Keeping on top of inventory, shipments and logistics for a warehouse can be challenging. Now think about doing that for multiple warehouses. Whether you’re managing one warehouse or several, you know it can be a demanding job. There are internal pressures to keep logistics moving swiftly inside the warehouse, to keep staff trained and to make sure morale is high. Then there are external pressures coming from customers and other members of your supply chain.
Business owners may struggle to manage inventory demands. If not dealt with properly, it can negatively impact your bottom line, relationships with customers and your business’ reputation. Luckily, we’ve identified some of the industry’s best practices to optimise your inventory management.
Decrease unauthorised foot traffic
Warehouses are busy places. With shipments being delivered, staff picking out inventory stock and forklifts driving around, there is a lot going on. All of these people are authorised to be in the warehouse; they all play critical roles in inventory stock management.
However, what about unauthorised foot traffic that’s coming through and disrupting people or getting in the way? Perhaps it’s a food delivery driver looking to drop off some lunch for employees, or someone’s partner who has come say hello with their kids. It can be risky, dangerous and disruptive to have unauthorised people in the warehouse.
Make sure your warehouse employees are wearing uniforms and the warehouse has special access requirements. This will help you keep the right people in your warehouse and decrease problems with distractions or hazards.
Optimise the warehouse floor plan
As the seasons change, the demand for certain types of inventory stock will change too. It’s important to adapt your warehouse to favour fast-moving, popular goods. With a floor plan that is aligned with in-demand items, distribution can become more efficient. By restructuring your floor plan, you will be able to respond to orders faster and get them out the door quickly. When popular items are easy to grab this can improve shipping processes and enhance customer satisfaction when it’s delivered fast.
Introduce priority picking
When you have valuable customers that place regular orders or large orders, you should start prioritising their orders. So what’s the best way to do this? Colour coding is one strategic option. Align the colours in order of priority. For instance, blue could mean high priority items and green could mean medium priority.
Use inventory management software
One of the most powerful ways to optimise your warehouse is to have effective inventory management software. If you want to know what’s going on with stock levels or shipments, inventory management software can provide real-time updates. This means that your visibility over the warehouse is always up-to-date. You can be responsive and even better, proactive. This software can help predict inventory patterns and place refill orders when stock is getting low. It can automate and streamline processes within the warehouse and keep your employees informed through regular communication. The benefits of inventory management software are tangible and useful.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.