Skip to content

Every warehouse has those small items that you just can’t quite count easily.

Whether it’s tiny electronics parts, small items sold in a package together (like individual nuts and bolts for hardware), or simply something requiring bulk storage, small “uncountable” items can be a hassle in any warehouse.

It simply isn’t productive or feasible to think that these items can be counted individually, but total inventory accuracy requires these items to be checked as part of your normal counting procedure. Luckily, there’s a few methods of counting smaller inventory items that can be done much more quickly and painlessly than counting every single item by hand.


The easiest and most common method is to use weight. Container weight is an easy way to get an accurate idea of how many of a given item remains in a container, such as a pallet or a warehouse storage bin. Start by getting the weight of one item and one empty container, and then one full container. This next step involves a little math: take the weight of the container, subtract the weight of the empty container, and divide the remaining weight by the weight of one individual item. This should give you a rough idea of how many items are in the container, which you can easily cross-check with the on-hand number your WMS lists for the item. This works great for a number of items including those stored on pallet racks, as pallet scales can be used for this counting method as well.


Volume receiving is another method of counting small items that can come in handy for these purposes. Instead of labeling each individual item before it gets stored, you can do a receipt count on each bulk receipt as the initial shipments come in and decrement from that count as orders for that item go out. This might require double-checking at times to ensure the on-hand inventory matches the number of orders that have gone out, but the speed with which you can get an idea of the on-hand inventory at any given moment will be worth it.


Cycle counting can also come into play. As you’re likely aware, cycle counting is a method of inventory counting that doesn’t require you to count the entire warehouse all at once, instead focusing on a set area at any given time. During regular sales operations, set two bins of the same item and only pick from one to fulfill orders. By the time your WMS reports you’re down to a small number, you should be able to just count the bin that’s been used for active inventory and not the delta.


In the case of more expensive products or products with frequent counting errors, you may need to look into more automated solutions to help keep everything accurate. Otherwise, the next time you’re faced with the prospect of counting a large number of tiny items, check out these methods.

Comments are closed.

Back to top