Retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, warehouses – nearly every business can benefit from inventory management best practices that streamline operations and processes and keep inventory, assets, and equipment in check. From correctly balancing stock in warehouses to ensuring production can continue to flow, inventory management is essential for keeping businesses up and running and the bottom line healthy.
Implementing inventory management best practices is one of the best ways to maintain transparency of stock and assets, keep accounts in line, and create reports for stakeholders. Of course, knowing which inventory management best practices to implement is half the battle; that’s why we have rounded up 50 tips from industry experts for retail, warehousing, and manufacturing. We also have categorized our tips into three main topics to help you find exactly the information you seek to streamline your inventory management processes. Please note, our tips are listed in alphabetical order for ease of searching.
Click on a category below to jump to a specific section:
- Inventory Management Techniques
- Inventory Management Tools
- Money-Saving Practices
- Warehouse Organization for Inventory Management
Inventory Management Techniques
1. Analyze inventory turns. “Sometimes it makes no sense to stock a product. As an example, if an item is picked only five times a year, the cost of storage can be eliminated by drop shipping from the manufacturer. By tracking the number of times a product is picked, you can determine the value of the space where the inventory resides.” – Arnaldo Garcia-Hernandez, 36 Tips for Warehousing and Inventory Management, SlideShare; Twitter: @ArnaldoERP
2. Audit your stock. “Even with good inventory management software, periodically you still need to actually count your inventory to make sure what you have in stock matches what you think you have. Businesses use different techniques, including an annual, year-end physical inventory that counts every single item and ongoing spot-checking, which can be most useful for products that are moving fast or have stocking issues.” – Inventory Management 101: How to Manage Small Business Inventory, Square; Twitter: @Square
3. Consider different mangement models. “There’s more than one way to manage your inventory. There’s no law that states every item your company offers has to be maintained in your warehouse, for instance. Vendor-managed inventory, where a supplier has access to your inventory data and uses this information to ensure you always have adequate inventory, might be a viable option for certain items (such as your C items). Other options include having a dedicated inventory manager if you don’t already have one, purchasing inventory software, or hiring an outside consultant or specialist.” – Samantha Selsky, Effective Inventory Management: 5 Best Practices, Handshake; Twitter: @handshake
4. Determine whether to use EOQ or min-max. “As unit sales decrease, the use of the economical order quantity (or EOQ) formula for calculating the preliminary quantity to purchase may result in the wrong suggested quantity for some products managed by EOQ. Min/max may be a better method of determining when to consider purchasing (when the quantity on hand is at or below the minimum) and the quantity to purchase (which is roughly the maximum minus the quantity on hand). However, EOQ will still be used for managing many products, so the parameters that define the formula should be reviewed and changed if industry conditions have changed.” – Dick Friedman, Inventory Management Tips, Supply House Times; Twitter: @supplyht
5. Develop a system for processing and fulfilling orders. “Many businesses don’t have effective systems for processing and fulfilling their orders. Combat this before it becomes a problem by coming up with a checklist of tasks that must be done before an order can be marked as fully processed and fulfilled. Make sure that if you have other spaces where you manage inventory, or if you have a spreadsheet for inventory, adjust the values accordingly across the system.” – Tyler Brown, 4 Tips for Effective Inventory Management, Elite OPS; Twitter: @Elite_OPS
6. Focus on preventing loss. “According to Kabbage, a financial services data and technology platform, inventory loss generally results both from employee loss and from clerical mistakes. For this reason, it may be necessary to enact loss prevention techniques, such as, “utilizing security cameras to reduce customer and employee theft, using security tags, limiting access to inventory and carefully monitoring customer returns.”
So while managing inventory isn’t many people’s idea of a rollicking good time, you and your team can stay on top of customer orders and fulfillment and minimize stressful episodes where your products can’t be found or prepared for shipment — by considering a few best practices.” – Lee Polevoi, Managing Inventory: 7 Great Tips for Your Small Business, Cintas; Twitter: @CintasCorp
7. Forecast inventory demands. “Demand forecasting forms the base of predicting your inventory requirements and thereby the storage space you need to allocate. At the same time, storing more number of a product which has good demand is not [an] advisable warehouse inventory management technique. It is advised to store 1.5 times the average use of the product in demand. Digging deep into the purchase trivia and customer order history can also reduce storage cost.” – John Britto, 10 Tips for Smart Warehouse Inventory Management, Medium; Twitter: @Medium
8. Know what type of inventory management fits your business. “As a business owner, you know your inventory flow the best. Would a continuous review or periodic review system be best? If you’re not sure, here are the facts about each:
- Continuous Review Systems: With a continuous review system, you normally order the same quantity of items with each order placed. You must monitor inventory levels, and whenever the quantity of an item drops below a set level, you would then replenish your stock.
- Periodic Review: When using a periodic review system, you order products at the same time each period. At the end of each period, you determine how many items need ordered based on quantity levels at the end of each period. There are also no set reorder levels for this type of system.”
– Brad Vinson, 6 Inventory Management Best Practices, Wasp Barcode; Twitter: @WaspBarcode
9. Know your high sellers. “By placing your high volume items closer to the shipping area and making sure they are easily accessible, you’ll eliminate a lot of unnecessary labor time, and your employees will think you are super considerate. Win-win! Obviously, this should only apply to your proven top sellers to avoid unnecessary physical inventory re-allocation.” – Emilie Fritsch, Warehouse Inventory Management: 10 Tips You Need to Know, SkuVault; Twitter: @skuvault
10. Link quality control to inventory management. “Employees should be provided with checklists and/or computing systems that can assist them in following proper procedures when checking the goods they receive. All goods must be examined for signs of damage, including leaks, tears, or broken seals; discrepancies in descriptions – product colors, styles, and sizes must be identical to purchase orders; and prices and terms of sale. If product quality is lower than agreed upon, the merchandise should be returned to suppliers. This measure not only avoids unnecessary increase in stock levels, but also prevents employees from offering customers inappropriate merchandise. If products meet the required quality standards, employees must consider particular factors, such as light, humidity and temperature, in order to avoid damaging the merchandise kept in warehouse.” – Clara Lu, Quality Control – Inventory Management Best Practices, TradeGecko; Twitter: @tradegecko
11. Manage inventory to meet the needs of omni-channel fulfillment. “The rise of omni-channel fulfillment makes inventory management more complex, which elevates the need for better systems for execution, forecast collaboration, and management reporting, including warehouse management system (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), as well as demand management and cross-disciplinary collaboration, says Don Derewecki, a senior consultant with supply chain advisory firm St. Onge Company.
‘The ultimate goal of inventory management is to optimize supply chain practices to minimize costs without jeopardizing service to customers,’ says Derewecki. ‘Attaining these goals centers around increasing the availability of useful information, as well as other important elements such as obtaining commitment from top management, training, and developing effective cross-functional teams.'” – Roberto Michel, Warehouse/DC Management: Six Best Practices for Better Inventory Management, Logistics Management; Twitter: @LogisticsMgmt
12. Prepare an inventory budget. “Many organizations have an annual inventory budget and they are usually prepared well in advance before inventory is procured. Budgets should include the total cost of ownership to keep inventory on hand during that year’s account period. This includes materials cost, fixed operational costs, carrying costs, logistics costs, redistribution costs and additional miscellaneous costs that contribute to the total costs of ownership.” – Daniel Fritsch, 6 Inventory Control Techniques for Stock Optimization, EazyStock; Twitter: @EazyStock
13. Schedule time to restock go-backs. “Inevitably there will be mistakes that happen during the picking process. Stockpiling items that were erroneously picked can create disorganization and lead to a potential shortage in the warehouse. By setting aside time and assigning someone to re-stock the go-backs, you are staying on top of your inventory and improving the organization of the warehouse.” – End of Year Warehouse Management Tips: Part 1, Scanco; Twitter: @ScancoLLC
14. Train all workers in inventory management best practices. “You cannot improve your inventory accuracy on your own. In order to be truly successful, you have to involve your employees in every step of the process. Make sure your team is aware of any changes in inventory management policies and practices, and train them on new technology or systems. The more informed and aware your employees are, the better your chances of seeing lasting change.” – Robert Baran, Six Warehouse Management System Tips, Positive Vision; Twitter: @PositiveVision_
15. Use cycle counting operations to enhance inventory accuracy. “You should work to create a culture of inventory control through a cycle counting process. Do it every day before orders start shipping. This sounds difficult, but accuracy, efficiency, and morale increases will be tangible. And it’s easier than it sounds.” – Scott Stone, 13 Best Practices for Warehouse Productivity, Cisco-Eagle; Twitter: @CiscoEagle
16. When using minimal stock level, be flexible. “Minimal stock is the minimal amount of safety inventory you are willing to keep on hand before replenishing your supplies. This quantity is never static and should be adjusted when needed.
For instance, with a seasonal business like skis, bikes and home improvements, adjustments in stock levels are made based on the time of year. Making adjustments ensures that you never run into stock-outs during your peak seasons. In your low seasons, holding fewer inventory items will free up your cash flow.
Businesses that use perishable goods will also want to use minimal stock as a control. Set your minimum and maximum levels to be the same. This lowers your risk of carrying dead stock if it is not used in time. More monitoring is required for using minimal stock as a control measure. By carrying less volume, you will need to increase the frequency of your replenishment. In the end, this may not save you any money since you may be incurring more shipping charges.” – Colleen Rodericks, Inventory Management Techniques and Best Practices, inFlow; Twitter: @inFlowInventory
Inventory Management Tools
17. Automate and consider an asset-tracking system. “[Automating and implementing an asset-tracking system] can streamline the inventory management process, simplify documentation, increase accuracy and save time and money. It correlates with having a proper ordering system.” – Jeffrey Arnol, Best Practices for Managing Inventory, Accounting Today; Twitter: @AccountingToday
18. Consider an automated solution. “Our solution is computer operated and is based on barcodes to minimise the picking error rate to almost nothing. It does, however, require the correct use of the barcodes in the first place. If you are working on batches rather than the multiple picking of varied products for a given order then this does reduce the error rate significantly.” – Stock Control and Inventory Management Tips, Cloud Fulfilment; Twitter: @CloudFulfilment
19. Deploy end-to-end supply chain visibility. “When you need to respond quickly to changing market requirements and urgent customer requests, you can’t rely on phone or email to get timely updates—market conditions change much too quickly for that. Your suppliers and distribution centers may be half a world and 12 times zones away. You need to be able to access inventory and fulfillment status information in real-time. That makes a cloud-based supply chain network an essential component of agile inventory management.” – 4 Best Practices for Agile Inventory Management, Infor; Twitter: @Infor
20. Factor in third-party logistics providers. “If you use outsourced warehousing or third-party logistics (3PL) companies for inventory storage and shipping, you need to factor this into your inventory management system. Doing so can reduce the risk of encountering errors — whether they’re caused on your end or the third party. In addition to avoiding errors, having a view of all your inventory can allow you to be better informed should a customer request the status of their delivery or reserved item. For example, it’s helpful to be able to see when goods are received at the warehouse so that you can allocate them against the correct purchase order and marry up the price with any seasonal discounts or bundles.” – Ifan Kaldain, 4 Inventory Management Tips to Jump-Start the New Year, TotalRetail; Twitter: @MyTotalRetail
21. Integrate your disparate systems. “If you’re using siloed systems to handle purchase orders, stock quantities, invoices, shipping, and fulfillment, then you’re wasting time and resources. A recent Aberdeen study found that 36% of retailers increased their customer conversation rate by making sure all sales and service channels integrated with each other. Identify the most integral technology system within your current ecosystem and seek out platforms to integrate and centralize these processes.” – Jake Gasaway, 4 Best Practices to Gain Control of Your Retail Inventory & Operations, Justuno; Twitter:@justunosocial
22. Keep your information up to date. “When it comes to forecasting, managing production and other important aspects of your business it’s necessary to know how much inventory you have on hand. The rise of e-commerce and evolution of technology has made it nearly impossible to track inventory levels accurately without continuously updated data. Typically, the information older or outdated warehouse management systems provide is obsolete because it does not have the capabilities to relay current data. Instead, there can be a lag in time which allows material and inventory levels to change significantly before the next update. This can cause problems and you could end up out of stock on an item for an important customer.” – 3 Tips for Improving Your Warehouse Inventory Management System, Siggins; Twitter: @SigginsInfo
23. Stop using manual inventory tracking and management systems. “It’s shocking but true: Some companies out there are still relying on manual inventory tracking and management systems – in other words, Excel spreadsheets. Inventory is a living, breathing entity. Manual systems simply can’t keep track of all of the parts as they move. Nor does it allow for a 30,000-foot view of your company’s inventory. Spreadsheets become outdated very quickly, and they’re subject to human error and oversight. Finally, manual systems don’t facilitate communication among all affected parties or allow you to make corrections or adjustments to your inventory quickly.” – Invest In Your Success with Inventory Management Best Practices, Asset Panda; Twitter: @AssetPanda
24. Take advantage of technology. “The implementation of warehouse technology provides more visibility through data, which allows each employee to collect real time information on the various warehouse and logistics processes. Plenty of options are available – this includes bar codes, radio frequency, pick-to-label and voice-activated technologies. These new technologies are all designed to provide different levels of increased productivity and improved accuracy.” – 8 Tips to Improve Warehouse Efficiency, Vero Solutions; Twitter: @solutions_vero
25. Track inventory in real time. “Real-time inventory tracking allows your company to have your system automatically update as items are moving in and out of stock locations. This makes your inventory system data current with the actual physical items you have in your warehouse location. Without real-time tracking, your employees will be scanning items out of stock, but will not be uploading the data into the system until a later time. This means the system will not be updated until they get back to the office, or whenever they get a chance to batch upload the data into the system. Until this happens, your warehouse management system’s data will not be in sync with your stocked inventory.
In order to use real-time tracking, you need a cloud-based warehouse management system, mobile devices to input data, and an internet connection. This way, employees scanning items will automatically update information in your warehouse system, more accurately reflecting which items you have in stock. This gives your company better visibility into your inventory levels, which will help you accurately forecast demand and other reporting metrics.” – 4 Brilliant Tips for Optimizing Your Warehouse Inventory, ClearSpider; Twitter: @clearspider
26. Track inventory using a central database. “Whether you are using a spreadsheet or a program to keep track of your inventory, a central database is necessary to ensure that all the changes are visible to everybody and that no data will be lost.” –Kristjan Hiiemaa, Effective Inventory Management, Erply; Twitter: @erply
27. Use an ERP or inventory management system that informs key employees. “Don’t treat all of the products in your inventory the same way. Inventory items will have different demand from your customers as well as varying costs and valuation methods. A comprehensive ERP system will enable you to track each SKU’s pricing, inventory levels and lead times. When an inventory level reaches a minimum, your system should notify you and automatically create purchase orders which are ready to be sent to vendors. Not all vendors are alike either. Warehouse managers will know which vendors are more reliable than others, which items tend to be received in better condition than others and how to treat expected receipt dates and actual receipt dates. Your inventory management system should also know how to track this information. The result will be useful for information for all rather than just relying on the knowledge of one or two people within your organization.” – 5 Tips to Streamline Your Inventory Management, Business Solution Partners; Twitter: @bspny
28. Use an inventory management system to gain full visibility into your inventory. “To streamline your logistics and supply chain models as Kmart has done – which may ultimately free up working capital so you can invest in growing your business – you need an inventory management system that gives you complete visibility into stock levels, movement of product, and more. You may need real-time insights, data and analytics to calculate the optimum levels of stock to hold. When you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of pallets, you can’t guess.
Importantly, if you outsource any part of your supply chain, you must ensure that your 3PL provides data about stock levels and movements in real-time.” – Inventory Management Tips for Growing Businesses, StarTrack; Twitter: @startrack
29. Use barcode scanning to eliminate manual data entry errors. “Once you know how much you need, you have to make sure you actually have it on hand. Opportunities for miscounts are everywhere: during receiving, during order fulfillment and the all-too-common pilferage. In manufacturing, says Huppertz, you’ve also got to account for yield or scrap during production.
Using electronic data interchange (EDI) and bar code scanning can help eliminate data entry errors. Huppertz suggests implementing a system of so-called ‘cycle counting.’ Choose a few items a day and compare the inventory record to the actual count. Best sellers should get counted more often.” – Lisa Girard, Five Steps to Painless Inventory Management, Entrepreneur; Twitter: @Entrepreneur
30. Use data collection. “You can start using bar codes with a simple attachment to an iPhone or other mobile device. This doesn’t require a huge investment in infrastructure. These add-on devices cost only a few dollars, and eliminate entry errors and improve accuracy. You will never achieve world-class customer service levels until your inventory accuracy is close to perfect — or at least in the 95th to 98th percent range. Invest in tools that help you achieve this easily.” – Don Amato, Tips to Keep Your Company Free from Inventory Disasters, Industrial Distribution; Twitter: @InDistwebsite
31. Use fixed and moveable tracking options. “When companies think of warehouse tracking, they think primarily of movable tracking options, tracking the units and pallets that actually get moved around the warehouse and sent up the supply chain. This is only one part of the warehouse management process – do not forget the benefits that come with used fixed trackers, too! By tracking fixed warehouse assets, you are able to assign and manage destinations much more easily, and arrange strategy protocols as needed without mass confusion. It is better to think of warehouse tracking in two different parts, one fixed and one movable.” – 7 Tips for Warehouse Inventory Management, QStock Inventory; Twitter: @QSstockInventory
32. Use SKU numbers and barcodes. “Every one of your products has to be identifiable, so you need to assign them their own unique ID number. The number you assign is known as a Stock Keeping Unit, or SKU. As your business grows, this becomes even more important as you likely will have a larger inventory and you may have similar items that need to be differentiated. You want to make it as easy as possible for your warehouse to find the correct item, so that your customers always receive exactly what they ordered.
Additionally, if you are partnering with other vendors (like resellers) you will need to utilize a universal barcode with a UPC number. UPC numbers are like SKU numbers, however they are managed as a part of a live database by GS1. That means that you need to obtain UPC numbers through GS1, so that your items can be easily scanned and identified.” – 6 Inventory Management Best Practices for Ecommerce Beginners, ecomdash; Twitter: @ecomdash
33. Utilize an efficient inventory management system. “Working harder doesn’t mean you’re more productive.You should eliminate things that get in the way of productivity, such as an inefficient inventory management system. Good inventory management software should help you save time by integrating with QuickBooks, and using barcodes and readers to track products. You can also delegate more inventory responsibilities to your employees to help them accomplish more in less time.” – Robert Lockard, Homer Simpson’s Top 10 Inventory Management Tips – Part 1, Fishbowl Inventory; Twitter: @fishbowl
34. Utilize transaction-based movements inventory flow. “Every movement throughout a warehouse represents a chance to lose track of inventory, cause an error in the order, or result in additional picking errors. Every movement from arrival to slot-placement to picking to wrapping should generate a transaction. Transactions are commonly misunderstood to reflect the sale of merchandise. However, transactions within a warehouse allow for the tracking of a product’s movements and status in the order fulfillment process.” – Adam Robinson, Strategic Logistics: 8 Steps to Controlling Inventory Flow & Driving Warehouse Efficiency, Cerasis; Twitter: @Cerasis
35. Don’t overlook MRO supply when managing inventory. “As companies continue to do battle on the cost front, few see the likelihood of MRO spend falling. A recent survey showed that nearly 60 percent of manufacturing industry managers surveyed expect to maintain their levels of MRO spend in 2013.
Unfortunately, though, MRO supply is often overlooked as an ‘inventory’ responsibility; as a consequence, it is rarely handled with the rigor and attention that it should be… Yet in my experience, MRO supply activities have little direct accountability, and are driven too often by stockouts rather than to any overarching supply chain plan. Frequently, I have seen situations where MRO inventory is expensed and sits in an area without any identifiable locator system, ID, or a usage history.” – John M. Donnelly, Five Basic Practices that Can Quickly Close the Gap with Best Practices in MRO Inventory Management, SupplyChain247; Twitter: @SupplyChain247
36. Improve forecasting. “Forecasting can go a long way to lowering costs and ensuring the success of inventory management efforts. When retailers are able to accurately predict which items they need and the correct quantity, they will be better suited to meet the expectations of their customers without having surplus stock. Better forecasting requires deft observation of market research, market demand models, demand patterns, minimum stock levels and historical techniques and can play a huge role in successful inventory management.” – Three Inventory Management Best Practices, SalesWarp; Twitter: @SalesWarp
37. Opt for money-saving options such as wave picking and cross-docking. “Whenever you plan on doing inventory management for warehouses, you should focus on ROI and running a lean operation. Cross-docking is a very efficient system that will allow you to significantly decrease both handling and storage time.
Cross-docking allows businesses to manage warehouse inventory in a seamless manner, and it makes storage a lot easier for that reason alone. If you have a complex shipping system, you can opt for wave picking. If you adopt an advanced tracking method, you will find both cross docking and wave picking to save money and time.” – 7 Best Practices for Inventory Management for Warehouses, Newcastle Systems; Twitter: @NewcastleSys
38. Reduce repair cycle times. “Managers can do this by establishing and improving lead times for replacement parts and equipment. One strategy is to look for local sources of essential parts and equipment as a way to reduce repair and transportation time. A major contributor to efficient repairs is the process of packaging and delivering products. Delays with this process alone can increase direct labor costs for front-line technicians by up to 50 percent.” – Andy Gager, Special Report: Timely, Cost-Effective Inventory Management, Marshal Institute; Twitter: @Marshall_Inst
39. Reexamine your safety stock. “Business leaders sometimes ask, ‘What level of inventory should we never fall below?’ The answer is zero. Safety stocks are only useful if they are used. The whole point of safety stock is to protect against expected variations in demand and supply. If you never use your safety stock, you have too much.
On average, you should be below the safety-stock level half the time when replenishment is available, and above it the other half. If this is not the case, you need to re-examine what products you keep in each location to get the most from your inventory dollar.” – Jane B. Lee, 8 Common-Sense Rules for Inventory Management, Inbound Logistics; Twitter: @ILMagazine
40. Update purchase orders in a timely manner. “A common problem that companies face is changing purchase orders after they’ve been created. Sometimes you need to make date changes, quantity adjustments, and account for incomplete deliveries, and receiving errors. This creates problems because inventory projections rely heavily on accurate purchase order information. Make a set of rules, and ensure that daily and weekly processes are in place, and that purchase orders are updated in a timely manner.” – Inventory Management Best Practices, Fishbowl Inventory; Twitter: @fishbowl
Warehouse Organization for Inventory Management
41. Consider a new floor plan. “Many warehouse managers initially balk at the prospect of restructuring their floor plan. After all, this can be a huge undertaking and it requires everyone involved in the process to get used to the new layout. However, there is often room for modifications that can boost efficiency. Product supply and demand are constantly evolving, which means storage changes are often in order to keep things running as smoothly as possible.” – Melinam, Tips for Warehouse Inventory Management, IntelliTrack; Twitter: @IntelliTrack
42. Consider pallet racking options. “Consider your pallet racking options for storing and managing slow-moving SKUs. This storage won’t rely on throughput, but rather the ability to hold more inventory in the least amount of space. You may have to use different types of modules to accommodate your different types of inventory.” – Small Mid-Sized Warehouse Inventory Management | Managing Slow-Moving SKUs, Southwest Solutions Group; Twitter: @cutyourspace
43. Ensure proper slotting. “Proper slotting not only delivers much needed space, but appropriately locates the fastest-moving items closer to docks and more accessible locations, minimizing travel distance and maximizing overall throughput and productivity. Unfortunately many companies tend to neglect their slotting.
‘In the best companies, slotting is a daily activity not a quarterly or annual activity,’ says Open Sky’s Sardeson. ‘As a daily activity, you can stay on top of it because it’s only a little bit of work and completely manageable. If you slot annually it becomes a major undertaking.’
St. Onge’s Wheeler also suggests investigating if two items have a high probability of being ordered on the same order. ‘If so, you want them close to each other in the picking area so that your travel distance is minimized, reducing your labor costs.'” – Maida Napolitano, Top 8 Guidelines to Improve Inventory Management, Modern Materials Handling; Twitter: @modernmhmag
44. Establish accurate inventory naming and labeling practices. “Inventory labeling goes hand-in-hand with inventory organization—well-organized inventory means that on a macro scale, warehouse staff will be able to find the right section, and well-labeled inventory will help on a micro scale with finding the right material/product within the section.
Good inventory labeling extends beyond a company’s own warehouse and has two parts. Within the warehouse, each item needs to be named and marked with details which fully describe the item, as well as any special needs (i.e., expiration dates, hazardous material, packaging requirements, etc.).” – Catherine Muir & Ted Rohm, 6 Tips to Improve Inventory Accuracy, Technology Evaluation Centers; Twitter: @TECtweets
45. Improve warehouse layout. “Warehouse layout can significantly affect business efficiency because it determines how quickly and accurately goods are selected and shipped out to customers. The picking and packing process takes up most time and when the warehouse isn’t organized, say, when goods are not categorized properly or when there are no labels on the shelves, pickers might spend a great deal of time finding products to be shipped out. This is a waste of time, resulting in inefficiency, unhappy customers, and even lost sales.
Consider implementing a more organized stock system to improve your warehouses’ layout. Additionally, make sure that items that get sold more often should be near the packing and shipping area. That way, they are more accessible in terms of finding and retrieving before they get sent out. Simply studying and making inferences from sales reports regularly will give you an idea on where, and how, to place goods inside warehouses. Also, note that sales trends and patterns continuously change and are largely different in different areas, the organization of your warehouses have to reflect these location-specific demands for your products.” – Clara Lu, Gain Inventory Control with Multiple Warehouse Management Tactics, TradeGecko; Twitter: @tradegecko
46. Label everything. “If you think that only labeling certain, designated items will help you to cut work and use your time and energy more efficiently, think again! While it might save time in the short term, skimping on labels will inevitably lead to missing orders, lost items, and lost time. Clear, consistent labeling will make finding the items your employees need hassle-free, regardless of their familiarity with warehouse layout.” – Charles Malzahn, Warehouse Inventory Management Tips You’re Forgetting, Reliant; Twitter: @Reliant_Inv
47. Label inventory and locations. “Time and labor are critical commodities in operating any warehouse or third party logistics business. Warehouses that lack adequate signage and labeling tend to have higher operating costs including that of labor.
48. Lay the foundation with proper asset categorization. “The first step in effective inventory management is to properly categorize your company’s assets. Defining moveable versus fixed assets is a broad categorization, but you should also categorize assets based on a system that makes sense for your company, whether that means categorizing assets by use case, by department, value, or some other metric. Storing all of this information in a central asset database is the key to maintaining precise control over your inventory, quickly finding the information needed, and analyzing the data collected to further optimize your inventory processes.” – Nicole Pontius,5 Best Practices for Inventory management that Apply to Every Business, Camcode; Twitter: @Camcode
50. Rely on the experience of senior staff. “Efficiency is critical in the warehouse. When trying to find solutions to ways that processes can be improved or streamlined, welcome the participation of your senior staff. Although it may seem like a waste of time, having a few members of your leadership teams walk the warehouse floor along with senior level employees can provide new insight and ideas. Working together in this way can help to improve communication between the various groups. Collaborating on ways to reduce bottlenecks, duplicated processes, resource issues, and timesaving strategies can produce long term savings for your warehouse.” – Inventory Management Continued: Tricks to Optimize Your Warehouse Operations, Datex; Twitter:@Datexcorp
Products and Tracking Solutions from Camcode: