Cycle counting is one of the most critical activities done in the warehouse required to minimize the difference between “physical stock” and “systemic stock”. Counting at locations in large warehouses can potentially eat up time for operations. More time means more money spent on resources used in the activity and can interrupt other day to day activities due to bottle-necks in the area where counting is being performed, disrupted shift changes, and delay in task completion.
WMS supports multiple types of cycle counting, but two of them which are used most frequently are:
- Triggered Counting:A small subset of inventory, in a specific location, is counted on a specific day.
- Auditing:In the case of a discrepancy caused in standard cycle counting, an audit count is done to double check and verify the discrepancy.
Imagine making the counting process leaner, enabling users to perform cycle counting quicker and easier. A solution proposed to make this happen is counting the inventory by weight. Within Inventory Management, the weight of every unit is maintained. The weight of an empty box which is used to pack those units into cases is also maintained. Finally, the weight of the empty pallet in which those cases will be kept is maintained. Knowing and configuring the item UOM details in the system can in turn calculate the weight of full cases and pallets. If a user were to cycle count a location with units, he or she can take the entire pallet filled with units and put it on the scale to get the total weight. Subtracting the weight of the pallet, the system can calculate the weight of the actual items by dividing it with the weight of an individual unit to get the number of units present at that location. While there may be slight differences in the weight of different pallets, you can set an acceptable range of variance.
Let’s take for example, a soda can that weighs 400 grams. 6 soda cans are packed in a case that weighs 100 grams. A pallet contains 20 cases of cans and the weight of the pallet is 5000 grams. With this information in mind, a use case demonstration can be presented.
- An operator is prompted to count units in location, A1, which has 3 pallets of soda.
- The operator picks each pallet and puts it on a weight scale one after another.
- The operator learns the following details:
- The weight of the first pallet is 41.1 kg.
- The weight of the pallet in the system is 5 kg.
- The weight of 20 cases is 2 kg.
- The weight of the actual cans of soda is 34 kg with a variance.
With the above details, the system concludes there are 85 cans of soda in the pallet. Similarly, the operator weighs the other two pallets, enters their weight in the system, and learns pallets 2 and 3 also hold 85 units. The above calculations happened in the system automatically. The only manual work the operator conducted was putting the pallet on the scale and entering the total weight in the system. All in all, the operator was able to save time by letting the system handle the calculations instead of breaking open pallets and counting out 255 units individually. The operation as a whole was able to save money by freeing up the operator and allowing him to get to his next task quicker.
This is just one example of where a smart warehouse can save time and money within your distribution. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the smart processes you can implement within your supply chain.
Contributor: Asif Ali