An Epicor mobile ERP app should be on every manufacturer’s wish list to make cycle counts faster and easier
The days toward the end of the year bring many things. Holiday anticipation falls on the “happy” end of the December spectrum. The limited daylight we enjoy, less so. And the end-of-year physical inventory count most manufacturers perform—well, that might cap the “unhappy” end.
It’s safe to say that nobody enjoys cycle counts, as vital as they are, and the EOY ones can be the most deflating. There are just so many other things we’d rather be doing to prepare for a bright New Year.
Although I can’t make cycle counts go away (at least not without some fancy robotics and automation), I do have a suggestion for making this year’s process better. Take it mobile!
Traditional Inventory Cycle Counts in Epicor ERP
So what’s wrong with cycle counts? For many manufacturers, they remain a painfully manual process.
The traditional cycle count burden is so familiar that I barely need to describe it. But let’s relive the horror together so we know what we don’t want:
First, the cycle count is created in Epicor ERP.
Someone prints the cycle count forms for employees.
Usually a different someone rallies the troops and passes out the forms.
Employees wander around the warehouse(s) locating products.
Once a product is found, the employee gives an eyeball verification of the Product ID against the one listed on their paperwork.
They perform a count of the product inventory and log their result, hopefully in their most legible handwriting.
Workers rinse and repeat for the entire cycle count.
The paperwork typically piles up until someone (maybe that cycle count creator from Step 1) has the chance to enter it all into the Epicor ERP system for posterity.
Wow, that’s a lot of steps! And a lot of room for error, too. What if an employee lists a count next to the wrong product ID? What if a cycle count result is mis-keyed at the end? What if the data entry process takes forever and the information isn’t as useful as it would be in near real-time?
Yeah, there are problems here—and that means efficiency opportunities!
How Bezlio Inventory Counts Work (For You, Not Against You)
Let’s now compare the traditional cycle count with the process as performed in Bezlio’s mobile ERP app for Epicor.
The cycle count itself is still created within the Epicor ERP, but that’s about the only thing that’s the same.
Bezlio users open the cycle count bezl from a phone or tablet, click “new count” or a “recount” and then enter the count ID corresponding to the one set up in Epicor. Or better yet, if you barcode, employees can just scan the code to begin!
Once they’re ready to do some counting, employees will scan the product ID from the barcode displayed on the rack system, shelving or other location.
Then it’s a simple matter of counting the items and entering the result in the app.
When all lines in the count have been scanned, hitting “submit” pushes the information to the Epicor system automatically, no keying into the ERP required!
Not only does that process involve fewer steps, but most of them deliver significant efficiency improvements, like barcode scanning. Each step takes less time than it does when working with paper and the results are more accurate.
SOME EXTRA FEATURES
At Bezlio, we try to think about every eventuality in a process and build our apps for manufacturing accordingly. With the cycle count bezl, for example, we recognized the occasional need to quantify a product not listed on the initial cycle count. We, therefore, included the ability to submit a blank tag and enter the product and quantity. This allows employees to add an item to the count itself without having to go back and consult with whoever created the count in Epicor in the first place.
And what about the inevitable counting error? We wanted to make corrections simple. If a specific count ID needs to be corrected, the user can select “recount” when logging into the app and then update any information. The recount function can also be used to reconcile before finalizing in Epicor ERP.
The precise value of the efficiency gains you’ll see when switching from manual cycle counts to the Bezlio-assisted version will vary by organization, the complexity of the count, the use of barcoding and other factors. But as you can tell, the reduction in labor is typically quite substantial. A burdensome process that will often stretch over days (or in many cases, very long nights) can be accelerated and employees can get back to the work that generates sales and profits.
There’s no doubt that efficiency will be the watchword for 2021 across the manufacturing industry. The calendar will change over, but manufacturers will still be adapting on the fly to a shifting economic landscape as the pandemic worsens with winter and then, hopefully, eases with vaccine distribution.
Small investments in ERP mobile apps can make a big difference in agility and profitability, and you can still roll out solutions by January 1. How is that possible? Because it takes only about two hours to implement a bezl (that link outlines every step).
Interested in making inventory cycle counts your first foray into Epicor ERP mobile apps? Contact us for more information about this bezl today!