Having an optimal inventory flow and warehouse efficiency is vital for businesses to keep their supply chain efficiency. Ensuring the dispatch of the right stock at the right time is crucial for retaining customers.
Optimizing the inventory flow and the warehouse provides the business with multitudes of cost-saving benefits:
- Lower capital costs
- Reduced logistics expenses
- Obsolescence is less or nullified
- Encountering fewer lost orders and so on.
Here are some tips that help in improving warehouse efficiency
1. Categorize the inventory
Most businesses follow the ABC method when it comes to cataloging. In this method, A holds the stock, that is fast-moving, B is the moderate stock, and C is the slow-moving stock. At the same time, inventory managers should also note that inventory loses its value over time. So, the stock has to be kept at an optimal level at all times.
2. Warehouse organization
Companies have to ensure optimum warehouse efficiency to control the inventory flow. A warehouse manager should pay attention to the following points:
- An effective transportation strategy
- The potential impact of returns
- Overstocking and Understocking
However, there is room for errors when it comes to manual management of the warehouse. This is where cloud-based warehouse management system(WMS) plays an important role. They automate away tasks and can notify the management in case of any issues.
3. Data collection
Most businesses still follow the method of pen and paper when it comes to inventory tracking. However, nowadays, the rising volume of the stock is pushing this method to obsolescence. Modern technologies have automated this data collection through the use of bar codes or RFID. RFID is Radio Frequency Identification, where the system automatically captures the data. In the case of a cloud-based warehouse management system(WMS), the user can access the data from anywhere. It also gives them the current information of an inventory, its status, and any other details so required.
4. Transaction and Arrival
Tracking every movement of the inventory right from its arrival to slot-placement is essential. This tracking increases warehouse efficiency by generating transactions. These transactions allow product tracking movement and the status of the order.
At the same time, the arrival of the products and the truck should be in sync. This reduces the wastage of space occupied by packed goods. Furthermore, all types of shipments ranging from pallets, cases, and individual shipments can be loaded simultaneously.
5. Picking and replenishment
To achieve better control of the inventory flow, the picking line has to be perfect. Prediction and forecast are the essential tools that help in controlling the flow. If the pickers human or robots should be ready for the picking tasks. In case of shortage, workers must be assigned from lower priority works to picking duties. This ensures timely delivery of the shipment.
When using a warehouse management system (WMS), replenishment becomes an easy task. When an inventory touches its minimum level, the system alerts the management to restore the stock level. However, the replacement should serve the influx of the customer order.
6. Handling returns
Returns are an inevitable part of every buy and sale transactions. Despite the best WMS practices, timely delivery, buyers will return the product due to buyer’s remorse. Nevertheless, these returns also cost the business. For maintaining warehouse efficiency, all returns must be scrutinized for resale value, repairs, or return to the manufacturer.
7. Vendor onboarding
Today’s warehouses receive orders from many vendors. Keeping track of them manually is quite a difficult task, and the WMS helps in managing those vendors. The WMS with a vendor onboarding will help in the arrival of the stock at the right time and in the correct quantity. Due to the advance notifications, the warehouse manager can ensure accurate inventory flow and increased warehouse efficiency.
For achieving warehouse efficiency, it important that the warehouses are flexible and evaluated. This flexibility allows the business to accommodate the changing demands of the market and vendors. In case of issues, the blind spots must be immediately evaluated. As processes evolve, warehouses should be flexible in all aspects.
These tips, along with the role of technology, will aid in better control of inventory flow and warehouse efficiency. Having a cloud database will help the warehouse personnel access data from anywhere and carry out operations in a smooth manner.