Cloud Software, Warehouse management

How to choose an inventory system for your warehouse

BY Tom Reddon 5 May, "17

Are you new to the material handling and supply chain game and looking for unique and proven ways to optimize your inventory? Are you currently managing a warehouse and a whole lot of stock and don’t know what to do with it?

Choosing the right warehouse inventory management software is essential for enhancing and promoting efficiency and productivity in your daily operations. There are several strategies and approaches you can take to garner success with your raw goods and materials, including weighing which type of warehouse inventory management software to consider. Here is how you can choose an effective warehouse management system for your business and how these tactics can help your daily initiatives:Warehouse operator taking notes - Warehouse Inventory System

  1. Choose an inventory method (LIFO vs FIFO)

Some may know this as Last-In First Out versus First-In First-Out but we like to use the acronyms of LIFO and FIFO. Each approach yields advantages and disadvantages to stock tracking and inventory management. Choosing between LIFO or FIFO comes down to personal preference.

First-in First-Out is fast and methodical, as the name entails. The first products curated and produced are the first one to go out to meet customer orders. This is a great strategy for high-volume warehouses that are consistently engaged in the logistics game – especially for perishable items, as shelf life is a variable that has to be taken into consideration in these situations.

For Last-In First Out, this is the common approach for those that manufacture and produce their own products. The focus of LIFO is cost-reduction as the idea is to lower costs from overall procurement operations.

Are you using the First-In First-Out system of inventory management in your warehouse? Try TradeGecko's Batch and Expiry Tracking now!

Click here to find out more about batching and expiry.

  1. Establish where your products will be

Where you place your items is instrumental towards the success of your overall material handling operation. In some cases, some businesses have multiple facilities so location plays a factor in distribution.

With warehouse inventory management software like TradeGecko, you can choose to transfer stock between your warehouses or arrange to receive stock into a specific warehouse. You’ll also be able to pull up location reports by storage location with stock on hand details, committed stock, last ordered stock, inventory value, profit value, and profit margin.

For intent and purposes, if any enterprise has one warehouse to store all their goods, where they store these various products is impactful. According to Atlantic Rack, it is essential to determine if you can implement automation or drive through pallet rack systems to further enhance storage.

  1. Assign locations

Assigning locations ensures that staff knows where to put items when they arrive and also where to acquire them when they need to go out. A popular choice is placing the best-selling items at the front of the warehouse and packing slow-moving items away to decrease handling time for fast-moving products.  However, this is subject to the dynamics of customer demand.

Executing internal audits to confirm product numbers is a great tactic to mitigate and eliminate deficiencies in the early stages. For example, if you’re using a warehouse management system like TradeGecko, you might want to keep an eye on your sales reports. This will help you stay on top of stock levels and ensure your warehouses hold the right products to best meet market demands, by constantly readjusting your reorder points.

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Updating your reorder points regularly can highlight fast-selling products and enable you to identify the right quantity of goods to order. To help you calculate your reorder points for all your products, you can download this Excel reorder point calculator.

  1. Implement a documentation system that is easy to follow

No one likes paperwork. However, to track and effectively monitor and moderate warehouse inventory management one must have a system in place to document all shipping and receiving activities. Here are steps you can take to simplify and streamline these processes.

  1. Conduct a warehouse survey.
  2. Collate all information regarding SKUs and be sure to pay attention to ergonomics.
  3. Institute automated tools such as RFID to enhance efficiency.
  4. Manage and assign bay location IDs for recordkeeping.
  5. Maintain an organized, neat and orderly system that is easy to continuously oversee.

Implementing an easy documentation system that is easy to follow reduces handling time and eliminates downtime in material handling processes. In addition to bolstering employee morale and allowing personnel to focus more attention on the operations themselves, an easy-to-follow documentation system also mitigates the chance for a mistake to occur.

Choosing an inventory system for your warehouse is not as complicated it seems. It starts from choosing to right methodology and establishing where to assign and keep your products. Following this up with a documentation system that is easy to follow will aid the integration of your new inventory system. With TradeGecko’s warehouse inventory management system, you’ll be able to save time, sell more, and take control of your inventory - giving you more bandwidth to focus on growing your business!

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About the author:

Tom Reddon is a Forklift Specialist and Blog Manager for National Forklift Exchange. Connect with him via Twitter at @TomReddon

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See also:

Recent study shows that 66% of warehouses plan to expand technology investments by 2018

Addressing warehouse operational challenges through warehouse management best practices

What is Warehouse Management Software (WMS) and how can it benefit your business?

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