Lauren writes about inventory for Sortly. Her favorite thing to organize? Her comically large collection of stuffed animals.Lauren
Inventory cycle counts make it easier for businesses to achieve and maintain accurate inventory lists. And accuracy improves operations and saves your business time and money. That’s why it’s so important to perform periodic inventory counts. This article covers what a cycle count is, the purpose and benefits of inventory cycle counting, and how inventory management software can help streamline the process.
An inventory cycle count is an inventory strategy in which specific, defined portions of inventory are counted on a rotating, recurrent schedule. The schedule specifies exactly when each portion of inventory will be counted. This method spreads the count of inventory throughout the year (or another length of time), so you don’t have to to do it all at once.
Instead of auditing your entire inventory annually, you can schedule daily or weekly inventory counts of small groups of items. Although you can count and track stock on a spreadsheet, inventory management software that uses QR codes or barcodes can simplify the process and increase accuracy.
The purpose of cycle counting is to keep tabs on inventory by counting a specific subset of inventory at regularly-scheduled intervals. An annual audit of every little thing a company stocks often require businesses to shutter, and is often performed too infrequently to prevent inventory loss. Cycle counting offers business owners a helpful and effective alternative to costly and time-consuming inventory counts.
You may also see an inventory cycle count referred to as an inventory cycle audit.
Inventory cycle counts improve business processes in many ways. Consider three benefits.
Instead of scheduling long annual counts of your inventory, cycle counts require smaller time increments and combat the monotony of extended inventory audits. That means you probably won’t have to shut down your store or ask employees to ignore their regular work just to take inventory. Everything is manageable!
Plus, frequent counts make it easier to identify lost, damaged, or stolen items in a large warehouse inventory.
You’ll also save money with an inventory cycle count. Annual counts often require overtime hours (and closed stores!) to complete a full count of all items in your jewelry or HVAC inventory, for example. It’s cost-effective to set aside daily or weekly increments of time for counting groups of items.
An inventory cycle count maintains accuracy and improves efficiency in a variety of areas.
Inventory cycle counts should be performed by trustworthy, accurate associates in businesses that have the manpower to handle the audits without neglecting other work responsibilities.
As always, business owners or inventory managers will need to weigh the pros of inventory cycle counting with the cons. Yes, inventory cycle counts provide frequent, accurate glimpses into inventory levels, but there are inventory apps that can help with that, too.
Case in point: a small business with only a few stockrooms could probably get by with a full-on inventory audit once a year, or simply use inventory software to track changes to inventory as they happen.
If your cycle counts reveal inaccuracies in your inventory, you can either assume those inaccuracies occur across all your inventory, or you can audit your entire inventory to make sure.
Another option: random sample cycle counting, in which your warehouse counts items completely at random, but gets to everything over a given period of time. This way, you can keep maintaining accurate inventory without losing too much productivity.
Another option: applying ABC analysis to your inventory counts. By counting only the most valuable, profitable items in your inventory, you can assert tighter control over your most important stock.
Many of the benefits of inventory cycle counting can be reaped from using inventory management software, and for a lot less effort, too. Inventory management software—or an inventory app—can help your employees or associates track inventory effortlessly and without errors. After all, human error is one of the chief flaws of inventory cycle counts.
Inventory software like Sortly offers tons of key features that help you keep perpetual inventory in a fraction of the time. Sortly allows you to:
Ready to simplify your inventory management? Try Sortly free for 14 days.