Date of this Version
Baumert, C., Kaur, S., Melchior, E., Reeser, B., & Ingledue, S. 2023. Inventory Verification. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Spreetail is a full-service ecommerce accelerator that partners with manufacturers who want to grow their brands and ecommerce presence. Inherent in Spreetail’s business model is buying and storing its partners’ products. To provide value, Spreetail must maintain accurate inventory counts across each of its seven fulfillment centers nationwide.
Currently, Spreetail struggles to maintain accurate inventory records. There are often mismatches between inventory quantities recorded virtually and those physically present in each location. Incorrect data may result in shipping delays, increased out-of-stock rates, or over-stocking of inventory. To minimize inaccuracies, warehouse team members conduct “aisle verification,” verifying item counts on every row, aisle, and column within each warehouse every month. However, this process is extremely
time-consuming, costing the company up to 3,400 labor hours monthly.
The team sought to streamline Spreetail’s inventory audit process by leveraging the company’s existing tools. After conducting problem identification and solution ideation, the team worked with Spreetail to transition the company to an inventory audit process called “cycle counting.” Companies that have successfully implemented cycle counting have boasted 60-70% faster inventory audits.
The principle of cycle counting is auditing high-value items at an increased frequency and limiting the time spent auditing low-value inventory. To implement this process, the team first designed a new algorithm based on Spreetail’s inventory statistics. They then fully redesigned the application used in inventory auditing. The updated application provides each fulfillment center with a daily list of items to review and allows employees to collaboratively conduct inventory audits at more efficient intervals.