Before you can begin the process of launching a full-scale cycle counting program, you must first have the proper tools in place to keep your cycle counts organized and running smoothly. There are a handful of tools that you absolutely must have to get your program off the ground, as well as a few advanced tools that can help pave the way toward a more efficient and effective process.
The very first tool that you need for cycle counting is a robust software system that will handle all of the ins and outs of your cycle. This software needs to be able to track groups of items according to the ABC category that you place them in. It also needs to be able to select items to count and dispatch instructions for counting them each day. Finally, it should be integrated with the rest of your Warehouse Management System so that it automatically updates based on transactions processed throughout the day for improved accuracy.
While it is possible to print out cycle counting sheets each day and send your team onto the floor with pen and paper, the truth is that being able to enter data directly into the system via wireless handheld computers is the best way to get things done. This ensures that all data is entered in a timely manner, and that the system is constantly checking for updates as each count is being completed.
A Well Established Routine
This is not a tool you can purchase, but rather one you must create. Starting your cycle counts at the same time each day and using the same system for dispatching will ensure that you never fall behind. In addition, having a thorough training program will ensure that whenever a new teammate comes on board, they are able to get up to speed in a timely manner. Take the time ahead of launching your cycle count program to set up a routine that can be applied across your entire warehouse, and put it in writing so that all team members will know exactly how the cycle count is supposed to work by using the reference manual.
The more comfortable you get with cycle counting, the easier it is to add additional functions like random accuracy verification. However, it is imperative that you start by empowering your team with the right tools up front. The software you choose will handle the bulk of the cycle counting process internally, so it is up to you to choose a software that is easy to use. From there, you will need to arm your team with proper counting equipment and a set of guidelines to get them through the day.