Easing the pain of physical inventory count

Every company that buys, sells, and/or uses physical products deals with the pains of keeping accurate inventory records. The recent uptick in e-commerce sales, evolving customer preferences, and unanticipated supply chain disruptions have converged to make inventory counts especially critical for manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and e-commerce companies.

Inventory counts are an integral part of any organization’s internal control environment and tend to be an all-hands-on-deck, manually-intensive affair that takes place once a year. The process often extends a week or more, requires operational shutdowns, and interrupts fulfillment processes as employees work to count one of the business’ most valuable assets: its physical inventory.

In order to make accurate budgeting, operating and financial decisions, managers and other stakeholders need accurate inventory count data to work with. Publicly traded companies, for example, must ensure their financial reports are accurate. That means auditors and corporations must perform physical inventory checks before the last day of the company’s fiscal year.

Physical inventory counts are conducted manually and are therefore both time-consuming and error-prone. When someone has to physically touch or scan inventory during the put-away, inventory check or pick processes, for example, errors are bound to surface. Finding, counting, and recording each item is time-consuming enough, but the fact that those items might be stored in multiple places throughout the warehouse or storeroom adds even more time to the process. Even when the physical count is completed, rectifying any discrepancies, figuring out what went wrong, and then implementing procedures to avoid repeat mistakes takes even more time.

While physical inventory counts are a necessary evil, they needn’t be so significant a burden. This white paper will explore the key inventory count challenges
that companies are dealing with now, show how regular, scheduled cycle counting year-round can ease these pains, and discuss how a unified, cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution enables high inventory accuracy year-round.

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