt at face value. Always verify!
7. Don’t Rush Yourself – Don’t be in a rush to do the inventory. I understand that we all have deadlines to deal with. That’s fine. But give yourself enough time to do the inventory the right way, the first time around. That comes back to having a game plan! When you are in a rush, you will miss things and make mistakes. You definitely don’t want that to happen.
There you have it folks. These are my top 7 tips for a successful Army Inventory. What are your thoughts? What are your best tips for doing a successful inventory? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.