Sing along with us – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s warehouse cycle count time!”
Okay, so not as catchy as a Bing Crosby or Julie Andrews feel-good fireside holiday song. For retailers, nothing is nearer and dearer to their hearts than inventory season. An accurate inventory count ensures that year-end financials are all tidy and tied up in a nice holiday bow.
To make your warehouse cycle count time merry and bright, we’ve put together five tips and tricks that retailers use to make sure counts are accurate. Tuck your warehouse in for the night and be naughty, not nice, with these tips.
Five Tips for a Great Warehouse Cycle Count
A business that fails to conduct an annual inventory is a business headed for failure. The value of your inventory goes onto your balance sheet for the year-end. It also helps you catch shrinkage and nip it in the bud. An accurate inventory count is essential to evaluating the health of your business.
Although many retailers and their staff find that taking inventory is tedious, it doesn’t have to be viewed as a chore. These five tips will help make a great warehouse cycle count go easier for everyone.
- Choose your time wisely: Choose a time when your business is slow. Some retailers conduct inventory after the business has closed for the day. Department stores, for example, take inventory counts during slow periods (July and December just before New Year’s) and ask their staff to stay late. Inventory is usually taken on a Monday night for the same reason.
- Prepare: Clean up the warehouse. Throw away empty cartons and replace faded shelf labels. Gather the equipment you need for a physical inventory. Replace returned items to the correct bins and neaten the shelves. Making sure all the barcodes face the same way doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can shave minutes and hours off a warehouse cycle count.
- Establish teams: People working in teams tend to make fewer mistakes than individuals taking counts. Have one person read off the items and the other person record them. If you use barcode scanners and do not need someone to record or read off, then have one person scan and the second person audit. Double checking as you go along reduces error rates, and mistakes can be caught and remedied quickly.
- Map out the warehouse: Make a map of the warehouse and divide it up into sections. Experienced inventory takers should work the harder sections; newcomers can work the easier sections. Walk everyone through the warehouse and describe the plan to them, so they know what to focus on.
- Provide training: Don’t assume that everyone understands what you mean by warehouse cycle counts or inventory. Explain exactly how you want the task accomplished. Provide adequate training to make sure that everyone is taking inventory in the same way.
Year-end means time for inventory control and warehouse cycle counts. Take the time now to count every pin, every widget, and every bag in the warehouse. Then, pop the champagne and ring in the New Year with a clean, tidy warehouse and an accurate cycle count. There’s no happier way to celebrate … at least, not for warehouse managers!
Mindover Software is a software reseller that offers software for distribution and warehousing along with a broad range of accounting, ERP, finance, customer relationship management, and other software products for Acumatica and Sage software. For more information, please contact us or call 512-990-3994.