As warehouses – both small and large – continue to adapt to market changes and expand their operations, more and more manufacturers are replacing their standard physical inventory counts with cycle count systems.

Cycle counting is the continuous process of tracking inventory by surveying a small subset of inventory on a regular schedule. This routine can occur daily, weekly or even monthly – it just needs to be regularly maintained.

Sophisticated ERP systems and complementing modules can aid in this maintenance by streamlining the process for warehouse employees. This can include:

1. Providing a more accurate inventory count
Accurate inventory counts are vital because they enable manufacturers to make better material purchasing decisions. Simultaneously, having a clearer view of what products are available to be sold can help employees throughout an organization, especially those on the sales and customer service teams. Automated ERP systems eliminate the potential for human error, resulting in a more accurate picture from which the company can work.

2. Minimally disrupting employees’ work days
The act of carrying out physical inventory counts requires a great deal of employees’ time. An automated process is naturally quicker, specifically when done in a cycle method as opposed to a full inventory count. In the end, this requires less of a commitment from employees and puts them back out on the floor in a timely manner.

3. Eliminating the hassle of large end-of-the-year counts
At best, physical inventory counts are disruptive; at worst, they’re downright painful. While many warehouse supervisors and employees might describe end-of-the-year full physical inventory as an excruciating activity, periodic cycle counts tend to be easier to manage and better for the company as a whole. After all, as Inc. magazine pointed out, cycle counts don’t require warehouses to stop production for multiple days at a time like end-of-the-year counts. Plus, you’ll have a more accurate picture of available inventory regularly as opposed to infrequently.

4. Allowing instant access to information
Unlike physical counts, cycle counts done through an automated ERP system provide instant access to analytics and company insights. As ERP Focus noted, once inventory adjustments are inputted, that system can immediately report whether a replenishment purchase order is needed, or even cancel existing replenishment orders when supplies are greater than expected.

5. Increasing your company’s bottom line
As previously mentioned, ERP systems can prevent problems that occur from human error – problems that cost your company money. Similarly, these systems can add to your company’s bottom line by better controlling inventory and putting your warehouse in a position to increase production on items that are moving quickly.

Ultimately, inventory is money that is sitting on a shelf until those items are purchased by a customer. Warehouses that utilize ERP technology are in a better position to push inventory and capitalize on those untapped streams of revenue.

Companies interested in revamping their inventory counting process through the use of an ERP system can click to download the Physical Inventory Count Dynamics NAV Module Data Sheet.