Reach Inventory Nirvana

Advice from true warehouse experts

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What we've seen is, these counts quickly raise bin level accuracy to well over 97 percent. They also help to eliminate the need for wall-to-wall physical inventories, and make the most efficient use of space and resources. Adopting cycle counts also results in several complementary benefits, including a reduction in exception handling for discrepancies, the elimination of labor costs and service disruptions caused by a physical inventory, and fewer lost sales due to stock outages. Last but not least, cycle counting introduces a planned, systematic method for controlling when and where cycle counts need to be made across the warehouse over time, along with cycle counting at the bin on the fly when errors are discovered. For any warehouse or distribution center, the notion of abandoning the trusted practice of physical inventories in favor of cycle counts naturally appears to be a daunting task. The best way to approach it is to understand that cycle counts provide the warehouse an opportunity to enable continuous monitoring of inventory accuracy over time. Cycle counting is one of those processes that can be phased in gradually, perhaps by starting with high turnover goods. Once implemented, however, the commitment to daily cycle counts quickly becomes a way of life, allowing team members to replenish minimum count requirements, verify that bins and SKUs are in the correct location, and adjust for discrepancies. The overall result is a far more accurate and up-to- date snapshot of actual inventory levels, without the onerous task of a full-scale physical inventory. If this saves your business money and makes your customers and employees happier in the process, why wouldn't you embrace it? Eric Allais, President and CEO of Washington-based PathGuide Technologies, Inc., has over 30 years of experience in marketing, product management and sector analysis in the automated data collection industry, including warehouse management practices in wholesale distribution. Contact him at eric@pathguide.com. PathGuide Technologies, a privately held company founded in 1989, is a leading provider of warehouse management solutions for industrial and retail distributors across the United States, Canada and abroad. PathGuide's software and services help suppliers increase productivity and order accuracy, improve customer service and lower labor costs, ultimately driving greater profitability.

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