You may think that warehouse inventory management is the practice of arranging your inventory so that it can be found quickly. But there is more to it than that. Good warehouse organization is not only about putting everything in its place.
Good Warehouse Inventory Management Starts With Upkeep
Firstly, make sure your warehouse meets your current standards. To do this, you should inspect your operation and organization regularly.
- Ensure your warehouse is:
- Housing stock so it can be easily and safely accessed
- Placing “hot” SKUs between waist and shoulder height so they can be picked quickly
- Has a dedicated area for damaged items and that those damaged items are dealt with on a daily basis
Always keep in mind: A mess is undesirable because it can slow your pickers down.
Know Your Top Sellers
Next, place your high-volume items closer to the shipping area. Make sure they are easily accessible – you’ll eliminate a lot of unnecessary labor time. However, this should only apply to your proven top sellers to avoid unnecessary physical inventory re-allocation.
Utilize Cycle Counts
And finally, don’t wait until the annual physical inventory count comes to perform regular inventory control audits. Perform cycle counts, a type of perpetual inventory counting that takes places in waves over time and analyze their discrepancies to perfect the time it should take you to go through all locations.
It’s good to have cycle counts go through all locations every quarter so that you have a more accurate back-office system.
Make Room For Receiving
A lot of inventory errors can happen at receiving if your inventory management personnel don’t have enough space to work. However, you can prevent receiving errors by giving them a small office at the end of the room. Eliminating receiving errors will relieve you from losing time, money, and credibility.
Practice Priority Picking
Create colored orders or pick lists. These will help your material handlers identify the products that go to your most valuable customers because they can observe the color priority.
Warehouse inventory management doesn’t have to feel like a never-ending cycle of receiving, picking, packing, and shipping with no method to the madness. If you take the time now to put warehouse organization into practice on a daily basis, it can actually feel quite refreshing.
Operations can run smoothly, products can get picked faster, and employees can be happier with the right tools and techniques.