The efficiency of logistics owes its significance to the fact that it holds the ability of a business to quickly grow and compete. And warehouse inventory management when rightly done opens up huge efficiencies, making it the first priority for businesses that want to boost customer satisfaction, improve margins and increase revenues.
The final goal of powerful warehouse inventory management system is to quickly balance order fulfillment requirements while decreasing inventory carrying expenses. A warehouse inventory management plan has to rightly balance many conflicting objectives – such as shorter lead times, overstocking/under-stocking, easy workflow, fast order fulfilments, better selectivity, better visibility, seamless product flow, high productivity and greater capacity. Sounds difficult? It definitely is.
To assist you to accomplish your main warehousing goals, we’ve come up with a few inventory management techniques. You can implement any of these tactics to improve warehouse inventory.
12 Ways to Improve Warehouse Inventory Management system
In order to improve warehouse efficiency, we introduce you to 12 ways that can be implemented simply and some can even cost money, but all can effectively get your operations to work smoothly.
01. Pick the Right Containers
The suitable containers are important for stocking your products so you must always research and evaluate your requirements before choosing them. You need them to be simple to load your products into, fitting really well without any space left wasted. Of course, various types of inventory frequently need various containers.
02. Pick The Suitable Pallets
Pallets come with varied strengths as well as weaknesses. Choosing the suitable kind of pallets can even make the transportation as well as storage of products a lot easier. Here are three most widely used pallets:
- Plastic pallets. Durable, light and best affordable.
- Metal pallets. Extremely durable as well as long-lasting. They have the ability to withstand corrosive materials and extreme heat.
- Wooden pallets. Very versatile and recyclable, with plenty of designs and shapes.
Also, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to be utilizing the pallets. Will that be shifted by a forklift or pallet jack? Will they be stocked on the ground or placed up in the racking? Can they even carry the inventory weight?
03. Improve Racking
How are you using the warehouse space? What about vertical space? Rather than extending your square footage, you might take into account that including taller storage units as well as the suitable tool to pick and stock material can assist you to store more in the similar square footage, instead of including expansion costs.
While picking racking, strength, size and accessibility all have to be considered so it’s crucial to know the various types of racking available. If you shift many small items, utilize flow racks; for greater items, opt for pallet racks or cantilever. Obviously, you also need your racking to be more scalable, so there must be alternatives for enlargements as your business develops. This is quite efficient and reasonable that replaces the complete racking system when you simply outgrow it.
04. Stay Updated with Technology
Although, if you’re not quite tech-savvy, the new equipment can change your business into a greater efficient warehouse. For instance, a first-class warehouse management system can actually streamline operations by making sure that materials and goods move in the same direction in the best affordable manner. It does this by focusing on warehouse design, selecting and packing goods, inventory tracking, getting and putting away, labour management, shipping, yard and dock management, and quick reporting.
There is a plethora of different cool warehouse technologies available. For instance, you could apply voice-enabled technology. Utilizing headphones, such systems direct order pickers on what to pick, where to go, and where to deliver it; it’s quite more efficient than having them invest time in reading order sheets or choosing verbal direction from a manager.
05. Get Automated
Minor operations can work well enough with manual pickers, but as your warehouse develops, this approach can affect productivity. For example, the average order picker can choose 60-80 products per house while routes are well-optimized; this rate can be enhanced to around 300 pieces per hour while utilizing automation like conveyors and sorters.
While there are many costs related to adding automation, the order picking efficiency will ultimately pay for itself. Actually, as per the review by robotics business, efficient and automated warehouses are around 76% possibly to increase inventory accuracy to 99% or more,36% possibly to have decreased labour prices an average of 3% per year as well as 40% more likely to keep shipping within one day of the placement of order.
06. Standardize Workflows
Each activity as well as a process for moving products within the warehouse must have a well-organized workflow. Without one, employees may just work in a manner that is highly efficient for them but not more effective for the company.
Automated workflows help make sure that each employee works within similar standards. Also, it enables you to perfectly monitor every employee’s performance against benchmarks set up for that workflow segment. That way, while fulfilment problems arise, a fast audit can often reveal the workflow block and then corrective action can be taken.
07. Choose Lean
Lean inventory mainly associated with manufacturing can also assist with enhancing operational productivity in your warehouse. The general premise of lean is to obtain only when you want and nothing else. That means finding suppliers to provide with least quantities more often and decreasing safety stocks.
This makes the warehouse space free and quite easier for pickers to get what they want. Also, it decreased the possibilities of being stuck with unused inventory.
08. Use Appropriate Packaging
There are several types of packaging available. But, not every packaging is developed equally and you’ll have to weigh the merits and demerits of each. If you utilize the wrong type of packaging for specific products, it can lead to damaged products or obtaining additional costs with carriers.
09. Keep Employees Highly Motivated
Warehouse work is not a walk in the park. Even hiring and maintaining a proficient workforce can be a big challenge. As per Westernacher Consulting, more than 40% of warehouse managers report that a failure to attract and maintain a quality hourly workforce was one of their top concerns.
If you want to keep employees motivated, you need to think of giving incentive pay. This provides them with an opportunity to get more money on payday and makes them know that you truly appreciate their efforts. Another simple but powerful motivational technique is to provide prizes or a free staff lunch if monthly, weekly, or quarterly goals are met. And obviously, providing daily pay raises to employees who really work hard is a big motivator.
10. Be Safe
In case, the employee gets wounded, it can disrupt your entire operation, they are not able to work and even employee morale goes immediately down.
So, ensure to make safety your first priority. Leadership has to completely investigate each incident as well as employees have to be made to feel easy bringing up any dangers that may notice. An injured employee’s plan to return to work must also be put into place like beginning light duties and even more moving to highly demanding jobs until they are back on their workload.
11. Use a Fulfillment Center
Maybe you’d rather not be in the warehousing business! Then think about utilizing a third-party logistics (3PL) fulfilment center. This manages the warehousing, packing, picking and shipping of your required products besides the returns management, customer service and so on. Few of the main benefits they provide eCommerce businesses involve:
- Experience. Logistics are the 3PL’s specialty. By utilizing one, you can simply tap into the experts’ knowledge and take benefit of the new software and tool that they’re using.
- Cost Savings. With a 3PL, the space required and the rental cost, along with the above expenses—can be decreased or eliminated. When it’s about shipping, 3PLs likewise have relationships with carriers which leads to discounted pricing.
- Global Reach. Few eCommerce businesses feel restricted by their region and remain national or local, not sure about the global rules. Several 3PLs own a global reach, enabling businesses to make their brand reach a global audience.
- Scalability. With business growth, space can be a big problem and fulfilling orders quick enough can turn difficult, which leads to shipping delays and unsatisfied customers. A 3PL can manage your inventory as you develop, housing as well as shipping it from single or multiple locations.
- Customer Service. When you are able to handle returns, refunds and exchanges are just as crucial as selling a product. Thus, 3PL has sufficient staff to do this.
12. Promote Safety Measures
Perilous working conditions will affect your employees and even your business reputation. Furthermore, not having proper safety measures will put the business at financial risk in the form of damages, litigation, and improved insurance premiums.
Do a comprehensive assessment of the perils and figure out ways to lessen them. Employee safety training is highly crucial, motivate the staff to utilize personal protective tools every time. Make sure that heavy-duty tool such as forklift and so on, is operated just by trained and experienced employees. Ensure the warehouses have proper safety rules.
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Warehouse Inventory Management
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The above tips can allow you to work on your warehouse inventory management system to ensure improved efficiency. So, from SKU shelf-life, and warehouse product mix to product volumes, you can simply consider these tips to bring greater efficiency.