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How to reduce the cost and disruption of an inventory count

SageData is based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Techniques that will help you perform an inventory count quickly, easily and accurately while minimizing the cost of labour and reducing the "down time" associated with the traditional approach to an inventory count.

Many organizations dread the annual inventory count. Operations are shut down, sometimes for a week or more - and clients just have to wait. Staff are diverted to mindless counting of things they often don't recognize. After the count, there is a data entry process that might take a further week. And errors are introduced both in the count-cycle and the data-entry process.

But there is a better way. Barcodes can be used to identify both locations and SKU values - identifying the items to be counted. Handheld computers can then be used to record the count at each location. Benefits include:
- Training for those performing the count is reduced.
- Errors are automatically avoided by the correct identification of items.
- Count errors can also be reduced by performing a "QA Audit" on some or all of the counts.
- Counting is fast.
- The task of entering data from the count tickets is eliminated.

SageData have been providing these inventory solutions for many years, sometimes as part of a larger system. Sometimes as stand-alone dedicated inventory count systems.

We supplied a system to a lumber yard. In previous years they had been forced to shut down the yard for a whole week to complete the annual inventory. With the system, the inventory was completed over a weekend. The managers found the detail, accuracy and timeliness of the information so valuable that they switched to doing an inventory every three months.

Another user tracked items in a government warehouse. They usually allocated five days for the count, and two weeks for data-entry. With the new system, the count was completed in two and a half days (after which normal service was resumed). The transfer of data from the count tickets to spreadsheet was totally eliminated. In the words of the manager "two weeks was reduced to twenty seconds". This because the first page of the report was rolling off the printer twenty seconds after the external auditor confirmed that the physical count had been completed to their satisfaction.

For more information on how to reduce the downtime and disruption of an audit, and to improve the quality (and, perhaps, the timeliness) of the data, contact us.

If you found this useful, you might also want to review:

an introduction to barcode technology

an introduction to RFID

inventory count system - a brief video

consulting services: barcodes and their applications