This article explores the key steps involved in the inventory counting process and how advanced technology solutions can optimize and simplify the daunting task. If you are looking for expert software guidance to effectively manage and handle your inventory systems, Cleffex offers web and mobile app development services for inventory management development, implementation, and evolution.
Irrespective of whether you are a veteran, or are entirely new to the field, you already know that frequent inventory counting is an essential process in warehousing. It offers absolute clarity regarding the items that are readily available and helps to maintain optimal inventory levels. This sort of meticulously managed system facilitates accurate data-driven inventory forecasting as well.
In this article, we will delve deeper and try to understand what entails inventory counting, why it is important, the types of inventory counting, and how automation enhances the process. So, let’s get started.
What is inventory counting?
An inventory count, or a stock count, refers to the practice of keeping track of the inventory items in your warehouse that are readily available for sale. There are multiple ways to perform this task and which is the best option for you depends on factors such as the size of your business, the frequency of your counts, the automation involved, and more. When manually executed, inventory counting is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task that is highly prone to errors.
Why is inventory counting important?
Inventory counting is a highly crucial process in the steady flow of a business as it enables you to know how many items are on your shelves at any given moment. Moreover,
· Regular count of your inventory provides you the much-needed information to forecast demand and plan accordingly. Detailed planning consequently leads to optimized stock levels which mean less revenue lost.
· Accurately comprehending what is on your warehouse shelves will help you identify expired stock and prevent loss by alerting you when your inventory goes missing.
· Keeping track of your complete stock level offers you better clarity for your entire supply chain and streamlines your business.
Types of inventory counting process
There are different types of inventory counting processes and the type you choose for your business depends entirely on your requirements and your resources. Here are some common types present in the market today:
· Periodic inventory – It is an approach used when businesses are just starting out with inventory management and refers to counting the complete stock weekly or monthly. Although this approach gives you an exact count at the end of the day, it won’t be reliable in a long term.
· Inventory cycle counting – This process involves counting a specific section of your inventory each day so that over the course of time duration (1 month, 2 months, etc), the entirety of your stock is accounted for. This type of inventory counting can be used to pinpoint discrepancies and identify trends in damage, shrink, and spoilage.
· ABC counting – This approach uses cycle counting but also adds additional data in the process. So, the concept involves ranking your items by priority on the basis of numerous factors like popularity and price. This method allows you to easily manage your stock counting calendar while maintaining an accurate level of your inventory.
· Just-in-time inventory – It is also known as JIT inventory and is considered a method for when a supply chain is in sync. This inventory counting process coordinates the reception of raw materials from the supplier when a customer shops for it, and thus decreases waste that comes in the form of inventory housing costs. However, this is extremely risky since even a small slip-up within the supply chain can completely disrupt the entire process
Best practices involved in inventory counting
Advanced technology-based solutions to inventory counting leverage automation tools to increase the speed and accuracy of counting and thus reduce the load of doing it manually. The common solutions are the following:
· QR codes or barcodes can be used to manually scan products with a scanner or a mobile device and offers a fast and efficient way of gaining inventory data. This scanned information can be thus used to automatically update the inventory levels, thus saving both the time and effort of the employees. However, the efficiency of this IoT application development is restricted by the need to scan products one by one.
· RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags are usually placed on products and include inventory data that can be captured by RFID readers. These readers can be mounted or hand-held and do not need any line of sight to count multiple products simultaneously. This technology also implements IoT services and helps in increasing the speed of counting while facilitating accuracy.
· Robots or drones equipped with readers and cameras can be used to read QR codes, barcodes, RFID tags, and text to perform real-time counting. They are autonomous devices that can move quickly and/or climb heights and thus decrease the need for manpower minimizing health and safety risks.
How can inventory counting software help?
Customized software for inventory counting can streamline the process by gathering, processing, and analyzing inventory data that is collected from the above-mentioned technologies. Such software can not only store the required information but also interpret it, spot inconsistencies, or point out futuristic trends in the inventory levels.
A versatile inventory counting software solution can help define the optimal inventory levels, corroborate it against the actual data on-shelf and make visible differences to counters. With real-time status updates, your inventory counters can instantly identify the actual cause of your emerging problems and solve them before they cause any big disruptions in your business.
What are the benefits of inventory counting software?
An inventory counting software offers a real-time image of the actual inventory quantity, range, location, and condition to ensure seamless operations in warehousing management.
By decreasing the number of manual count procedures, the custom software for inventory counting can drive precision and enhance the inventory management system.
Automated inventory tracking can help identify the shrinkage that is caused by various reasons like losses, thefts, or errors and take the necessary measures to eliminate the issue.
The accurate and up-to-date information gathered from the inventory counting software is necessary for optimizing inventory levels. This will stop stockouts or overstocking and avoid dispensable storage and management expenses.
Streamlined document flow
A tailored software for inventory counting created by an experienced custom software development company can be integrated with other corporate systems such as procurement and accounting solutions. This integration can not only streamline multiple operations and eliminate silos, but also generate accurate balance sheets and financial reports in a timely manner.
Customer satisfaction depends entirely on an organization’s ability to fulfill orders on time. An inventory counting software can help in achieving sufficient inventory levels and accurate inventory planning.
As you can see from above, an efficient inventory counting software can help you get accurate data that involves all the company activities including warehousing, accounting, order processing, etc. Advanced technology solutions can facilitate accurate inventory planning, reduce storage costs, save time, and improve warehouse performance. This streamlined approach of managing inventory counting will thus ensure higher customer satisfaction and boost overall profitability.
If you are looking for expert guidance to build state-of-the-art holistic software to manage inventory operations, get in touch with our team. Depending on your unique requirements, our skilled professionals can create high-quality software solutions for your warehousing requirements.