Counting inventory is one of the least-liked activities for most warehouse professionals, but, alas, it’s par for the course. The good news is there are some things you can do to help make the entire process less overwhelming, more efficient and therefore quicker to complete. You can also take certain measures to help prevent errors from occurring in the first place, which means less worry about having to correct issues after the fact. Want to learn more about how you can effectively implement a stress-freeinventory cycle count? Read on.
Count more often. One of the biggest reasons physical inventory counts are so overwhelming is because they are often left until the end of the fiscal year to complete. At that point, warehouse workers are then faced with the monumental and incredibly time-consuming task of spending hours, days and even entire weekends counting and recording in order to meet the tight deadline. Counting smaller amounts of inventory on a more frequent pre-scheduled basis, on the other hand, can eliminate this hassle.
Focus on highest-volume SKUs. There is a theory out there known as the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule, which holds that 80% of a company’s sales is typically generated by only 20% of the total product offering. To this end, it’s only logical to focus your inventory counting efforts on the more popular SKUs in your catalog, and counting them more frequently to ensure the most accurate inventory levels.
Keep team members in the loop. One of the biggest and costliest errors that can occur during an inventory count is the possibility of overlooking a significant portion of what’s on stock. This is especially risky for those with large or multiple warehouses. To prevent this from happening at your company, consider starting your inventory counters with an estimate of what is believed to be in stock. This will help to quickly identify areas that may have been missed.
Leverage technology. Today’s technology, such as inventory management software and barcode scanning, can dramatically improve the inventory count process, so make sure you’re taking advantage of these available tools. It may require an upfront investment, but the increase in efficiency, productivity and reduction in errors will be well worth it in the end.
Investigate and address any discrepancies. If, during the cycle count process, your team members come across a discrepancy, it should be addressed as timely and effectively as possible. As you implement the above strategies, the process should become easier and faster, which will facilitate a more efficient method for handling issues as they arise to mitigate the potential damages.
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