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How often should cycle counts be performed?

A man takes inventory while sitting on boxes in a warehouse.

Inventory cycle counts are performed to ensure inventory records are accurate. These audits, which are a mainstay of many warehouses and retail stores, call for counting a particular subset of inventory to confirm stock levels are as expected. In this short article, we’ll reveal just how often inventory cycle counts should be performed.

How often should inventory cycle counts be done?

There is no perfect answer to how often inventory cycle counts should be performed. Inventory value, turnover, seasonal demand, accuracy of employees’ inventory tracking and many more factors affect how frequently you should cycle count your inventory. How and why you perform inventory cycle counts will dictate precisely how frequently you count inventory.

Here are some recommendations and best practices for determining when to perform inventory cycle counts:

ABC Analysis Cycle Counting

ABC analysis allows businesses to focus on controlling the inventory that matters most. Category A items are 20% of your items, but 70% of your inventory value. Category B: 30% of your inventory, 25% value. Category C: 50% of your inventory, but 5% value. For best results, count “A” items most frequently, than “B”, than “C”. 

High-Usage Cycle Counting

Items that are turned over the most should be counted more frequently, especially if those items are also expensive.

Control Group Cycle Counting

If you are counting certain parts of your inventory to determine whether your entire inventory is accurate, those control groups should be counted several times over the course of a month or so. This way, you can determine if there are any errors with your stocking, counting, labeling and so on.

Random Cycle Counting:

If you stock a lot of similar inventory, you can randomly count some–not all–of certain inventory at random to ensure good inventory processes are in place. 

How to automate inventory cycle counts

Inventory is used on smartphones, a desktop computer and a tablet.

If you’re using cutting-edge inventory management software to track your inventory, you’ll likely need to audit your stockroom at some point using inventory cycle counts. Even if you only count a small sampling of what you have on hand, your cycle count data can help you determine whether the rest of your inventory is likely to be accurate. 

Using inventory software, you can streamline your inventory cycle counts using key automation features like barcode and QR code scanning. Using your phone’s camera, you can quickly scan your inventory and enter in key findings from your cycle counts, making a tedious process way less cumbersome. 

Plus, the right inventory app can help you manage your inventory before things get out of control. With inventory management software, you can keep track of your inventory as you use it or move it. This means you’ll always know what you’ve got, how much of it’s on hand, and where it is. 

Related: What is the difference between perpetual inventory and physical inventory?

If you’re interested in automating your inventory, why not try Sortly’s top-rated app today? It’s intuitive, modern and requires no training or bulky equipment. Get started today, right on your phone. There’s a free version, or you can try a premium, feature-rich account totally free for two weeks!