Count Tags

Count tags are used to spearhead inventory counts. If you are involved with inventory counting, then you need to understand how count tags work. In this article, we will cover count tag basics—from creating, to entering, to posting count tags.

Overview

Count tags are used to spearhead inventory counts. If you are involved with inventory counting, then you need to understand how count tags work. In this article, we will cover count tag basics—from creating, to entering, to posting count tags.

Note: The difference between "Count Tags" and "Cycle Count Tags" relates to the manner in which each is created. Count tags, which are the subject of this section, are created manually. Cycle count tags, on the other hand, are created as the result of a cycle count request. Click to learn more about Cycle Counting.

Creating Count Tags

For this exercise, let's imagine we want to count item TBOX1, which is located in site WH1. To begin, we need to create a count tag for this item/site combination, as shown in the screenshot below.

To open the "Create Count Tag by Item/Site" window, follow these steps:

  • Go to the "Inventory" module from the top menu
  • Select the "Physical Inventory" submenu
  • Select the "Create Count Tags" submenu
  • Choose the "by Item" option from the submenu
  • The "Create Count Tag by Item/Site" window will open
  • Click the magnifying glass icon in the "Item Number" box and choose the "List" option
  • Choose "TBOX1" from the "Active Items" list
  • The "TBOX1" item will open in the "Create Count Tag" window: 

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Create Count Tag by Item 

  • Item Number: Enter the item number of the item we want to create a count tag for—namely, item TBOX1.
  • Site: Selected WH1.
  • Mark Created Count Tag as Priority: Selected. Count tags marked as having priority status are listed first in any prioritized lists. For example, priority count tags will appear at the top of the "Count Tag Edit List;" whereas, non-priority count tags will appear at the bottom of the list.
  • Freeze Inventory: Selected. We are specifying that inventory be frozen while we are counting item TBOX1. Freezing inventory during the inventory counting process helps preserve the integrity of "Quantity on Hand" (QOH) values. For more information on freezing and thawing, see the section devoted to freezing and thawing.
  • Comments: This is a scrolling text field with word-wrapping for entering comments related to the count tag. Use the "Comments" field to enter any instructions or other comments that need to reach and be read by inventory counters.

Once our parameters have been entered, we are ready to select the CREATE TAG button. Doing so will create our count tag. To verify the count tag has been created, we open the "Count Tag Edit List" window; this can be done by following these steps:

  • Locate the "Inventory" module from the top menu
  • Select the "Physical Inventory" submenu
  • Select the "Reports" submenu
  • Choose the "Count Tag Edit List" option
  • The "Count Tag Edit List" window will open, click the QUERY button to see the count tag we just created

Sure enough, the count tag does appear on the list, as shown in the following screenshot:

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Count Tag Edit List Showing Count Tag

Note: Count tag numbers are generated automatically by the system in a sequential pattern, using specifications entered on the site master. Within the site master you can specify both the prefix to be used by count tags created in the given site (e.g., WH1) and also the starting point for the numeric sequence.

Entering Count Quantities

Okay, let's assume we have now physically gone into site WH1 and counted item TBOX1. Our count discovered 120 units on hand. We are now ready to open the count tag and enter our inventory count total. To open the count tag from the count tag edit list, either double-click on it or highlight it and then select the EDIT button. The count tag entry screen opens up, as shown in the following screenshot:

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Enter Count Tag Details

In the "Count Qty." field we enter 120. This is the "Quantity on Hand" (QOH) we discovered during our inventory count. Interestingly, the system is showing a different QOH for item TBOX1 in site WH1. If you look closely at our example, you can see the system believes there are 100 units on hand. Inventory discrepancies such as this can arise from a number of different causes (e.g., undocumented scrap transactions, pilferage, etc.). The important point is that by entering and posting a count tag with current physical inventory information, you can update the system and revise QOH totals.

Note: Count tags may also be entered by selecting the "Enter Count Tag" option from the "Physical Inventory" submenu.

Continuing on, we can go ahead and enter a comment to associate with the count tag. This comment, which is optional, may contain any information you want to associate with the count tag. We are now ready to select the SAVE button. As the following screenshot shows, the count total is now registered on the "Count Tag Edit List."

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Count Tag Details in Edit List

Inventory Variances Identified

Looking at the example, you see that the QOH discrepancy has created an inventory asset variance. The "Count Tag Edit List" is a good starting point for identifying and tracking these discrepancies. Note that the list gives you the ability to highlight records when variances exceed either a monetary value or percentage you define. When a record is highlighted, it will be easy to locate because it will display in red type. Inventory asset variances—if they exist—will also post to the general ledger when count tags are posted, providing yet another avenue for investigating discrepancies.

Information: If you want to change the count quantity for a count tag prior to posting it, simply open the count tag for editing.

Before we post this count tag, let's take a quick look at the "Quantities on Hand" display to verify the QOH total we're seeing on the "Count Tag Edit List."

To open the "Quantities on Hand" screen for the TBOX1 item, follow these steps:

  • Locate the "Inventory" module from the top menu
  • Go to the "Reports" submenu
  • Select the "Quantities on Hand" option to open the "Quantities on Hand" window
  • Click the blank drop-down list and select the "Item" option
  • In the search box enter in "TBOX1"
  • Click QUERY at the top of the window
  • As expected, the display shows us a QOH of 100 for item TBOX1 in site WH1:

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QOH Before Count Tag Posted

Posting Count Tags

We are now ready to post our count tag and update the system record. Go back to the "Count Tag Edit List" window and, after highlighting our count tag, select the POST button. The following window appears:

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Post Count Tag

Note: Count tags can be posted in several ways. You can post them individually from the "Count Tag Edit List," or you can post them in batches, using the "Post Count Tags" utility found on the physical inventory submenu.

Looking at the "Post Count Tag" window, we see our count total and the comment we associated with the count tag. If we need to include an additional comment—for whatever reason—we may do so at this point. Notice that the option "Thaw Inventory" is selected. If you recall, we elected to freeze inventory at the time we created the count tag. Now that our count is complete, we want to be sure to thaw inventory so QOH for the item will be updated appropriately. For more information on freezing and thawing, see the section dedicated to that topic.

The final step is to post the count tag. To do so, we select the POST COUNT button. Posting a count tag removes the tag from the "Count Tag Edit List," and, as you can see from the following screenshot, "Quantity on Hand" for the item is also updated to reflect the count tag total:

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QOH After Count Tag Posted

Entering Count Slips

We have seen how to post an inventory count total using a count tag. Now let's repeat the same process, but add count slips into the mix. If count tags are the parents, then count slips are the children. Count slips are used to contribute inventory count totals to a count tag.

To illustrate counting with count slips, we will create another count tag, using the same item/warehouse combination used in the previous example. The following screenshot of the "Count Tag Edit List" shows both the newly-created count tag and also the "Enter Count Slip" option selected from the right-click menu:

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Count Slip Option on Count Tag Edit List

As this next scenario will show, having the ability to contribute count subtotals from various sources can be extremely useful. Selecting the "Enter Count Slip" option brings up the count slip interface, as shown in the following screenshot:

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Enter Count Slip Details

Note: Unlike count tags, count slips do not have to be created before they can be entered.

As you can see in the example, the "Enter Count Slip" window presents us with a range of information and options. For the purpose of this exercise, we will enter the following:

Count Tag #: Displays the count tag number (WH1200008) of the parent count tag.

Item Number: Displays the item number (TBOX1) of the item being counted.

Site: Displays the site (WH1) where the count is being conducted.

Counted Qty. TD: No count quantities have been entered to-date for this count tag; but if any had been entered previously, the count quantity total would display here.

Slip #: Entered 100 to identify this first count slip. As we will see below, restrictions may apply to count slip numbers.

Slip Qty: Entered 250. This is the count total discovered in "Location 01010102." Our next step will be to enter a slip quantity for the other location in site WH1.

Location: Specified "Location 01010102." Since the item is a "Multiple Location Control" (MLC) item, we will be entering a separate count slip for each of the two locations where the item is stored.

Lot/Serial #: Nothing displayed. If item TBOX1 were a lot/serial item, lot/serial numbers associated with the specified location would display here.

Lot Expiration: Cannot be entered at this time.

Warranty Expiration: Cannot be entered at this time.

Comments:  Entered comment related to the count slip. In this case, the person who performed the count on "Location 01010102" (i.e., JSmith), entered a comment and also identified themselves.

Once all the required information has been entered, we select the SAVE button to add the count slip total to the parent count tag. Count slips may also be entered by selecting the "Enter Count Slip" option from the physical inventory submenu.

So far, we have only counted one location: 01010102. Item TBOX1 is also stored in "Location 01010103." Let's imagine that counting inventory at the second location is the responsibility of another employee. As before, the second employee enters the required information on the count slip. However, when s/he attempts to save the count slip quantity to the count tag total, s/he encounters the following error message:

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Duplicate Count Slip Error Message

As the message indicates, the system has been configured to disallow duplicate count slip numbers. To correct the problem, the employee must return to the "Enter Count Slip" window and enter a unique count slip number.

Note: By default, xTuple ERP allows only one unposted count tag per item site. If an unposted count tag already exists for an item site, then an additional duplicate count tag may not be added.

Configuration Options

xTuple ERP provides a range of possible configuration options for the inventory module, many of which have an impact on count tag processing. The following screenshot shows the configure inventory options found within the system module. To open the configuration options for the inventory module follow these steps:

  • Locate "Inventory" from the top menu
  • Select the "Setup" submenu
  • In the left side menu, select "Inventory" under the "Configure" option:

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Inventory Module Configuration Options

For the purpose of this tutorial, we are only going to concern ourselves with the configuration options related to count tags and count slips. The following configurations are available:

When Count Tag Qty. exceeds Slip Qty

  • Post Difference to Default Location, if any: Select to post excess count tag quantity to an item's default location if the item's count tag quantity exceeds its count slip quantity. Applies only if a default location has been defined for the item. Default locations are defined for an item in the item site section of the inventory module.
  • Do Not Post Count Tag: Select to prevent count tag quantity from being posted if it exceeds the item's count slip quantity.

Count Slip # Auditing

  • No Slip # Checks, allow Duplications: Allows any count slip numbers to be used. Duplicate count slip numbers will also be allowed.
  • Disallow Unposted Slip # Duplications within a Site: Prevents duplicate "Unposted" count slip numbers from existing within a given site. However, duplicate "Unposted" count slip numbers may exist within multiple sites.
  • Disallow All Unposted Slip # Duplications: Prevents duplicate "Unposted" count slip numbers from existing within multiple sites.
  • Disallow All Slip # Duplications within a Site: Prevents duplicate count clip numbers from existing within a given sites. However, duplicate count slip numbers may exist within multiple sites.
  • Disallow All Slip # Duplications: Prevents duplicate count slip numbers from existing within multiple sites.

Getting back to our scenario, the employee corrects the count slip number problem and successfully saves the count slip quantity to the count tag total. In the next screenshot, you can see the "Count Tag Edit List" with a count slip displayed:

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Count Tag Edit List with an Unposted Count Slip

Info: To display any count slips associated with a count tag record, select the "Show Count Slips" option on the "Count Tag Edit List." If the count slips do not appear at first, be sure to select the QUERY button.

Count Slip Edit List

Just as count tags have their own edit list, count slips also have an edit list. To access the "Count Slip Edit List," highlight a count tag record and open the right-click menu. The following screenshot shows the "Count Slip Edit List:"

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Count Slip Edit List

From the "Count Slip Edit List," you can edit, post, and delete count slips—or create new ones. As you can see, the list provides detailed information about each count slip record. For this exercise, we will be posting our count slips from this screen.

To verify that the count slips are showing as posted on the "Count Tag Edit List," we return to that window. Sure enough, the count slip indicates that it has been posted:

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Count Tag Edit List with Posted Count Slips

To review, then, we have used count slips to collect inventory quantities from a variety of different locations using different employees. As we saw, count slips enable you to divide up the task of inventory counting. You can use multiple employees and multiple count slips, yet have all count quantities applied to a single count tag.

Now that the count slip quantity has been collected, we are ready to post our count tag, as shown in the following screenshot:

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Post Count Tag with Count Slip Comments

The cumulative count quantity is displaying as expected. In the "Current Comments" field we see the count slip comments posted by each of our employees. Again, we want to be sure to thaw the inventory at posting. Finally, we simply select the POST COUNT button, and the system is now updated with the most current QOH information for item TBOX1 in site WH1.

Creating Multiple Count Tags

Throughout this tutorial, we have focused on the creation of single count tags. However, xTuple ER also enables you to create count tags in larger batches. To see how this is done, we open the "Create Count Tags by Class Code" utility, which can be done by following these steps:

  • Go to the "Inventory" module from the top menu
  • Select the "Physical Inventory" submenu
  • Select the "Create Count Tags" submenu
  • Choose the "by Class Code" option
  • The "Create Count Tags by Class Code" window will open, as shown below

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Create Count Tags by Class Code

For this scenario, we will be creating count tags for all items belonging to class code TOYS-COMP located in site WH1. A comment is entered, and then we then select the CREATE TAGS option. To see the resulting count tags, we once again open the "Count Tag Edit List:"

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Count Tags Created by Class Code

As you can see in the example, multiple count tags have been created—one for each of the items fitting our criteria. These count tags can now be processed using the basic techniques described throughout this example.

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