We've talked extensively about using your warehouse management system to implement a cycle counting program for your warehouse. One thing we haven't discussed is how different warehouse management programs can affect the quality of your cycle counting results. Not all systems are the same. In truth, there are several features that may make one better for cycle counting than another.Features You Definitely Want
The quality of your software will have a direct effect on the quality of your inventory. While some features come standard across nearly any WMS that's equipped for cycle counting, there are several advanced features that you definitely want. For instance, automatic product categorization is extremely helpful. Instead of going through your warehouse and manually assigning each product to an ABC category, you want to set parameters for each category and let the software sort out the details accordingly. Thus when sales trends change, you won't be left with all the wrong items in your A category. If you have to manually re-assign products every time sales change, you definitely won't be reaching the optimal efficiency you've been searching for.
Another important feature that you'll definitely want is automated blind counts and accuracy tracking. The blind recount feature will help ensure that all of your counters are giving you accurate results and will help uncover any major accuracy errors in your process. With a built-in accuracy tracker, you should be able to see your inventory accuracy climbing over time with a long-term goal of reaching 99%+ accuracy.
What Are You Missing?
Sometimes even the smallest changes in software can make a big difference. Moving to a better scanning technology for your counters can simplify the inventory process and speed things up. It's easy to see that the software you choose will have a direct impact on how well your cycle counting program is implemented. While it is possible to attempt cycle counting manually, the reality is that you will only gain a fraction of the information available to you using this method and you will spend far more time trying to coordinate counts. In addition, without software in place, it is hard to see how accurate your inventory really is and how trends are affecting your overall inventory.
When it comes time to roll out your new cycle counting system, it is imperative that you have the support of a high-quality software program. Trying to cut costs by choosing a WMS with few features will only lead to more headaches in the end, and will detract from all of the many benefits that a cycle count has to offer. Software can make all the difference.