How to Improve Warehousing and Distribution Physical Counts
Are you looking for ways to improve the physical count process for your warehousing and distribution center? Physical counts can be costly due to labor expense and lost production time. That is why it is important to find ways to minimize the time it takes while ensuring inventory count accuracy.
Accurate physical counts are not just made to please your accountant or the tax auditors, they are a means to providing better customer service. When performed well, a physical count, and the resulting inventory accuracy, can increase warehousing efficiencies and reduce costs. When your counts are accurate, you can have a more effective inventory replenishment system; when your counts are inaccurate, your ordering quantities are wrong and your customer satisfaction will suffer.
Proper Planning Improves Physical Count Performance
One key to better physical counts is up-front planning. Proper preparation prevents poor warehousing performance. Here are some steps to prepare for your physical count to make it more efficient and accurate.
- Carry out a mock count. This will enable you to estimate the time and resources required for your upcoming physical count.
- Inform suppliers, customers and production. Let them know what to expect in order to minimize disruptions.
- Minimize shutdown. Consider counting surplus areas and slow-moving products in advance. Choose a time and date for the physical count that will create this least interruption in production.
- Establish count areas and assignments. Work out the details of the physical count so that everyone will know their tasks.
- Dispose of obsolete inventory. Clean up your warehouse in advance to remove any roadblocks to a good count.
- Prepare equipment and your software. Make sure that your physical equipment is in working order and charge batteries the night before. Prior to beginning the physical count, prepare your warehouse barcode scanning system. If you are using a SaaS system, be sure that you have enough user licenses for the physical count staff. If you only do physical count once or twice a year, you may need to set up extra users. Prepare your ERP software for the physical count by clearing out old inventory numbers and freezing operations.
- Train your staff. Let your team know the importance of accurate stock balances and be up to date on processes.
- Cease operations completely. Freeze the warehouse activities in your counting area.
- Provide extra support staff. When you need extra staff for the physical count or in other areas, prepare at least two weeks in advance. Often, software vendors can offer support with advance notice.
Warehousing and Distribution Automation Decreases Physical Count Time by 75%
Physical count can be done by hand, but the inventory data won’t get into the database in real time. It also leaves more room for human error. Automating the physical count process will increase accuracy and decrease physical count time. We have found that warehouse automation customers, on average, decrease physical count time by 75%. What would it mean to your business to take a four-day physical count process down to one day?
Mindover Software offers integrated warehouse and distribution management tools that will help make your physical count more efficient. Through our partner, Scanco, we can provide Scanco Counts—a mobile solution that automates your year-end physical count (or cycle count) from any iOS or Android device. The application seamlessly integrates with Sage 100 eliminating the need for paper counting and data entry. With many hardware accessory options, users can scan barcodes, look up items and send counts in real time to Sage 100. Scanco Counts also includes item inquiry to give your users a real-time view of inventory levels at any given moment. You improve your physical count accuracy since Scanco Counts has built-in validation with Sage 100 of company, warehouse, items and quantity data.
If you are ready to eliminate long count times, inefficient closing, and endless data entry in your warehousing and distribution operations, contact us today. We can help you make your next cycle count hassle free.