Taking an honest inventory

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
“Stock-taking or inventory checking is the physical verification of the quantities and condition of items held in an inventory. This may be done to provide an audit of existing stock. It is also the source of stock discrepancy information.” – Wikipedia

“By completing regular stocktakes and having an insight into your stores or goods you will find new ways to increase your profits and improve your business.” – Karen Page

I remember when I met a general manager of a large company in Georgia and found him charming, intelligent, and diligent. He asked questions about what I did and offered me a position in the local offices of the international company. The name of the company was Tomco² and they were makers of large industrial CO² holding tanks that were shipped all over the world. There were three main parts to the bustling company I soon learned. One was the actual manufacturing plant where the tanks, hoses and other parts were constructed, the second was a huge sales department where calls and communications from all over the world were answered by trained professionals, and the third was the shipping area of the sprawling plant. The company provided hundreds of jobs in the area and was well thought of in the community for their involvement.

We worked with massive companies all over the world. I remember Air Liquide, Air Products, NuCo², several in the state of Texas, and many others. We often had foreign delegations in our offices to tour the plant and learn about the products. It later fell my duty to host these groups and plan meals and accommodations for them. We wanted to serve them well because they invested millions of dollars in our products. On one visit by a large Japanese delegation, we had ordered a wonderful meal for the group. One of the visitors who spoke broken English, called me aside, and said, “Miss Brenda, could we please have Krystal instead of the steak you have ordered for us? Our people want to try those big burgers.” We, of course, sent people out for Krystal while we enjoyed steak in the offices.

One of my first duties there was to assist in a comprehensive inventory of all equipment in preparation for the very first four-color catalog the company had ever printed. The general manager thought seeing all the products and understanding how they fit would help me in preparing the catalog. Boy, we he ever right. I donned jeans, shirt, boots, and a pink hard had and worked in the field for days. The presentation of that catalog was one of my finest moments. I’m still proud of the accomplishment. As we did the inventory and processed the material into the data control system, I was more and more amazed with our workers and the products we produced. It was long and tedious, but oh so rewarding when we finished the big job. I stayed on for over three years and worked myself up to Office Administrator. My daughter, DeAnna, also came to work there and we made many friends.

Some of us do a quick inventory every time we go to the market. We check to see what we have on hand that is still good, what we need, and what we would like. Others of us do an inventory on our homes or automobiles. Others get a wild hair and check on our finances and check to see what is on target and what is not good for our long range planning. We should take a good inventory of our health issues.

One thing I learned is that for an inventory to be accurate and advantageous, it has to be thorough. Each item has to be accounted for properly, itemized, valued, and double and triple checked. I thought today that many of our lives go for years upon years with no inventory, no real monitoring, no checkpoints, and no accountability, and that is when we get into trouble. Some things need to be removed from inventory, other things need to be increased, and there are times when new items must be added. A good cleaning is needed from time to time.

When I look at my own life, I realize that some things I once valued are no longer a necessity to me now. They can be removed from my life’s inventory. I find there are other things I need more of as I age. I need to put them into active inventory. Each of us tends to develop habits along the way that should be completely removed from our life inventory for us to prosper.

What areas of our lives today are begging to be inventoried? Let’s be honest, faithful, and accurate as we delve into this process.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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