Did you have fun with your annual inventory count?

Move from annual inventory counts to cycle counting

Did you have fun with your annual inventory count? Switch to RFID-based Cycle Counting instead!

By Tom Vieweger

January 8 2019

Taking down the Christmas decorations, preparing the next collection, and planning new customer events - these are all necessary tasks in retail in the new year.

But there is still one more thing that often feels like a returning headache: the annual (and manual) inventory count. As these counts are often still performed manually or with barcode-based scanning, this procedure is not only annoying, but it also distracts from the most important task: taking care of the customers.

“RFID makes the work involved in stocktaking and product handling quick and easy – freeing up time for staff to spend with customers.” – Karl-Johan Persson, CEO H&M

At the same time, the mandatory count just provides one-off stock information as a “snapshot,” resulting in inaccuracies for the continuing 12 months. You could categorize this “concerted action” as a “condemned procedure” because it is stressful, tiring, and often error-prone.

It's totally different with RFID – that is fun! More importantly, easy and regular Cycle Counting results in real-time inventory visibility.

From Manual Counts to Cycle Counts

Transitioning from a manual, annual inventory count to RFID-enabled Cycle Counts brings a multitude of benefits to businesses. RFID technology offers real-time visibility into inventory levels, allowing for more frequent and accurate Cycle Counts. This not only reduces the need for labor-intensive annual stocktakes but also minimizes the potential for human error, leading to more precise inventory data.

Furthermore, RFID enables businesses to efficiently manage their stock on a sub-location level, ensuring products are readily available on the sales floor and optimizing on-shelf availability. Ultimately, RFID-based Cycle Counts empower retailers to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers, improving overall operational efficiency and customer satisfaction while freeing up staff to focus on more valuable customer interactions.

Manage stock on sub-location level

RFID enables more than just inventory visibility at the store level. Once RFID labels are applied, a store can perform RFID stock counts whenever needed and track item movements to determine the exact location and status of a product. This makes it possible to distinguish which items are available on the sales floor and which items are hidden in the stock room. This gives a clear picture of the actual stock situation in a store and enables the store staff to always put the right items on display and optimize the on-shelf availability.

Unchain stores from physical shielding

However, retailers must know that RFID can read through walls during a cycle count. That means that some sort of shielding is required to make sure that the sub-location data is reliable. To solve this, Nedap’s iD Cloud RFID software platform includes the unique ‘virtual shielding’ functionality, which automatically derives the correct sub-location for items, based on an advanced allocation algorithm. This eliminates the need to shield the stock room from the sales floor with physical (e.g. aluminum foil) shielding. In large-scale RFID deployments, this saves significant costs.

Total inventory visibility for the shopper

RFID on item-level truly enables retailers to run their business on granular data, which makes it possible for them to take full control over their inventory levels and offer a seamless shopping experience to their customers – no matter if they start or end their customer journey online or offline. Thus, accurate stock information will ensure the availability of the right product in the right place, at the right time.

In conclusion, adopting RFID-based Cycle Counts not only streamlines inventory management but also enhances the overall retail experience for both customers and staff. Embracing this technology marks a significant step towards operational efficiency in the retail sector.

Do you want to learn more? Visit the iD Cloud page.

Tom Vieweger
RFID business expert
Tom Vieweger