Warehouse inventory management is so much more than arranging your goods in stock so that it can be easily found, picked up, and quickly delivered to your consumers. The constant improvement of warehouse operations and the right alignment of logistics strategies are essential to achieve increased visibility and pinpoint accuracy. Strong leadership and an up-to-date facility are also very important in running an efficient and cost-effective warehouse.
All of these things are easy to overlook but they can make the difference between a business holding on for the short-term and a business flourishing in the long-term.
However, implementing these factors can be quite challenging for the inexperienced business owner. Fortunately, with these 5 simple tips in mind, you can achieve efficient warehouse inventory management.
5 Essential Tips on How to Manage a Warehouse Effectively
1. Assess Your Current Warehouse Layout
Owning or renting a warehouse costs you a considerable amount of money on electricity, insurance, maintenance, taxes, and other utilities. That’s why it’s extremely important to maximize all of its available space.
Evaluate your current warehouse design and look around to see if there are any misused or abandoned areas. Ask yourself if you are utilizing the space efficiently.
You should also make sure that it’s not too cramped or congested which makes it hard for your employees to do their jobs properly. A limited room to move would also mean difficulty in accessing available stock.
It’s also just as important to reassess your warehouse layout in order to adapt to increasing sales in the future. In fact, you might be interested to incorporate specific logistics trends into your strategies.
Overall, the layout of your warehouse should allow logistics operations—from receiving and inspecting to packing and delivery—to move quickly and smoothly.
2. Organize the Warehouse Space
Part of planning and reevaluating your current warehouse design is organizing it accordingly.
Start by labeling every piece of stock inside your warehouse. Also known as SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), sort these numbers and group products together based on size, demand, seasonality, and other characteristics. Doing so would ensure faster picking which means quicker packing and delivery time.
You may also want to store certain items in a separate zone or area to further simply order picking and reslotting. For instance, place fast-moving and in-demand items closer to packing areas so employees can quickly retrieve them. You can do this by forecasting the demand for your products based on historical trends. But do know that all businesses have various seasonal demands so plan ahead and accordingly in order to maintain stock levels for that time period.
Lastly, you can try incorporating lean inventory practices. Simply identify sought-after products from poor-performing ones. Then eliminate the latter in order to minimize costly inventory levels and enable employees’ efficiency during order fulfillment.
Ultimately, by organizing your products, you can ensure efficient inventory management and warehouse operations.
Tip: You can also adopt a barcode system so you can keep inventory levels up-to-date and avoid costly mistakes.
3. Invest in Technology
In order to achieve an efficient warehouse inventory management, you may want to consider investing in technology.
Begin with a warehouse management system (WMS). It is a software application designed to optimize and support warehouse functionality. It provides real-time visibility to a business’ inventory, whether you’re in another facility or in transit. It can also manage picking and packing processes, shipping, employees’ performance, and audits.
Furthermore, WMS could be designed or configured for a business’s specific requirements. For instance, an e-commerce vendor may use different system functions than a food distributor. All of these benefits ensure peak warehouse performance.
Aside from WMS, you can also consider warehouse systems with business intelligence (BI) capabilities. This technology can accurately collect, analyze, and transform warehouse data into useful, actionable information. These details include a forecast inventory demand which allows you to eliminate excess goods and achieve higher return-on-investment (ROI).
4. Automate Logistics Processes
Investing in technology is only one way of achieving efficient warehouse inventory management. For continued success, make sure to automate all essential workflows—from data collection to scanning, picking and packing, delivery, tracking, and more.
The use of robots in your warehouse can help you streamline order fulfillment processes. It increases warehouse efficiency and saves you both time and money on manual labor.
The internet of things (IoT) and radio frequency identification (RFID) have also changed the way for many businesses. Who would have thought that you can turn on a machine with just a simple click of a button on your smartphone? Thanks to built-in WiFi capabilities and sensors, IoT opens up many opportunities for your company’s supply chain processes such as reducing costs, delays, and human errors.
RFID, on the other hand, can help businesses accurately track their inventory levels. It offers faster data processing and information delivery compared to barcodes.
Overall, automated warehouse inventory management lets companies achieve greater scalability and efficient processes.
5. Take Care of Your Employees
While both technology and automation are extremely important in having an efficient warehouse inventory management, actual human employees are just as vital for the success of your business.
Invest time, money, and effort in your employees so they can efficiently and properly do their jobs. It could be as simple as implementing strict safety standards to protect them from potential health risks found in the workplace.
You may also want to give them wearable devices (such as smart glasses or watches) which can help them easily locate a particular product inside the warehouse. These technologies can also monitor their vital signs, ultimately preventing serious health problems like a heart attack or heat exhaustion.
Furthermore, providing free training sessions would enable your employees to know the ins-and-outs of every warehouse software and systems you use. This minimizes human errors and delays.
Once you empower your staff with valuable knowledge and helpful technologies, you can ensure that they can properly maintain an efficient warehouse inventory management.
Proper and efficient warehouse inventory management can be challenging. But simply understanding both present workflow procedures and future logistics trends can increase efficiency and reduce costs. Keep these 5 tips in mind and you’re on your way to managing a warehouse effectively.
Better yet, enlist the help of professionals. Worklink Services Inc., a reliable logistics company in the Philippines, offers warehousing services to meet your specific storage needs. Since 1999, we have been delivering efficient operations according to the requirements of your business. Consult our DALIvery experts today!
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