Using Proper Physical Count Procedures
It’s always a good idea to make copious notes about physical count configuration and usage issue and to review them prior to doing the actual work.
Typically, this process would include:
- Making backups of current data. – Typically, this would involve backing-up the full database.
- Archiving old count files for previous periods or years. – This would ensure that old files are not accidentally imported.
- Making sure that PDT’s (Physical count device) batteries are fully charged, and that any old count data is cleared from the devices.
- Training staff who will actually be doing the work to properly use both the software and hardware functions.
Taking this proactive approach is vitally important, especially if you only do inventories once a year or less frequently. Failing to do this can mean a potential disaster waiting to happen…
As an example…
An end-user who had just completed a physical count determined that ALL of the adjusted inventory levels were wrong for all of their locations.
In working with the counter staff, the following was later determined:
- When importing the count file into the default PDT’s (Physical count device) software directory, the file downloaded was named the same as what it was last year and downloaded to PDT software’s default directory.
- However, their default NCR Counterpoint parameter was pointing to a different import folder than the PDT software default. When the staff imported the count file, they were actually importing the previous year’s physical count file. – No one had checked the date of the file or the content before importing it.
- After importing the count file, the user did a blind post the count data without checking any of the data, and just let the system to adjust all items not counted to zero.
To compound matters…
- No backup of the existing CounterPoint data files was done prior to the start of the import process. – This means that they had no recourse but to restart the physical count process.
- The count file had obvious errors in it (Barcodes scanned into the quantity field; Quantities input into the barcode field; Blank Quantities; etc.). – The NCR Counterpoint software has both a verify function that can be used prior to importing data and various worksheets that can be used for reviewing and validating data.
- Other users had started multiple physical count snap-shots that involved many of the same items. Some of these has been open for as long as a year.
- On detecting the initial problem, the staff repeated the exact same import/post process (using the wrong file) at least twice, before finally creating a new physical count, and without doing any imports, then zeroed-out
the entire inventory for that location.
The one saving grace here was the current year’s count file uploaded not been deleted, nor had the PDT been purged after the upload.
If you are unsure of any part of the physical count process, CCS Retail Systems can provide both training and technical assistance prior to starting the count, as well as ongoing process support during the actual count.