Technology has become a vital part of every business, and inventory management is no exception. Whether it’s warehouse receiving, order fulfillment, or manifests, if your employees are still relying on pen and paper or simple spreadsheets to manage your products, you’re missing an opportunity to improve accuracy and productivity. Follow these tips to utilize technology to prevent inaccurate warehouse inventory counts and keep your operations running smoothly.
1. Find the technology that best suits your operations
Determine your company’s inventory needs and what level of technology would benefit your operations, including warehouse receiving systems, order fulfillment systems, warehouse management systems, and barcode scanners. While all of these systems are designed for different aspects of warehouse operations, they can easily be integrated with each other to provide a total inventory management solution.
2. Keep your warehouse in good order
An organized warehouse allows items to be easily identified for customer orders and ensures that new materials and products will have a place they can be received and stored. To keep your warehouse operating smoothly, a barcode scanning system can quickly become your most important tool. Combined with clear inventory location labels that are easy to read, this system can ensure order accuracy and reduce human errors while also improving inventory management procedures.
3. Create and enforce storage and receipt procedures
Well defined management procedures are vital to maintaining a structured warehouse that operates smoothly. To ensure maximum effectiveness, make sure all of your procedures are properly documented and that all employees receive adequate training on compliance. Written procedures should be drafted for physical interaction, material handling, safety guidelines, and reporting standards. Once you have completed the procedures, be sure to provide both written copies and online versions to your employees. It is vital that your employees can easily check a procedure without having to walk across the warehouse or into a different building. By offering online access, your employees can answer their own questions right from a phone or tablet.
4. Utilize metrics to track improvement
Warehouse inventory improvements can only be measured properly against a predetermined group of metrics. Regular audits that measure actual quantity on hand vs. the quantity reported by your WMS are the only way to determine the true effectiveness of any efforts to improve inventory management, so be sure to measure inventory accuracy both before and after any changes you implement.