The success of your business centres on the ability to effectively manage your inventory stock and to do it in a way that is both timely and efficient.
Time is a limited resource in any organisation and inefficiencies in its management can have a negative impact on your operating processes and your ability to deliver to consumer demands.
Inventory control techniques are a great way to save time in your day-to-day activities, enabling you to streamline operations and providing the opportunity to invest that extra time in business planning and growth strategies.
Improve warehouse operations
The goal of effective warehouse management is to efficiently control the movement of materials within the warehouse operations. Processes that include receipting of inwards goods and the tracking, stacking and movement of stock throughout the warehouse.
Inefﬁcient warehouse operations lead to wasted time, double handling of inventory stock and order processing delays. Obstructed aisles interfere with the safe storage and movement of goods throughout the warehouse, adding time to the processes of storing or picking inventory stock.
Poorly designed work areas and ineffectual use of warehouse space can inhibit staff activities and cause delays in order processing. An overhaul of your warehouse layout will improve picking times and order processing.
Allocate specific areas for each product based on popularity, storing popular items close to the shipping or picking area for easy retrieval or dispatch. Ensure items are correctly labelled, locations are clearly marked and goods are easy to access. Keeping walkways and aisles free will facilitate the easy movement of goods into and out of the warehouse.
Implementing a warehouse management system can improve efﬁciency, recommending the best routes and methods for put-away or picking of inventory stock. In addition, the system generates automated picklists which are sent to mobile readers and devices, helping to eliminate errors and reduce time wasted searching for inventory stock.
Effective systems improve warehouse operations through consistent approaches, lead time reduction, and elimination of waste.
Keep your store organised
As essential as it is to maintain an efficient warehouse, it is equally important to keep your retail store well-organised to save time in the long run. A well laid out, well-lit store is more enticing to shoppers and helps them to easily locate items on their own.
The right layout should utilise all space and expose customers to a greater amount of merchandise. While store aisles need to be clear for customers to easily navigate their way around the store.
Label boxes and shelves in the storeroom to reduce the time shop assistants spend looking for misplaced items. Ensure that inventory stock is put in the proper place and keep fast-moving items close to the door, so they can be quickly accessed.
The use of barcodes and scanners make it easy to track inventory as in enters and leaves your business. This perpetual inventory tracks stock movement in real-time, providing more timely identification of restocking needs and detecting any discrepancies in your inventory stock.
For retailers, the more efficient you can make the checkout process, the more likely you are to attract repeat customers. Among many other benefits, barcode technology helps to facilitate a faster, smoother and more time efficient checkout line.
Automated inventory control
By far one of the greatest time-savers for distribution, retail and eCommerce businesses, is automated inventory control. It provides perpetual inventory tracking and offers many advantages to employees across various functional teams.
Access to real-time inventory data eliminates the likelihood of stockouts and back orders that result from having insufﬁcient inventory stock to meet customer demands. Purchasing managers with real-time inventory numbers can immediately see when stock is running low and reorder inventory stock in a timely manner.
Sales staff can view real-time inventory from any location on any device, allowing them to provide accurate information to customers on stock availability. Additionally, it is easier for them to source stock from another outlet when they can view stock levels at other locations.
Automated inventory control software will help you improve the timeliness of your business processes. Keeping track of inventory stock in multiple locations, tracking inventory amounts and locations, improving the picking, packing and shipping of items to customers while saving time and manpower in the performance of these tasks.
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.