12 Inventory Management Tips for Handling Your Warehouse Stock
Inventory management is one of the most difficult things for small companies in the process of scaling up, but we’re here to help. Click here to get 12 tips for managing your business’ warehouse stock.
Do you feel like you can’t stay on top of what is going on in your warehouse? Managing a warehouse can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to improve your warehouse inventory management.
Keeping a good inventory workflow is essential if you want to avoid hiccups and out-of-stock problems. A smooth inventory workflow will help you keep your buyers satisfied so that they become repeat customers. Read on to learn how you can improve your warehouse with inventory management.
1. Use Labels
Always use labels on all of your products. This will help ensure that you can easily take stock of each product’s quantity and that each product gets stocked on the right shelf. Even better, use barcodes that can be scanned for electronic processing.
2. Identify Workers
Make sure all workers wear a tag or a t-shirt that identifies them. Otherwise, you will never be able to know who is who when you go down to inspect your warehouse.
This will help you stop random people, such as delivery men, from wandering around your warehouse as well.
3. Inspect Shipments
A common mistake is to forget to inspect shipments properly. Losing track of products happens often when receiving shipments.
When you receive a shipment, make sure that you are getting the right amount. Ensure you are getting the right product, that the shipment is not damaged and is of good quality. Finally, confirm that there is an efficient process for storing and stocking the shipment.
Not all of your stock will be created equal. In order to be more organized, stock your products based on their priority. Products that get more sales should be closer and easier to access than products that aren’t that important to your bottom line.
Similarly, seasonal products shouldn’t be at the forefront year round.
5. Use Vertical Space
If you have limited horizontal space in your warehouse, maximize your vertical space. Use shelves to stock products, while using your priority system to stock more important products lower down.
Have easy-to-use ladders that allow workers to stock, and later access, products.
Always try to forecast your future sales. Of course, this is difficult and you will not always be entirely accurate. However, if you factor in things such as seasonal demand and fashion trends, it will at least be better than just guessing it.
There are also programs that will analyze past sales for you and use that data to predict future sales, but take them with a grain of salt. See more here on how to implement effective forecasting.
7. Have a Minimum Quantity
Always have a minimum quantity for each product stock that you store. This will help ensure that you don’t lose sales and revenue due to products being out of stock.
Again, you’ll need to make some estimates based on past demand and predicted future demand. Adjust your minimum quantity as necessary.
8. Have a Maximum Quantity
Similarly, you should have a maximum stock quantity. This will help ensure that you do not overstock a product, which can lead to significant losses.
It’s especially important to have a maximum quantity if your product has an expiration date. Both your minimum and maximum quantity can change based on seasonal demand.
9. Keep Products Fresh
In order to keep products fresh, have a system where products get shipped out based on the order you received them (first in, first out). This way, your products won’t stay on the shelves for too long.
Consider using a Warehouse Management System to process your shipments and orders. This is the best and easiest way to keep your inventory flow smooth.
The aspect of streamlining warehouse operations aims at eliminating warehouse flow, touches and repetitive travel excesses. Ensuring that operational flow in warehouse facilities remains logical is critical. That is possible when the location of all areas is according to the relevance of their dependence on the environment surrounding them.
For instance, if location A and location B have high volumes of traffic flow between them, it is wise to establish them directly next to each other.
On the other hand, dedicated warehouse operators will also identify processes involving multiple touches that are unnecessary in picking, packing and replenishment operations.
Also, repetitive travel tasks such as the constant moving of pallets, cases or products are part of the concern of warehouse operators. Once warehouse service vendors identify the excesses in multiple touches and frequent moving they work towards eliminating them. This can be achieved by streamlining operations to increase efficiency.
Implementing technology is critical for warehouse operations in such repetitive actions as pick and place, employee interactions with Warehouse Management System (WMS) interface and travel.
The initial investment in the automation of various warehouse procedures may appear an expensive venture, but over time the ROI will prove this a worthwhile idea.
Some of the automation options that warehouse operators may consider as long as the technological investment makes financial sense include database management systems and robotic automation where applicable.
Competent warehouse service providers focus on lean and improved processes by adopting best practices and setting standards. As such, they work together with efficient workers to come up with a list of best practices that will cut down the learning curve for new employees.
Additionally, they set standards of operation to encourage accountability among their employees, and the result is optimization of the workforce.
Apart from offering storage and handling services warehouse service, providers aim to streamline their operations to promote seamless performance and customer satisfaction.
Therefore, as you seek to identify the right inventory management services, you need to establish the impact of their activities on service delivery and how it will affect your business operations.
Experienced warehouse services providers understand what their clients need so they opt for optimization.
If you need more information on steps to warehouse optimization, explore our blog!