Managing your inventory is one of the most important aspects of running a warehouse. That’s because inventory management really is what a warehouse is all about—everything a warehouse does boils down to moving inventory around, even if it’s just moving it on or off of a truck. Without a good inventory management system, you’re going to quickly run into some issues. Here are a few tips for handling your inventory.
Look to the Past and Project the Future
Today’s electronic inventory systems make it very easy to look back at what your warehouse stored a few weeks, months, or even years ago. This can be very useful for determining when your busiest times of the year are. Once you’ve determined trends in your warehouse, you can more accurately plan on how many workers you’ll need, when you need to look at using temporary space to hold overstock, and when the best times to do warehouse maintenance and upgrading is. You can also use past records to project future income, allowing you to better plan your warehouse budget so you know when you can afford to purchase new shelving, dock levelers, and other items.
New Inventory Systems are a Necessity, not a Luxury
If you haven’t upgraded your inventory management software in ten years or more, it’s vastly outdated. New systems make use of RFIDs, barcodes, smartphones, tablets, and other new technology to quickly and effortlessly add, remove, and track inventory throughout your warehouse.
Some warehouses have automated scanners installed at the loading docks so that the identifying chip in every pallet is automatically scanned and logged. If the pallets don’t have this type of identification, they can be labeled with a barcode and manually scanned. Each time a pallet is moved, it’s scanned and entered into the system, too. Most warehouses also have each pallet rack location connected to a barcode, too, so moving pallets is as easy as scanning a few different barcodes.
Yes, the cost to upgrade to one of these systems may seem like a lot, but when you consider how much time it saves and how much stronger it makes your inventory control system, the reasons why many warehouses have gone to these systems becomes obvious.
Metrics are a Necessity
You can’t make improvements to your inventory system if you don’t have any metrics or measurements to use as a basis for change. Collect as much data as you can about your inventory, your response times, and how your warehouse functions overall. This data can help you see where you need to make improvements. While it does help with determining busy times as mentioned above, it can also help in many other ways.
Old Inventory Does you No Good
Do you have some items that have been sitting in your warehouse for months or even years with no sign of being moved out? This inventory is simply taking up space. If you still have a client paying for it, then you can continue to collect that money, but if this inventory is connected to your own storefront, it may be time to re-evaluate the product and determine what needs to be done to get it moved out of your warehouse. It’s taking up valuable space that can be used for other items.