10 jun 2022

Amazing AI Tool to Facilitate Manual Counting

It might sound surprising, but in quite a lot of businesses, people still have to do a great deal of manual counting. Whether it’s a physical inventory count, an incoming shipment check, or dispatch management, manual counting is an integral part of daily operations. We aim to offer a solution that is more twenty-first century than trying to tediously tally your items by hand. In this blog post, we’d like to tell you about iScanner’s improved count mode: an amazing AI tool to facilitate manual counting.

How AI-Based Apps Do the Counting for You

Counting apps normally employ neural networks that are trained to identify objects in images. Of course, the type of neural network and the way developers train them matter a great deal. Some mobile app developers use pre-trained AI-models. They are free to use and relatively easy to adapt to your purposes. But the best results come when you train a neural network from scratch to accurately identify certain types of objects. 

iScanner’s Count Mode: an AI Tool to Facilitate Manual Counting

What Has Been Improved

iScanner was one of the first mobile apps to introduce an AI-based counting mode. To increase accuracy, we came up with a shortlist of objects that are most likely to be counted in various industries and were most requested by our users, like differently sized boxes, variously shaped pills and tablets, pipes, and lumber. We’ve also switched to a new-gen neural network and designed a remarkably accurate object detection algorithm. 

The process is very simple: 

  • All you have to do is take a picture of the pile of items you need to count and highlight one object to show the app what to look for. 
  • The algorithm will instantly identify the chosen type of object, tag each one with a number, and display a total for your records. 
  • You can easily verify if it’s done a good job just by looking at the picture. In the unlikely event the AI has missed something, you can add it manually simply by tapping on it. 

Increase Accuracy on Dispatch

When we order something online, we hardly give a thought to what stands behind a timely delivery to our door. Large product-based companies can handle thousands of shipments every day. Mistakes on dispatch can lead to logistical hell! Not to mention increased expenses, so most businesses choose to check outgoing shipments before dispatch rather than deal with the consequences of an incorrect delivery or failed timelines. On top of that, recent data shows that over 50 percent of businesses provide same-day delivery. This means the timeline for pick-up, quality control, packing, and dispatch is very fine. Quite a lot of retailers resort to using some kind of dispatch management software, but they can be extremely costly and are often unaffordable for small businesses. 

Count mode in iScanner can be of help in this situation. For one thing, it’s perfectly affordable, and for another, it’s a mobile solution, which is an ideal set up for logistics. Staff on dispatch can instantly count the number of boxes to be shipped at the outgoing gate of a warehouse, rather than having to count them manually, and then share evidence with a manager at the office within seconds. 

Facilitate Physical Inventory Count

Depending on the type of merchandise, product-based businesses can spend up to 30 percent of their manager’s time on stock count and stock-count-related admin work. At large warehouses, inventory counting can continue for two weeks. Of course, physical inventory count is vital for efficient stock management. But more often than not, it also means that you have to cease operations. Obviously, any business wants to reduce the time spent on inventory counting as much as possible. 

A reliable mobile solution is the perfect way to do just that. Not only does it facilitate the process, but it also makes it much easier and more comfortable for the staff. Imagine having to spend hours in a refrigerated room counting items on every shelf, row after row. Being able to just take a picture and be out of there sounds much nicer. 

Increase Efficiency in Medicine and Clinical Trials

You’d be amazed at how much manual counting certain types of healthcare workers have to do. Admittedly, medicine is a pioneering field in terms of manual count automation. The first cell counters appeared on the market nearly ninety years ago. 

Still, some medical professions—especially in clinical trials, like clinical research associates and pharmacy personnel, for instance—have to do a great deal of manual counting. You might be wondering what it is that they need to count. The answer is simple: every single pack, tablet, bottle, carton, syringe, and vial that arrives at the research site to be administered to patients. One hundred percent accountability is vital in clinical research because it allows traceability.  Study teams need to ensure that all experimental medications are being used appropriately. What’s more, they need to count everything twice. Once when it arrives at the clinical site and the second time when patients return it. If you have ever tried to manually count small objects like pills, you’d agree that it’s exceptionally tedious and time-consuming.  

An AI tool to facilitate manual counting such as count mode in iScanner can make the task much, much easier and save up to 80 percent of time. 

Inspect Incoming Shipments in a Breeze

When a large shipment arrives at your warehouse or shop, it’s always a bit stressful and can be rather chaotic. Especially if you don’t have enough space in the incoming area to put all the containers into neat rows. Delivery couriers usually try to get away as soon as possible and are not happy when you keep them waiting. But still, you’ve got to inspect your consignments properly, haven’t you? You need to ensure that the number of containers corresponds to that on the delivery note before signing off. Otherwise, you might have a hard time disputing with the freight company trying to prove it was missing from the shipment on arrival. 

Count mode can speed up the inspection process a great deal. Snap a picture of the pile of boxes and compare the total with the number in the delivery note. Piece of cake! 

Learn more about the ways iScanner helps small businesses thrive and makes processes in logistics more efficient.