Inventory Counting How it Works



How it Works

The Components 

ibAcus is composed of three components that work together to make inventory counting easy to setup and perform:

  • CServer
  • iCounter
  • iReporter




CServer is the server component that resides on a laptop or a desktop computer. It has many functions, but its main purpose is to store the current and historical inventory counts. CServer sends and receives data from the iCounter components. CServer has a flexible distribution license and is provided without cost, so you can copy and install it on multiple laptop/desktops for performing your counts.


iCounter is the component that used to enter the inventory data while counting. It comes in two flavors, iCounterXP and iCounterCE.  The XP version runs on any WindowsXP computer while the CE version runs on a variety of hand held computers.  Counting clerks use iCounter to do the counting and transmit the count data to CServer as desired. Many iCounters can be used for counting simultaneously,  sending and receiving count data on demand, as shown in the diagram. For hand helds with wireless network capability the data can be sent and received without any physical connection to CServer. This eliminates cradling and continual walking back and forth to the main CServer computer. iCounter is platform independent in principle, currently supporting WIndowsXP, PocketPC, and WindowsCE, but is easily expandable to other OS dependent on demand.


iReporter is the application that allows you to create a variety of reports, including comparison reports, based on your inventory counts. Like CServer, iReporter is provided without cost and can be distributed freely, meaning you can give it to anyone that may be required to view your count results, eliminating the need for paper reports.  For inventory service providers, this allows you to provide your customers with a small and simple application with which they can generate their own reports.




Feature Overview


The layout of the site is defined in CServer before doing any counting on a site. This site profile defines the hierarchical layout of the site with locations, sections, and shelves, as well as a possible list of departments. The iCounter clients can then connect to CServer, download the profile, and begin or continue counting. A different profile is defined for each site to be counted and the profile can be changed at any time. iCounter clients can also add new sections and shelves as they are counting since often the number of sections and shelves may not all be known. There is no need to specify a complicated hierarchy.


All users of ibAcus are configured within CServer, allowing complete knowledge of exactly who counted what, and when they counted it. Each counting clerk must log in to the iCounter client before counting and everything they count is recorded with a timestamp within CServer. The counts of each user are merged into a master count consisting of all counted items, but the individual users' counts are never removed. This is useful for tracking performance and accuracy, and determining who may need more training.

Historical Data

CServer stores all inventory count data in it's repository and never removes it. The counts can be easily retrieved and reported on at any time. This provides a convenient way to check up on previous counts without having to worry about where they may be located. CServer takes care of these details.

Retail, Sku, and Barcode

ibAcus allows for retail, barcode, and sku counting. For customers that still prefer a retail dollar figure, rather than quantity figure, retail counts are easily performed with the iCounter clients. For those using barcodes, iCounter is used to store the quantity of each barcode, utilizing the onboard hand held barcode reader. A unique additional feature of ibAcus is the ability to count inventory based on sku numbers or other such codes. All types of counting can be done at the same time, and are combined seamlessly into one count.

Import Scripting

Many customers have some type of file or database containing all possible items from their inventory.  This resource can be imported directly into CServer using a custom import script.  These scripts can be created by iCountability or anyone familiar with VBScripting.  This imported data, referred to as a codeset, can then be used when generating reports from the count data.  And the codesets can be updated with new imported data at any time.

Aggregate Cost Reporting

Some products are made up of multiple aggregate cost components, such as price and deposit.  If this information is included in the imported codeset CServer can link the different cost items to corresponding departments, and thereby allow for clear reporting of these aggregate costs.

Network Connection

The iCounter clients connect directly to CServer via any TCP network connection. No cradling is required if the hand held devices are equipped with wireless technology. Users can synchonize their count data to CServer at any time. As mentioned previously, each user's count data is stored separately, and merged on an ongoing basis. The connection is not maintained permanantly, it will connect only during syncronization, which can occur as frequently or infrequently as desired, then it will immediately disconnect.


Using the iReporter component you can quickly and easily create a variety of reports based on your count data.  Since iReporter is a stand-alone and freely distributable application, you can provide it to your customers so that they can generate and print their own reports from count data provided by you.  Also, iReporter can be started on its own or directly from CServer, giving you the ability to quickly check on even partially completed counts.  Customized reports can also be requested from iCountability to suit any customer- specific reporting needs.

Count Modes

ibAcus provides several count modes for counting inventory. Everything from cost, quantity, department, barcode, location, section, and shelf can be included in your counts depending on the count mode that best suits your client's needs.  This makes counting quicker and less prone to error since you are only required to enter the items that matter to you.

One Button Predictive Scanning

For barcode counting ibAcus provides the ability to scan items without the need to enter the quantity. This is very useful for counts that involve small quantities of each item.  Each scan of the item automatically puts it on the stack.  So, to count 2 of an item you need only push the scan button twice.  A quantity of one will automatically be entered for each scan, and consolidated when the count is synchronized with CServer.  And should you need or want to enter a specific quantity for an item you can still do so, as usual, after scanning the item.  The new quantity will overwrite the predictive quantity.

Auto Updates

One very unique feature is the ability of the iCounter hand held clients to update themselves automatically when connecting to CServer.  CServer informs the clients that a new version is available and the client will automatically download and install this new update.  This is accomplished seamlessly for the user with no cradling necessary.


For more details you can download our documentation and trial versions of ibAcus from our Downloads page.

Feel free to Contact Us should you have any questions.


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