One of the first signs of business success is demand for more product. More product means more inventory space, and more inventory space often means more warehouses. Scaling a business to produce and ship more inventory may require adding another or multiple warehouses. However, with multiple warehouses, tracking inventory and managing stock across different locations can seem a bit daunting.
Initially, it’s important to assess if you actually need multiple warehouses. A very common and valid reason can be location. Whether shipping domestically or internationally, warehouses are often strategically located to reduce shipping times and deliberately placed to cover a large customer territory. In turn, this can reduce transportation between the warehouse and delivery to the customer. With a shorter delivery time, this could also increase value to your customer. Another reason for multiple warehouses is to spread the risk of your assets across multiple locations, having redundancy stock in case of fires, natural disaster, or other unfortunate scenarios.
Download inventory software to manage warehouses effectively
Once multiple warehouses seem like the most viable option forward for a business, it’s necessary to take adequate steps to manage the warehouses effectively. The most critical step in this process is to download inventory software in order to manage your supply chain with real-time information. Once you download inventory software, you will instantly have a wide array of online tools to help manage your inventory across several locations. Since the need for more inventory brought you to a multiple warehouse situation in the first place, it is even more important to know how to protect and manage inventory at each location.
Tracking inventory levels for each warehouse
An online inventory management tool will help track your supply in every warehouse to make sure you have sufficient inventory levels to meet demand. It can provide real-time updates so you can see what is in stock at certain locations and even set it to automatically reorder specific stock, if necessary. Also, the inventory management software can suggest transferring stock from one warehouse with a high supply to the warehouse in need of more stock. You can identify trends and patterns with the inventory software. For example, this can help you decide what stock should be placed at which warehouse, if it is frequently ordered from customers in close proximity. It also has features to create purchase orders and to communicate with suppliers.
Enhance communication across warehouses
Another benefit you will see once you download inventory software is improved communication. This software allows for team members across the business to have access to information and communicate with this tool. Therefore, communication difficulties commonly experienced across multiple warehouses will decrease. Team members will be involved in warehouse management and kept up-to-date on inventory data, eliminating the need to send an endless trail of emails from warehouse to warehouse.
There will always be pros and cons to having multiple warehouses, but with effective inventory management software, operations can be suavely managed and processes can be streamlined across multiple warehouses and platforms.
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.