Warehouse inventory management Software
You have to operate your inventory and warehouse as long as you run a business. In order to effectively manage warehouse inventory, you would need to dedicate at least a portion of your time and money to it. And doing so will take more time and money on your part. As a result, the greater the number of orders you receive, the more time you must replenish inventory and arrange your warehouse.
This process can be optimized through a variety of methods. The reduction of manual work, human error, and overall costs can be achieved through better inventory management and other measures. Discover why it is important to use warehouse inventory management software and what you can do to implement industry best practices.
What is warehouse inventory management?
In warehouse inventory management, inventory is received, stocked, and tracked in order for the warehouse to function effectively. The warehouse staff management, storage space planning, and cost optimization are also parts of it. All of these decisions directly impact customer satisfaction and fulfillment.
What are the benefits of a warehouse inventory management system?
Logistics costs and supply chain efficiency are influenced by how you manage inventory in your warehouse. Stocks and inventory stored on warehouse racks are likely to come to mind when the thought of inventory management goes into your head.
Despite the fact that it might seem straightforward, there are many other aspects to consider. In fact, this is one of the most important reasons why many enterprises outsource this function to a third party. Investing in inventory management for your warehouse can make a real difference to your business, and you'll find these five reasons below to convince you to do so:
Enhances accuracy of order fulfillment
It is important to plan and manage your warehouse correctly to avoid delays or errors during order fulfillment. An unorganized inventory, a poor packing process, and limited inventory control in your warehouse usually lead to problems with orders. By implementing better warehouse management methods and technologies, you can greatly improve order accuracy and fulfillment speed.
Productivity in warehouses is increased
Automating daily tasks in warehouses that store and record inventory properly. Consequently, your employees will have more time and energy for more strategic tasks, such as logistics expansion and growth. In addition to reducing labor costs, thinking of ways to make your employees more efficient can help you produce orders more quickly and more accurately.
Shipments and deliveries made faster
Shipping times can also be affected by warehouse inventory management. To improve last-mile delivery, warehousing processes can be optimized in a number of ways. Some of these ways are automated order processing or consolidating inventory across multiple fulfillment centers.
A considerable number of businesses automate the shipping process by utilizing tools that can help expedite the shipment process. Some examples of these include automatically updating stock levels and providing tracking for eCommerce orders. By automating the shipping process, you are able to increase output, which will facilitate the management of more orders.
It helps you save money
You can reduce labor, storage, and fulfillment costs by using proper warehouse inventory management by optimizing storage, investing in automated warehouses, and organizing stock to make picking and packing more efficient. Optimizing your supply chain can benefit your bottom line by implementing technologies that automate tasks and reduce human error.
While renting a warehouse can be an expensive undertaking, it should be noted that the process is relatively straightforward. According to most logistics warehouse tenants, the rate is expected to increase by 10% by 2021. In order to save not only time but also money, more and more online retailers are outsourcing their warehousing functions, improving their supply chains and profit margins in the process.
Customers are more satisfied
Delivering customer orders accurately and on time is a sign that a warehouse is performing well. Faster shipping times will ultimately improve customer satisfaction when you prioritize warehouse inventory management. It will also help you reduce shipping costs, as well as increase order accuracy. In addition, a customer can return or exchange a product if they have an issue with their order. A properly managed warehouse and inventory can speed up the process of returning and restocking items.
Warehouse and inventory management software processes
Proper warehouse inventory management can facilitate the smooth running of your supply chain. Proper management ensures that inventory is received efficiently and orders are filled and shipped out promptly. There are a number of inventory management procedures you should consider implementing:
- Optimization of the warehouse layout
The most important thing to consider when managing a warehouse is optimizing your space. To optimize inventory picking and packing, how can you organize the inventory in a way that reduces inventory carrying costs? In order to optimize your warehouse layout, you have to analyze your current layout and find out if it's providing the functionality you need to fulfill your orders.
Warehouse slotting can simplify the picking and packaging process by storing inventory according to what makes sense to pickers. Store frequently ordered products together or organize product types, sizes, and weights to optimize space use. You will be able to increase productivity and save space at the same time.
- Control and recording of warehouse inventory
In order to run a successful eCommerce business, inventory management is critical. Stock can be better controlled by investing in inventory management software and other tools that perform the following tasks:
- Order picking can be automated.
- Real-time tracking of inventory is crucial.
- Demand for inventory forecast.
- Reports on inventory are generated.
- Maintain optimal inventory levels.
For these kinds of tasks, you must have both inventory storage software and a reliable inventory management system. You can find inventory apps that can help you manage and track your inventory, whether you're in self-storage or renting a warehouse. As a result, ongoing audits of inventory and warehouses can be conducted with less time.
Most large, more established brands invest in a comprehensive inventory management system.
- The picking and packing process
In order to reduce human error and to assist the pick and pack team, you should optimize the picking and packing process to the greatest extent possible. It might be possible, for example, to create a "golden zone" for your most popular high-demand goods (i.e., the easiest to access section of your warehouse). It is also common practice in warehouses to gather inventory for similar orders all at once; a process is known as batch picking. The individual items can be picked one at a time, or orders with different SKUs can be picked at one time to reduce trips to the racking section of the warehouse.
It is not uncommon for self-fulfillment to be a time-consuming process due to hidden costs, not to mention that it can be a time-consuming process. The drop-shipping or blind shipping method, in which the manufacturer arranges the shipping, is often preferred by some online brands. As a result, merchants do not have to maintain a warehouse or inventory due to the drop-shipping process.
However, drop-shipping has several disadvantages, including the absence of quality control, a lack of visibility into logistics, and the inability to improve customer service.
- Optimizing and reporting
Using a warehouse management system (WMS), you can monitor the operation of your warehouse and obtain reports about inventory levels. Factors such as performance in fulfilling orders, the number of orders completed within an hour, timely deliveries, and many more may be considered.
You can also use a WMS to facilitate the management of people operations by determining the number of orders you are likely to fulfill per month and then hiring people accordingly. Making more informed decisions about the management of your warehouse may help you improve it. The ability to monitor your warehouse operations and access inventory insights will also optimize warehouse operations.
- inventory and warehouse management software best practices
If basic warehouse inventory management processes are implemented, then you can constantly improve your operations. These four best practices will help you improve your warehouse's efficiency:
- Educate your employees and turn them into experts
Your team can spend more time improving processes if you automate and streamline warehouse tasks.
It depends on who manages and works inside your warehouse to determine how effective it is. Ask your team how you can improve accuracy, efficiency, and consistency by leveraging their input. The best ideas are often conceived by those who are closest to the action.
When your business lacks a logistics department, you can partner with an eCommerce warehousing company, which can relieve them of headaches.
- Plan for busy seasons by using demand forecasting
Your storage costs may become prohibitive during the low season if your sales vary seasonally or month-to-month. Utilizing demand forecasting tools to find answers to the following questions can help you minimize costs despite seasonality:
- The speed at which products are selling
- Are there any slow-moving items
- The number of days you have left of inventory before you will run out (based on SKU velocity)
- The effect of seasons and months on your sales
- Assess the performance of your most popular items based on previous periods
Having access to this type of data will allow you to predict seasons more accurately and stock inventory accordingly.
- Automate inventory management system for warehouse
Many logistics automation solutions offer automated order processing and inventory management functions. You can reduce inventory management and picking and packing time by automating inventory and warehouse tasks and processes. Further, you can automate updating stock levels, permit automatic reordering, and many other features.
Therefore, your staff can concentrate on the fulfillment process rather than wasting time on laborious, manual tasks.
- Inventory control in the warehouse should be implemented
The number of SKUs entering and exiting your warehouse will increase as you expand your business. It is important to conduct inventory control checks on these stock items regularly to make sure the items are not expired, old or damaged. You must maintain order quality control in order to stay on top of suppliers. Manage your inventory batches to ensure that your customers receive high-quality products on a consistent basis.
- Organize your workflow
As a warehouse leader, you will need to develop a system of organizational structure as well as a workflow specific to your warehouse. You should work closely with your warehouse manager on the establishment of a warehouse workflow that fits your business needs. The following points should be addressed by your workflow:
- What is the process for receiving new inventory?
- Where does new inventory go when it is received?
- During arrival, movement, and exit from the warehouse, how is inventory tracked?
Your warehouse manager should also discuss many operational considerations with you, including:
- Inventory audits on a regular basis and cycle counts. A regular cycle count is necessary for inventory control and loss prevention. If you do not perform regular cycle counts, then it is likely that your warehouse manager might not know that units have been lost or stolen. In the future, it is likely that you will need to take stock counts more frequently if you want to keep track of how many items have been lost over the years.
Especially when dealing with products that are about to expire, it is vital that regular cycle counts are implemented. Make sure your most valuable and best-selling products are counted more frequently.
- The accounting methods. FIFO, LIFO, and average costing are all viable options depending on how your warehouse operates. Managing your warehouse with these accounting procedures is of primary importance. Many inventory management systems are integrated with your accounting software, so double entry is eliminated, and human error is prevented. It should be possible to integrate your warehouse inventory management software with the rest of your accounting program.
- Analyzing and reporting data. The distribution of data reports is the task of warehouse managers. In the reports, you will find information such as the number of products, sales data, vendor requests, and lost and expired products. Inventory management software can be customized to generate and distribute these reports.
Features to look in open-source warehouse inventory management system
A warehouse inventory management system should include a few of the following features and functions.
- Scanning and barcoding
Data is represented visually and machine-readable by barcodes. Scanners are used to scan barcodes and enter the data. Once the scan has been completed, the user is able to access the data and take action based on the information displayed. It is common to attach data contained within barcodes to something, such as an SKU, lot number, shipment from a customer, or purchase order.
The WMS vendor may offer bar code functions. However, the inventory app must be able to utilize them.
In this aspect, two different companies or business entities can be configured on the same system so that each retains its own distinct look and feel. So, we are able to successfully implement more comprehensive systems across different industries and products without having to customize them.
Even though every system has some level of being configurable, what is it that you are able to accomplish with it? Here are some examples of how you can configure your system:
- It may be possible to design a product having various colors and sizes. The product is designed to show total sales and stock on hand of the product by its style and its SKU.
- The data security functions within your organization for updating and viewing data are set up by assigning each user a role (group of users). It can also be done by defining an individual configuration table of users for each data security function.
- In order to maximize the level of flexibility in the inventory management system, different types of hardware and interfaces must be compatible.
- Integrated systems and interfaces
In the case that you can't get all key functionalities from one source, such as an ERP or WMS, what are the key integrations and interfaces that you will need? Would it be necessary to add on additional systems? Are there any implementation expenses? The following points should be considered:
- Data relationship between primary and secondary
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Inventory Management Systems (IMS) are typically separate systems in most system environments. It is essential that they be tightly coupled in order to maintain synchronization.
Many businesses often utilize the inventory management system as the "primary" inventory management system.
This model is based on the principle that the WMS acts as a "secondary" system to the inventory management system that is fed and controlled by the latter. In situations where vendors can offer both WMS and inventory management in the same package, this model may prove beneficial
- The support of applications that are used by customers or by salespeople
What are the integrations needed with retail stores, point of sale systems, and websites?
- Inventory analysis made better and more actionable
As we noted earlier, several hundred to thousands of data elements are included in an inventory management system. In what ways does the firm provide "out of the box" inventory management analyses, and do they correspond to your inventory management process? What are the key metrics that can be used to measure the performance of investment portfolios, other than inventory turnover by product or SKU? Can these metrics be gross margin return on investment or return on investment on inventory?
The supply chain is a crucial component of the logistical health of your company. To keep up with the demand, it's essential to know what you can do to improve your site. You should also consider how to turn your warehouse into a success story, deal with shipping issues, and outrank your competitors on the market.
This article gives you a detailed overview of warehouse inventory management and what tips and tricks you can implement to improve it. We hope if you have any confusion regarding warehouse management, it is cleared.