• Inventory/Warehouse
  • Cycle Counting

How to Quickly Automate Your Cycle Counting Workflows for ERP

Written by Elias Schoelmann
May 17, 2021


  • Manual cycle counts drain resources but offer only moderate accuracy.
  • Automating cycle counting workflows with mobile apps built for your ERP increases accuracy to 99.9%+ with less time and labor.
  • Manufacturers have seen significant results with automation, including a 20% increase in inventory accuracy, offline counting support, and more.

Tomorrow's Warehouse Today
Automating cycle counting reduces labor time by 70%.

In most warehouses, cycle counting is a key component of inventory management. Periodic inventory audits are supposed to lead to higher accuracy and ultimately, drive down overhead costs.

But what if they don’t?

Unfortunately, manual cycle counting is often fraught with hidden inefficiencies.

Why Manual Cycle Counting is So Inefficient

Completing manual cycle counts drains resources, wasting time, labor, and money. Each manual cycle count takes approximately 2 seconds per item, at only 80% accuracy.

At the end, you’re not much better off than you were before the cycle count started.

LEARN MORE: How to go 100% paperless for inventory control »


Automating Your Cycle Counting Workflows

Mobile inventory solutions automate your cycle counting workflows through a combination of barcodes, mobile apps, and hardware.

By automating your workflows, you reduce cycle count time to 0.6 seconds per item. You’ll also increase accuracy to more than 99.5%.

Cycle Counting Apps for ERP

RFgen’s inventory management mobile app suites include pre-constructed cycle counting workflows for major ERPs. Automate cycle counts by item, location, fixed assets, and more.

This includes cycle counting mobile apps for:

How Cycle Counting Automation Works

Take this example of the RFgen cycle counting mobile app for SAP. Via their mobile device, your workers are walked step-by-step through the cycle count workflow:

  1. The user scans, enters, or searches for the Inventory Document number. The document will default to the Plant for which the document was created.
  2. The user scans or enters the location. The location entered must exist on the document to validate its existence.
  3. The user scans, enters, or searches for a material. The material must exist on the Inventory Document and in the specified location.
  4. The material’s description is displayed.
  5. If the material is Batch-controlled, the Batch field will be visible. If the material is serial-controlled the Serial field will be visible.
  6. The user scans, enters, or searches for a batch number that is assigned to the material specified.
  7. The user enters the count quantity.
  8. If the material is serial-controlled, the Serial field is scanned or entered by the user.
  9. A counter to the right of the Serial field will count how many serial scans have taken place. Once the full quantity of serials has been entered, the user taps on the No More Serials button to continue, and the application will display the Submit button.
  10. The Submit button will post the count of this material to SAP and reset back to the Material field.

Exact workflow steps will vary by ERP. Tailored options are also available for specialized workflows.

Cycle Counting Best Practices: Real Results

Manufacturing companies across diverse industries have achieved significant results by automating cycle counting.

A global steel manufacturer using Oracle EBS reduced cycle counting labor time by 60%.

In another use case, Grupo Cementos, a global manufacturer of concrete and cement for the construction industry, increased cycle count accuracy by 20% for SAP S/4HANA.

As a supplier of in-hospital consignment inventory, Cryolife is contractually required to complete cycle counts every 6 months. The company was completing these manually, which was inefficient and inaccurate. By automating cycle counting with RFgen’s mobile solutions, Cryolife’s employees can now complete cycle counts faster, with less effort, and with greater accuracy.

During cycle counts, they can now also:

  • Conduct them in English, French, or German.
  • Be warned if a product is near expiration and take appropriate action.
  • Use iPhones to take pictures of inventory to submit with cycle count.

Mobile inventory solutions can even automate cycle counting in disconnected environments, like a walk-in freezer.

Optimizing Your Cycle Counting for Good

Cycle counts are often necessary for effective inventory management. But completing counts manually isn’t an effective use of resources.

Instead, mobile inventory solutions like RFgen automate workflows to boost accuracy and time savings. Your workers simply follow step-by-step directions on their mobile devices to update your ERP.

With automation, you can be confident that inventory levels stay accurate for better oversight, forecasting, and planning.