A Cycle Count is a perpetual inventory auditing procedure where you follow a regularly repeated sequence of checks on a subset of inventory.   Regular Cycle Counts, in combination with good Inventory Management policies, can ensure greater accuracy of the inventory within a warehouse.

Why Cycle Counts instead of a Full Count

WarehouseOS believes that Cycle Counts should be both Periodic and Consistent

A full count typically requires additional help to get through the entire inventory in a short amount of time; usually help that doesn't normally interact with inventory and is unfamiliar with typical inventory practices.  It also typically requires additional time and longer hours to get through the workload.  In this scenario, focus on the task at hand might shift and could actually result in more errors than what the count corrects.

Instead, WarehouseOS recommends dividing the warehouse into manageable sections and counting those sections on a cycle, multiple times a year.  The recommendation is to count the entire warehouse at least 4 times a year, but it should be divided up based on manageable sections.  Locations that are touched more often might also need to be counted more often. Pick Face locations might be counted once month while Backstock locations are counted once a quarter.

Counting smaller sections can help a more dedicated team maintain focus during the count and can contribute to greater accuracy overall.

The example below highlights a pick face that can be counted every 3 weeks and a backstock that is divided over an 8 week period.

Location vs Item Counts

WOS makes a distinction between an "Item Count” and “Location Count". 

An Item Count only requires that a particular Item within the Location be counted. All other Items within that Location are ignored and not adjusted. 

Location Count requires that everything in that Location is counted. If there is an Item in this Location that is not counted, it is assumed to be at 0 quantity and adjustments are made to remove the Item from the Location.  

Special Considerations

Retail Store Inventory

Some customers have used WOS to manage inventory in their retail stores.  Because the Cycle Count function was built for a warehouse configuration, it is not setup to be ideal in a retail environment.

A Location Count of the retail space would require a single employee to enter and confirm all of the items that exist within the entire space.

An Item Count of the retail space could allow multiple employees to count different items, but in this scenario employees have to find and count all instances of a single item.  Items that would otherwise be "found" during a location count are at risk of not being counted.