SKULabs continuously keeps your inventory up-to-date by deducting inventory as your team ships out orders. However, there are many factors that can affect your inventory counts outside of regular receiving and fulfillment. To account for discrepancies like shrinkage and miscounts, it's recommended that you perform regular inventory counting.
To avoid having to do full inventory counts too often, you can implement cycle counting on a more frequent schedule. Cycle counts are small batches of inventory counting tasks for a single location, or a single group of items, within a warehouse. Since you'll only need to set aside smaller amounts of time to check each section, you can check your inventory more frequently without interrupting your day-to-day operations.
There are a couple of different ways to organize your cycle counting workflow, depending on your specific needs. You could choose to grow high-volume sellers together and check those more frequently, or you might simply group sections by their physical location in your warehouses. In any case, the key to effective cycle counting is to keep doing it frequently so that your reporting is always as accurate as possible.
Tip: To learn more, check out our blog article on effective cycle counting.
How to Create Cycle Counts
- Open your Items tab and use searching, sorting, and/or filtering to find the items you wish to count. Warehouse teams often prefer to count by a common brand or distributor, or will arrange counts by sales volume or location within the warehouse.
- Select the items you wish to count using the checkboxes on each row.
- Open the Actions menu and select Create cycle counts. In the window that appears, confirm which items (and in which warehouses they are stocked in) you wish to add to your new cycle count(s) and hit Save.
- Open the Cycle Counts tab to see your newly created counts. If you selected and confirmed items that are stocked in multiple warehouses/locations, there will be one count per warehouse/location the selected items are stocked in.
How to Perform a Cycle Count
Warning: Do not perform cycle counts during a time in which the affected items may be picked or shipped as part of order fulfillment, or would have their stock counts modified in any other way.
- Open the Cycle Counts tab and select a count to open the count's details page.
- Select Start scanning once you are in front of the appropriate items in the warehouse with a barcode scanner.
- Begin scanning each unit of inventory on hand for each of the count's line items. Note that you do not need to scan the items in order, and you don't need to finish scanning all of the units for one item before scanning any units of another item.
(If barcode scanning is not possible or preferred, you can select the Edit button next to each count item to manually enter a unit count. However, this is not recommended for accuracy's sake.)
- Once you have finished counting all of the items as described in step 3, compare the numbers in the On Hand and Scanned column. If there is a discrepancy between the two, that discrepancy will be noted in the Divergence column.
(A divergence of more than 2-5% of the total count is generally considered anomalous, and should be investigated by a warehouse manager before proceeding.)
- When you are ready to commit the new on hand counts, select Apply changes.