Your logistics rely on accurate inventory data and efficient management systems. The storage, tracking, and movement of your inventory are a key part of good warehouse management, so you need a warehouse inventory management system that helps you to deliver omni-channel success.
Here’s five ways to manage warehouse inventory to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs.
1. Have a system configured to your inventory requirements
The storage and management requirements of warehouse stock can vary greatly. Because no two warehouses are the same, you need an inventory management system that can meet your unique requirements. You may have valuable items that require specialized secure shelving, or you may have temperature controlled inventory with varying temperature requirements and used by dates.
If you work in the food and beverage industry, ensure your inventory management has capabilities like SKU and Bin Temperature Tracking and Expiration Date Tracking. These are essential to efficient temperature and zone control across your entire warehouse.
Ideally your warehouse inventory management will have tools and features that can be easily configured to suit your needs, rather than requiring costly customizations.
2. Use tools like cross docking and kitting to reduce double handling
There are many ways that you can streamline your inventory management, from the time it arrives at receiving, all the way to picking and dispatch. Tools like cross docking and kitting allow you to maximize ROI and run a lean operation, while automating much of your stock handling processes.
Cross-docking lets you significantly decrease handling and storage time by essentially removing the “storage” link of the supply chain. You can unload materials from a manufacturer or shipment directly to another mode of shipment — right at your dock doors.
Kitting is another great way to optimize your inventory management, particularly for ecommerce businesses. The method involves bundling popular or complementing items together to create a new SKU. By pre-assembling individual items, you can ship them together quickly, rather than wasting time picking and packing them separately.
3. Capture real-time data for accuracy and visibility
You can’t manage your inventory properly if you don’t have full visibility and accurate data. Your warehouse inventory management needs to capture real-time data, that way you can instantly see critical issues like replenishment requirements and stock levels and then relay timely information onto your customers.
Real-time inventory data allows you to cope with influxes in customer demand and informs decision-making at every stage of fulfillment. It also makes it easier to conduct supply chain planning, from coordinating assets to optimize delivery, enabling clear information sharing from supplier to customer, and balancing the movement of stock in and out of the warehouse.
If you are operating across distributed warehouses, harnessing real-time information adds another layer of transparency. In more challenging inventory management systems like this, data visibility means you can determine the best distribution strategy and allocate items efficiently. This in turn reduces shipping costs and transit times for orders, which helps you stay profitable in a competitive marketplace.
4. Evaluate the organization of your warehouse
The way you lay out and organize your warehouse floor is crucial to an efficient inventory flow. If you are seeing consistent delays and double-handling in picking and packing, it could be due to an overcrowded layout or illogical inventory placement. Take the time to evaluate and reorganize your warehouse if it is impeding quick and smooth operations.
For example, a congested warehouse layout makes it challenging for employees to access stock and decreases space for carrying out important processes such as receiving. Insufficient space also leads to increased risk of human error, as well as health and safety risks for employees.
Evaluating the organization of your warehouse is also a crucial step in planning for business growth, helping to ensure you can accommodate increased sales and capacity. Think about if your layout utilizes space efficiently, if your employees have sufficient room to complete their tasks properly, and if you have space to implement new logistics strategies and capacity expansion if required.
5. Invest in quality inventory management software
The inventory and warehouse management system (WMS) you use is a critical part of efficient operations. Your software should support efficient inventory management and optimize functionality. If this isn’t the case, it might be time to invest in a better management system.
Look for a WMS that offers all the inventory capabilities you need — never compromise on business-critical functions — and a solution that is ready to implement out of the box. A WMS that requires customizations will cost you valuable time and money, rather than saving it.
If you’re looking for a better inventory management system that allows for strategic fulfillment workflows, increased visibility, and the ability to forecast and adapt to demand volatility, Da Vinci is the perfect solution.
Request a free demo of Da Vinci today to see how our inventory management can save your business time and money.