Inventory Accuracy: Tips on How to Measure and Improve it

Inventory accuracy is an important supply chain metric and a part of any successful ecommerce business. It is essential for businesses to maintain an accurate inventory in order to keep track of their stock and to ensure that they are ordering the right amount of goods. This is essential for managing stock levels, preventing stock shortages, and avoiding overstocking, all of which can have a significant impact on the profitability of your company.

What is Inventory Accuracy?

Inventory accuracy is the ability of a business to accurately track its inventory levels. This includes accurate counts of all items in the warehouse, accurate tracking of incoming and outgoing stock, and accurate tracking of all purchases and sales. Accurate inventory management is also important for determining the value of inventory and for setting appropriate safety stock levels.

Another important part of maintaining inventory accuracy is to ensure that accurate records are kept of all purchases and sales. This includes keeping track of the quantity of items purchased, the cost of the items, and the date of purchase. This information can then be used to compare actual inventory levels with the expected levels. This can alert the company when there are discrepancies between the expected and actual inventory levels, allowing them to take corrective action.

In addition to tracking purchases and sales, it is also important to track inventory movements. This includes keeping track of how often items are moved from one location to another, as well as tracking who moved the items and why. This helps to ensure that inventory is not being misused or lost, and can help to identify any potential theft or mismanagement.

Inventory accuracy also relies on accurate data entry and data analysis. This includes making sure that all data is entered accurately and that any errors are corrected quickly. It is also important to ensure that data is regularly updated to ensure accuracy. This includes making sure that all purchases and sales are entered in the system at the time of purchase or sale, and that any changes in inventory levels are accurately recorded.

It is important for businesses to have a system for regularly auditing their inventory accuracy. This can involve manually checking the inventory levels against the expected levels, or using automated software to check for any discrepancies. Regular audits can help to identify any potential problems and can help to ensure that inventory accuracy is maintained.

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The Inventory Accuracy Metric Formula

To calculate inventory accuracy, you will need to know the quantity of stock that exists and the quantity of stock that is recorded. You can then use the following formula to determine the accuracy percentage: 

Stock count / Recorded stock count * 100

Cycle Counting in Inventory Accuracy

Cycle counting is a method of inventory control that allows you to count small sections of your inventory on a regular basis, rather than conducting one large annual count. 

However, where some go wrong is they use it as a method to track and repair mistakes merely. Instead, it should be used to confirm that errors don’t occur again by following the chain of events back to its origin and creating a new standard operating procedure to guarantee the error isn’t repeated. This can improve your accuracy in a number of ways. 

It can help you stay on top of your inventory levels on a more regular basis, so you are less likely to run into stock-outs. 

It will help you identify any issues with your counting procedures before they cause major problems. 

You’ll have greater control over your inventory levels since any mistakes will be detected and fixed considerably faster. 

A warehouse management system (WMS) can make a huge difference in your cycle counting process and drive proactive behavior instead of reactive behavior. The system can generate daily counts by using real-time data to immediately notify someone when a mispick occurs. This notification can show up in several ways (email, mobile device alert, read report) so that a task can be created to have someone go and cycle count where the error occurred.

Tips for Maintaining Inventory Accuracy

To ensure accurate inventory, businesses need to track and count their stock regularly, as well as accurately record and track any stock movements. There are several key strategies and best practices that businesses can follow to improve inventory accuracy:

  1. Implement an effective inventory management system: A good inventory management system should be able to accurately track and record stock movements, as well as provide real-time visibility into inventory levels. This can include using barcode scanners and electronic point-of-sale (POS) systems, as well as implementing periodic physical inventory counts.
  2. Conduct regular physical inventory counts: Physical inventory counts involve physically counting and verifying the quantity of each item in stock. These counts should be conducted regularly, such as once a month or quarter, to ensure that inventory records are accurate and up-to-date.
  3. Monitor and track stock movements: It’s important to accurately record and track all stock movements, including incoming deliveries, sales, and returns. This can help identify any discrepancies in inventory levels and allow businesses to take corrective action quickly.
  4. Review and update inventory records regularly: Inventory records should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that they reflect the current state of the business’s inventory. This can help identify any errors or discrepancies in the records and allow businesses to take corrective action.
  5. Train employees on inventory management best practices: Proper training can help ensure that employees understand the importance of inventory accuracy and how to maintain it. This can include training on how to use inventory management software and systems, as well as how to accurately count and track inventory.
  6. Implement safety stock levels: Safety stock is an extra level of inventory that is maintained to ensure that the business has sufficient stock on hand to meet customer demand, even in the event of unexpected events such as supplier delays or equipment failures. Establishing safety stock levels can help prevent stock-outs and ensure that the business is able to meet customer demand.
  7. Utilize data and analytics: Data and analytics can be used to track inventory levels and identify patterns and trends. This can help businesses make more informed decisions about their inventory and improve accuracy.

Bottom Line

Improving inventory accuracy is an important part of any successful business, and businesses should take the necessary steps to ensure that they maintain accurate inventory levels. This includes having a comprehensive inventory management system in place, keeping accurate records of all purchases and sales, tracking inventory movements, and regularly auditing inventory accuracy. By taking these steps, businesses can ensure that their inventory is always accurate and up-to-date, allowing them to maximize their profits and minimize their losses.

Help with inventory management is one of the many benefits to working with a 3PL. If you are seeking logistics support we’d love to hear from you. You can read DCL’s list of services to learn more, or check out the many companies we work with to ensure great logistics support. Send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow.