Inventory management is one of the prime keys to a successful business. Just think if your customers ordered your product and didn’t get it for weeks and weeks because of sloppy communication and confusion with warehouse management and inventory supply! How long do you think that person would stay your customer?
Yet inventory management is often minimized and/or misunderstood by the very people who depend on it, whether they know it or not, to keep their bottom line healthy!
Here’s a look at four important ways you can make your warehouse a more organized and efficient place:
You’re never done organizing your warehouse. If you learn nothing else from these tips, please understand this: Warehouse organization is an ongoing process that needs to be reviewed on a regular basis. You may be satisfied that your current design layout is already reducing workflow bottlenecks and ‘black holes’ where inventory seems to get swallowed up. But ask your staff where there are needs for improvements; they work the floor every day and they know the real nuts and bolts of how things operate inside your warehouse. You might be surprised at some of the useful ideas they give you to speed things up and reduce damage. Some obstacles may seem chronic, but you can’t just ignore them and hope they’ll go away. Work with your warehouse and inventory experts, such as Brandow Consulting, to find ways to turn that obstacle into a plus for your operation — even if it means turning it into a snack bar! And don’t forget to keep an eye on how ergonomic your equipment is — chronic injuries in a warehouse are a major drain on company resources.
We are an automation nation
Inventory management systems are a must for modern warehouses. Complex Excel spreadsheets may look like the answer, but there is always the possibility of data entry mistakes that result in major headaches down the road. Something as simple as an extra zero in the wrong column can lead to catastrophic delays and misplacement of inventory. What your warehouse needs is an accurate and efficient system that tracks and locates items in different locations in the blink of an eye. Your need for real-time data to track immediate stock levels and their trends, and the generation of customized reports can only be satisfied 100% with the proper inventory management system. Do not rely on an abacus or dumb luck to keep track of inventory!
Your staff needs to be trained, obviously. But are you having it done by co-workers as a peer-to-peer operation, or is warehouse management doing it from top-to-bottom, or are you bringing in outside people to do the training? However you decide to do it (and probably the smartest way is to combine all three methods) you need to make sure that it is consistent and inclusive. Make up a training schedule and make sure that it is adhered to. Don’t allow seasonal rushes or summer doldrums or anything else interrupt the training. Otherwise, the chances of some employees getting left behind (especially if they are part-time) are too great. And smart warehouse managers will be sure to cross-train employees so there is always a backup available in every position.
Tag, you’re it?
There are various uses for tags in a warehouse. Foremost is probably manufacturing tags to be put on totes, trays, containers, and pallets. Since most warehouses have a very high product flow going in and out most of the time, using a tag app for container tags is a good idea to help organize and locate inventory. Your standardized identification and tracking system will increase everything from revenue to efficiency to productivity. Also, tags on racks will streamline the workflow. Customized tags empower your staff to quickly and easily locate items for inventory control, stocking, and, of course, shipping
These four principles are not rocket science, but they are crucial to the success of your warehouse management and inventory management.