Successful supply chain cannot exist without warehouses and inventory. For a warehouse to be an equally successful part of the supply chain, it needs to run efficiently. That’s where warehouse inventory management comes into play. Without it, you risk inaccurate quantities, disconnected databases, and poor product identification.
If these roadblocks sound all too familiar, we’ve assembled five tips that can help you improve your inventory management and be on your way to your most successful supply chain management yet.
Warehouses can hold thousands to tens of thousands of parts which means you’ll need a concise and user-friendly categorization system to stay organized. Some warehouses prefer to use the selective inventory control method of “ABC classification.” This means that inventory parts are categorized according to their value and documentation requirements. For example, “A” items are the highest value items and need to be carefully controlled, while “C” items have minimal value and need only simple records. Keep in mind that every product and its associated SKU will have a unique supply and demand variability pattern, so not all SKUs can be tagged the same way. SKU variability can also be managed through the “ABC classification” system. Regardless of the method, all inventory parts should be neatly categorized with clearly labeled selections. Consider establishing exact syntax for parts labeling.
Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Just as no supply chain is complete without a warehouse, no warehouse is complete without a user-friendly warehouse management system (WMS). The most basic WMS will have a flexible location system, user customized parameters for tasks, and built-in integration with data collection devices. A WMS will increase inventory accuracy and storage capacity while reducing cycle times and labor costs. A WMS program also typically offers excellent inventory scheduling options. You may also choose to use your WMS as an inventory optimization tool to automatically monitor and manage supply and demand variability.
Integrate Mobile Technology
Many WMS provide apps to allow salespeople to connect to the information. Mobile devices allow easy access to real-time, accurate inventory data and information. This can improve customer service and the overall supply chain speed. Using their mobile access, salespeople can immediately submit replenishment requests when they notice low inventory levels in their stores. Finally, mobile technology can directly improve inventory management through its connection to the mobile POS system. When customers attempt to buy an item online, they will automatically be informed of product availability limitations.
Upgrade the Shipping System
Proper inventory management depends on the ability of the warehouse system and employees to process and handle products and packages. Shipping systems that cannot cope with the current number of products and packages should be upgraded. As a result, many product handling and packing warehouses prefer to upgrade their conveyor systems. This could involve mobile conveyor machines that offer flexibility and convenience. As an alternative, they could be an integrated system of strategically placed conveyor machines. Adding a conveyor machine is an excellent way to increase inventory management and overall warehouse efficiency.
Certain suppliers may be chronically late or deliver inaccurate shipments. Often, warehouse staff are too busy to individually respond to these random problems; however, warehouse management should closely monitor supply performance. In fact, the WMS can provide detailed, customized reports on supplier shipments. Consider using the WMS to audit supplier performance every quarter. This will assist you in identifying unreliable suppliers and provide opportunities for improvement. Armed with this information, you may choose to reward high performing suppliers with the chance to sell more, while reducing the number of poor performing suppliers.
Is your warehouse management software performing at peak levels? We can help you find the right system for your needs, allowing you to restructure inefficient processes, reduce backorders, and keep those shipments flowing smoothly. PositiveVision offers WMS in Chicago and surrounding areas. Find out how PositiveVision can help your company leverage the power of warehouse management software in your supply chain to streamline the process that you need to succeed.