Reconciliations, the word brings groans from warehouse and accounting staff. You can hear them cry out – “No Mas, No Mas”. Monthly/Quarterly and Annually, morale dips and senior management braces for the latest CPE loss statistics. CPE reconciliation doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Fortunately, there is a way to involve fewer people, perform an inventory reconciliation faster, and make senior management smile at the latest stats. The secret is a good Subscriber equipment Tracking System (SETS) integrated with handheld technology.
Old Versus New – The Process
Back in the dark ages manual inventory reconciliations involved groups of people running around the warehouse trying locate and track down CPE. The result was usually a band-aid report showing only the number of boxes missing. Type of CPE and serial number were rarely detailed. Inventory reconciliations with SETS enables warehouses to perform a full physical inventory by scanning the serial numbers for a particular location. Locations normally include:
- A warehouse
- A contractors inventory
- Installers inventory
- Front office
- Vendor repair center
Reconciliations with SETS are performed with a handheld device, then uploaded to a PC and finally compared against the information in the billing system. The end result is a discrepancy report detailing the variance between the scanned data and data contained within the billing system.
Old Versus New – The Science
The use of technology (software and handheld devices) has enhanced the tracking of CPE and automated reports. More importantly the technology has impacted the bottom line of organizations. Bottom line impacts by:
- Increasing the accuracy of reconciliations. Reconciliation by serial number is significantly more accurate than a reconciliation by total. Counting the number of boxes does not tell you the serial numbers inside them. Handheld scanners virtually eliminate manual keying errors.
- Reducing labor costs. Few people are required to perform the reconciliation, Reconciliations are done in just a fraction of the time.
- Lowering theft. Theft is lowered as inventory is more tightly and accurately controlled. Location inventory tightens down the theft opportunity.
- Lowering accidental losses. CPE is far less likely to fall through the cracks and go missing.
Serializing your inventory allows for the tracking of CPE with far greater detail and flexibility. With SETS a full or cycle count reconciliation can be done. A full reconciliation tells you what is missing by gathering all records for the specified location from the billing system and then comparing it to the scanned data. From this comparison a discrepancy report shows the matched serial numbers and also the unmatched serial numbers. In addition, reports will show any CPE that were not scanned but the billing system says they should be there and CPE scanned but not in the billing system.
In contrast, a cycle count reconciliation will only confirm (verify) what is at a particular location. Cycle count reconciliations are great for spot checking inventory count.
No longer do reconciliations need to be a nightmare. How do you do your reconciliations, are they accurate and fast?