How to Make Cylinder Physical Inventory Less Evil

Is there anything worse than a physical inventory? Yes, a cylinder physical inventory. Industrial Source, a gas and welding supplier headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, is already proving that this necessary evil of cylinder physical inventory can be a whole lot less evil with TIMS Advanced Cylinder Management (ACM) Cylinder Count.

According to Chass Thuresson, IT Coordinator at Industrial Source, "The time savings, the accuracy, and the ease of the process are the three highlights of using the new Cylinder Count."

Manual cylinder counting is both slow and inaccurate

The problem with counting cylinders on your dock is that it is inefficient and inaccurate. Let’s face it, by the time your warehouse guy/gal nears the end of the count, they’re just ball-parking it: Oxygen R’s, let’s see… we’ll call it 23. And if they really are diligent, every cylinder looks basically the same, so you know there are errors: Did I already count that one?

And then there is the issue of actually updating the counts in your system, if you record the information in your system at all.

Industrial Source was an early adopter of TIMS Advanced Cylinder Management (ACM) Cylinder Count. Of the old method of counting cylinders, Thuresson said, “It was very time-intensive and had very low accuracy.”

What exactly was the old method? “We inventoried our cylinders company-wide once per year. We used to have people writing on paper and we would tally, and you had to find the right page with the part number that you were counting,” said Thuresson.

The new Cylinder Count app is fast and accurate

CylinderScanRuggedDevice_smallThe Cylinder Count app uses the same handheld scanners as TIMS Advanced Cylinder Management (ACM) to make this process fast and accurate. You can use as many handhelds as you want, scan everything that you find, and then push your results back to TIMS Software. You can even count quantity-controlled cylinders, and cylinders that are not ACM tracked or quantity-controlled.

A real-world example of the speed? Thuresson said, “We counted one pile of 66 cylinders in about 3 minutes.”

And the accuracy? Well, each cylinder has a specific barcode, a unique identifier, so it isn’t just a number. You know exactly where cylinder 8675309 is in your cylinder fleet.

Make the necessary evil of cylinder counting a whole lot less evil.

Update cylinder info in TIMS with a single-click

Once the results are in, you can instantly:

  • Update the location of cylinders that are showing the incorrect location
  • Change the status of cylinders that show in the wrong status (make an Empty cylinder Full, for example)
  • Export an inventory cost report into Excel

Cycle count cylinders more easily than hardgoods

Companies will no longer be limited to the occasional cylinder inventory. With this technology, Thuresson says, “We intend to do the equivalent of cycle counts, to reset our inventory balances. The thought is we should do the same with steel and gases as our hardgoods.”

Accurate data leads to cost savings

Things have a way of trickling down. The Cylinder Count app improves ACM cylinder data. This in turn allows you to make more precise and timely cylinder utilization decisions. Ultimately, leading to cost savings.

Or you could just take Thuresson’s word for it:

“We were very happy with the end result of the count. This was our first attempt, and I estimate in the future it will take maybe 1/10th the time as it used to."

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Requirements: TIMS 7 or 8, ACM, and handheld devices needed to use this application.