Inventory Solutions Part 2: Cycle Counting & Barcoding Your Inventory
We began this blog series to share some of the most universal and applicable inventory solutions we have experienced over decades of developing and implementing warehouse inventory solutions around the globe. If you missed Inventory Solutions Part 1: Barcoding Your Warehouse be sure to go back and read that as well as each of these solutions are most effective when implemented together.
2. Barcoding Your Inventory
Once you have properly marked and barcoded your warehouse you must begin barcoding your items and entering the barcodes in a system. As you likely already know, buying barcode equipment is a serious investment. It is much less then RFID, but still you still have to buy scanners, printers, and access points. Then you must install and configure all this equipment. Before buying stop and consider what you are really trying to achieve. The main goal of purchasing and installing barcoding equipment is usually improved speed and/or accuracy. If this is your goal, you will only achieve these results with a full, organization-wide implementation. If you are considering barcoding only part of the warehouse or part of the items in an attempt to save on cost we highly discourage that. It will ultimately amount to a waste of time and money. On the other hand, if you do not need to improve your speed or accuracy, you probably do not need to make this investment yet.
3. Cycle Counting Your Inventory
Simultaneous with barcoding your inventory, you will also need to start cycle counting your inventory. Cycle counting is industry jargon for recording all inventory items in all locations. There are multiple ways to accomplish this.
The most common way is to “freeze” a range of locations for shipping or receiving, and count everything there. Next, you reconcile your results with recorded inventory. This can be done in two ways:
- A “blind count” where you do not know how many items you will count
- A “non-blind count” where you know how many items should be there.
There are pro and cons for both of these methods, but the general idea is you have to do either one on a regular basis. That should become a part of your regular procedures for your warehouse.
The first time you do this will likely be challenging and time consuming, but once you have implemented proper software and barcode scanners this can be done much faster.
Stay tuned for Inventory Solutions Part 3: Cycle Counting & Barcoding Your Inventory. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us anytime, or download our free eBook “Organizing Your Warehouse”.