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7 Best Practices for Inventory Management for Warehouses

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Supplying your customers with the needed products in time and using the lowest cost for the highest value can be challenging. This is because every warehouse location will present its unique challenge. At any point in time, you will be facing at least one form of pressure. The pressure could be coming from your suppliers, buyers, workers, or even the customers you highly esteem and need for the business. And yet, you need to be cautious to ensure that everything is in the right perspective. Otherwise, you will be caught off-guard when things go haywire, and you cannot do a thing to salvage the situation. Admittedly, meeting and solving these challenges can be a challenge on its own. You will realize how hard it is to monitor and attend to inventory needs while still giving a listening ear to your buyers, workers, and customers. All in all, you can still have a working warehouse inventory management system that takes care of everything. Here are some tips that will add value to your warehouse management.

Maximize the warehouse layout

One The best practices that will certainly work to the warehouse's well are working on the warehouse layout optimization. And in doing this, there are just a couple of safe methods to be applied. For instance, instead of using any shelf to put anything, why not label shelves to indicate what each shelf contains? If possible, you can have some shelves share goods that are relatable and come in small quantities. Whichever method you opt for, label the shelves. Besides, you can scrutinize the warehouse for any space that’s not been put to use. You can then plan on how to fill such spaces. While you do all this, ensure that warehouse equipment that needs extra spaces get that. Such equipment includes forklifts and conveyor systems. This will prevent any health hazard that could occur due to limited space for operation.

Employ automated inventory solutions

Just like any other avenue of business, warehouses face constant changes in demand and customer behavior. It might surprise you that what clients held in high esteem yesterday is no longer of significance and priority to them. It is only automated inventory solutions that will accurately study customer behavior, predict expected changes, and help you be in tandem with such dynamics. With such systems, you can arrange the warehouse products based on the observed turnover rate. For instance, you can arrange the goods with those awaiting transportation to the point of demand coming before those awaiting certification. Such arrangements minimize wastage in time as the staff moves about sourcing wrongly placed goods. These staff can then focus their energy elsewhere.

Conduct regular cycle counts

Operational shrinkage is one of the major challenges that warehouses face. If you are not cautious in your operations, you may find yourself a victim of operational shrinkage. As part of taking care and keeping such risks at bay, you may need to regularly do cycle counts. Of course, you are performing physical counts. However, cycle counts are equally significant for seamless operations within the warehouse. The advantage that cycle counts have over physical counts is that you need not halt the warehouse process. Rather, you will be dealing with segments of industrial processes as need be. This need not interfere with the order of the day since your focus is on small subsets of the warehouse procedures instead of the entire warehouse operations.

Make the warehouse more secure

As security issues keep rising, industrial points and warehouses are also becoming the prime target of fraudsters and criminals. This can be combating by having stringent measures that improve warehouse security. For instance, you can ensure that all your staff members wear IDs and uniforms as long as they are within the warehouse premises. Visitors will always visit their warehouse, and you need to differentiate the staff from them. Having a visitor's tag can help serve the purpose of differentiation. Besides, have CCTVs and their cameras installed at every critical point of the warehouse to monitor who goes where.

Label all the warehouse items

Staff may waste a lot of time trying to tell which product is located where. To avoid such cases, provide labeling for all the warehouse items. This will make it easy for the staff at different points to identify the item. Even when the need arises to locate where a particular item is stored, labeling will help locate the item. The staff will only need to key in the item's SKU and find it. This means that you need to install integrated inventory management systems that will incorporate both SKU and barcodes. Having such integrated systems will make it possible to have seamless operations within the warehouse.

Provide your staff with necessary training on warehouse inventory management

Even with all the steps above, you still need more actions. Your staff and how they run the warehouse processes will influence the overall performance of warehouse activities. The staff handle activities run on the ground and are like the managers on the ground. You may only have the overseeing role but will not handle actual processes on the ground. Therefore, training your staff is imperative to the business's success. Train your staff to know warehouse regulations and abide by them to avoid any accidents due to ignorance or negligence. Training your staff definitely includes introducing them to the inventory management system that the company uses to allow them to get used to the system. As you do this, keep monitoring their progress and overall performance to see whether the training is making any impact.

Implement cross-docking strategies

Wastage is part of any warehouse. However, it is quite possible to cut down on such wastage by employing working strategies such as cross-docking techniques. Besides minimizing wastage, cross-docking strategies are the best methods to put storage to maximum use. This is because such strategies require zero storage. Therefore, cross-docking still allows you to manage your industrial processes efficiently if you have a small warehouse. You definitely have inbound components. Moving these to the warehouse’s staging location is a good example of a cross-docking strategy. Alternatively, you could consider taking the components to the outbound shipping locations.

Conclusion

Managing a warehouse can be so hard. You have to do this and still meet customer/worker/buyer needs. However, it is still possible to effectively manage a warehouse inventory and still meet these needs. This article discusses seven best practices that will translate into a working warehouse inventory management system when applied.

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