By Marcus Lansky
Methods for Preventing Costly Inventory Mistakes in Your Warehouse
No matter how large or small your warehouse is, it can be hard to keep track of everything in detail. As a small business owner, it’s crucial that you know how to track and organize your inventory. If there are too many holes in your system, you can lose track of items, or worse, face shipping delays that damage your reputation with customers. Below, find out how you can avoid inventory management issues to keep your business going strong.
Revisit Your Training Procedures
If you hire people to pick and pack your inventory, it’s obviously necessary that they receive training to do their jobs. However, it’s also important to keep up with regular training to make sure employees are all on the same page when procedures or systems change.
Even experienced employees may require retraining occasionally. Therefore, it’s crucial for the warehouse manager to assess and reevaluate employees on a regular basis. A lack of proper training can easily lead to mispicked items, meaning your customer doesn’t get what they expected.
Consider Your Warehouse Layout
The types of inventory you carry and the size of your warehouse or stockroom are just a few of the factors that influence its layout. If you or your order pickers continually run into problems accessing or packing key items, it might be time to reorganize some or all of your warehouse.
The Balance explains how important it is to identify what outcome you hope to achieve when planning your new layout. Without a good strategy, it will be hard to implement any meaningful changes to your storage and organization methods.
Utilize a Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system, or WMS, is a type of software you can implement to stay on top of essentially everything going on in your warehouse. For example, these systems can be used to track inventory counts, which can eliminate the need to do regular audits.
A WMS can also ensure that your sales team and warehouse workers are all on the same page by using the same system. Countless order fulfilment mistakes can occur if there’s a lack of communication between all of your departments.
It’s worth noting that WMS software is ideal for companies that need to keep multiple departments on the same page, such as production, packaging, customer service and order fulfillment. But if you have a smaller-scale operation, you can sometimes stay organized with a simpler system. Just choose a system that is scalable so it can grow as your business grows.
Implement FIFO Practices
First-in, first-out (FIFO) is an inventory management practice commonly used with perishable items. If you sell anything with an expiration date, you should already be using this practice to avoid letting any of your inventory spoil and go to waste.
However, you can also practice FIFO with other types of stock. For example, you may find this technique useful if you sell items that are likely to go out of style or become obsolete if they’re not sold right away. Regardless of what you sell, this method encourages you to turn over your inventory more quickly rather than letting items languish on back shelves where they are more likely to turn into dead stock.
Have a Process for Double-Checking Orders
No matter how organized your warehouse or stockroom is, Peoplevox explains there’s always the chance for human error. You may find it helps to give each invoice a once-over to verify that a shipment contains everything the customer ordered. Taking just a few seconds to verify this information can prevent customer dissatisfaction, as well as returns on items that you may not be able to restock.
Having a disorganized stockroom or warehouse is more than just an annoyance. It can also lead to costly mistakes if you ship incorrect items or can’t find what a customer ordered. By reevaluating your organization methods, providing more training when needed and using software to stay organized, it’s much easier to keep your inventory under control.