For the next few weeks, we will be focusing on the 6 major processes that most typical warehouse inventory systems are built on. If done right, each process will enable you to reach what we like to call "flawless fulfillment".
A more efficient warehouse operation relies on tight inventory controls—knowing what you have, how much, and where it is. Cycle counting delivers a more efficient process for greater visibility. By conducting counts in smaller areas and more frequently, you update numbers on a regular basis—as opposed to physical counts that take longer and become outdated by the time they’re completed. Cycle counts help to locate problems sooner, because of the periodic checks. This process also expedites replenishment by identifying low and misplaced inventory, reducing the costly problem of out-of-stocks.
Mobile technology can expedite your cycle counting process and create more accurate numbers—which leads to reduced shrinkage and loss. Equip each member of the inventory team with a rugged barcode scanner or handheld computer, and a mobile printer. The Zebra DS3508 is a rugged, omni-directional scanner that captures 1D and 2D barcodes easily, and is designed to withstand the tough warehouse environment. The Zebra LS3578-ER Bluetooth-enabled scanner reads barcodes up to 45 feet away, ideal for use in warehouses and yards.
For a more efficient cycle count, consider substituting the barcode scanner with a multi-functional, multi-modal handheld computer. These compact units are lightweight for comfortable ergonomics, but pack a wealth of essential inventory management features. Your mobile computer scans barcodes, accesses the WMS, wirelessly transmits cycle counts in real-time, and enables voice-directed applications.
A mobile printer can be small enough to clip to a belt or mount in a forklift. The ability to print barcode labels on-demand—without numerous trips back and forth to a print station—not only saves time, but reduces the risk of errors that can occur when juggling multiple labels.
Cycle counting will relieve the pain points the commonly ail warehouse operations. Tighten the inventory control, reduce out-of-stocks, and provide accurate counts required for compliance purposes. With the regularly updated cycle counts, you also gain key insight in your WMS to reduce the costs to purchase, manage, and stock inventory.