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What is Warehouse Inventory Management? The Ultimate Resource Guide

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Key Takeaway

  • Warehouse inventory management is the process of receiving, tracking, auditing, and managing goods within a warehouse to ensure efficient order fulfillment and optimal inventory levels
  • Warehouse inventory management may seem like a relatively simple process on the surface. After all, it’s inventory in, inventory out, right?

    In reality, managing warehouse inventory is a far more complex undertaking, so much so that various schools of thought have formed around the best approach to effective inventory control, resulting in a few well-established methodologies that provide a framework for inventory control in the warehouse and other settings. 

    Beyond these frameworks, there are many other considerations, such as:

    • Should you use a warehouse inventory management software application?
    • What about warehouse inventory management mobile apps?
    • You’ve probably heard that mobility is all the rage among enterprises these days, but does mobility apply to the warehouse, and how can you compliment traditional software with the convenience provided by mobile apps?

    On top of these critical decisions, there are handheld scanning devices to consider, metrics to track to maximize productivity and profitability, and much more.

    We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to warehouse inventory management as a robust resource to answer all of your most pressing questions about how you can improve processes, make smart buying decisions, and implement the systems and foundations that your warehouse needs to thrive.

    Warehouse Inventory Management Methodologies

    Warehouse inventory management methodologies

    Efficient warehouse management relies on a clear, established set of standards and procedures that ensure consistency. There’s no single best methodology for managing warehouse inventory; in fact, there are several widely used schools of thought including just-in-time inventory management, ABC analysis, cross-docking, dropshipping, and others. The right warehouse inventory management solution depends, of course, on several factors, most importantly your business model. Additionally, some strategies for inventory management are complimentary and can be used alongside other approaches, while others stand on their own.
    Check out these 10 resources for more insights on the various methodologies for warehouse inventory management and how to choose the right methodology for your business:

    Warehouse Inventory Management Best Practices

    Best practices for warehouse inventory management

    Along with broad inventory management methodologies, there are dozens of inventory management strategies that focus on optimizing a specific facet of operations. For example, forecasting is a widely used strategy for optimizing inventory and space utilization while maximizing profitability.
    For more information about warehouse inventory management best practices and how you can put them to use today to gain better control over your inventory, check out the 14 resources below:

    Important Warehouse Inventory Management Metrics

    Warehouse inventory management metrics

    In addition to following best practices, there are important metrics that can aid warehouses in staying on track and optimizing business operations. From setting benchmarks on minimum and maximum stock levels to determining the ideal order quantity, preparing and monitoring budgets, and other metrics and calculations, effective inventory management is about implementing effective systems and then keeping tabs on reports and measurements to ensure that you’re meeting business objectives.
    Want to learn more about the most important metrics you should be tracking to keep tabs on warehouse inventory? These 12 resources break down the most important metrics to measure:

    Choosing the Right Warehouse Inventory Management Software

    Warehouse inventory management software

    Warehouse leaders increasingly turn to sophisticated software applications to manage inventory. Cloud-based systems can connect with apps (discussed below) and scanning devices for a seamless, real-time flow of data throughout the organization. Warehouses have become fast-paced, bustling business atmospheres with a constant flow of inventory in and out of the facility, making the real-time availability of accurate data an important component in effective inventory management.
    Choosing the right warehouse inventory management software can seem like a daunting task, but these 13 resources will guide you to the right choice:

    Enhancing Your Inventory Management System with Mobile Apps

    Mobile apps for warehouse inventory management

    Beyond warehouse inventory management software, mobile apps can further improve the efficiency of your warehouse operation. Often, the most efficient warehouses make use of a combination of tools including barcode scanners, software applications, and mobile apps that work seamlessly together to facilitate the real-time flow of information. Mobility is a hot topic among many industries, and warehouses are no exception. But choosing the right apps that integrate seamlessly with your software applications is the best way to avoid technical hangups that can hinder productivity.
    To learn more about how to use mobile apps to boost productivity and improve inventory management and compare the top warehouse inventory management apps for Android and iOS devices, check out these 10 resources:

    Choosing the Right Barcode Scanners

    No warehouse inventory management system is complete without barcode scanning devices. Many warehouses make use of handheld scanning devices that enable workers to quickly and easily scan racks and shelves to reduce picking and stocking time without being limited by the length of a cord. Of course, there are tradeoffs for wireless and wired handheld scanners, so the right scanning devices depends on your specific applications and business cases.
    The following 10 resources offer valuable insights on how to choose the right barcode scanners for your warehouse:

    Low-Tech Solutions for Warehouse Inventory Management

    Technology has made great strides in the warehousing field, providing valuable tools and systems to streamline warehouse operations, improve efficiency and accuracy. But technology isn’t the only way to improve inventory management; there are plenty of low-tech and legacy solutions and tools — such as barcode labels and appropriate warehouse signage — to keep tabs on inventory and facilitate a smooth workflow. In fact, low- and no-tech solutions are sometimes more suitable for specific business uses.

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