Warehouse management is the most important part of logistics operations. Your order fulfillment depends on how you manage your warehouse. If you keep it disorganized, then there’ll be consequences you’ll have to face such as inventory loss and shipping delays. You can easily prevent those situations by implementing good warehouse management tactics. Here are seven warehouse management practices you can apply to improve your inventory control and eventually speed up your shipping process.
1. Optimize your warehouse layout
The basic thing to do is arranging the space and layout of your warehouse. Plan the utilization of each space in your warehouse. Make sure it facilitates the movement of goods. Mark every shelf to minimize confusion while storing and picking up stuff. And most importantly, make sure your warehouse has enough space for forklifts or pallet jacks to mobilize.
2. Store your items based on the turnover ratio
Place your fast moving items in areas that are easily accessible, for example near the shipping, staging, and receiving area. This will greatly save a lot of time and energy, so your staff will be able to handle more tasks.
To easily identify the fast moving items (and the slow ones), consider using an automated inventory solution. The system can also help you analyze demands and trends so you can make better business decisions.
3. Perform cycle counts regularly
In addition to performing physical counts, conducting cycle counts is also necessary. They are less disruptive than physical counts that require you to stop all the warehouse operations. You’ll only need to count small subsets of the your inventory in specific locations in your warehouse, so that the operations can keep running as usual. We recommend that you perform cycle counts once a quarter to reduce the risk of inventory shrinkage.
4. Increase your warehouse security
Avoid inventory shrinkage by improving the security of your warehouse. Provide access cards for staff in charge of managing inventory. Install CCTVs in every aisle of the warehouse to keep an eye on who goes in and out of the warehouse. In order to be able to distinguish between your staff and unauthorized visitors, we suggest you to require your staff to wear their uniforms and ID cards.
5. Label all your items
Make sure all your items already have SKUs and barcodes. It’s also important to re-check your inventory to see if there are duplicate labels. To simplify the tracking and picking processes, use an integrated inventory management system that is integrable with SKU or barcode scanners.
6. Reduce material handling by implementing cross-docking
To reduce storage time and costs as well speed up the shipping process, you can try implementing cross-docking which requires a little to zero storage. This can be done by sorting and consolidating the inbound materials and putting them into staging areas (if you have ones) or to outbound trucks to be shipped to specific locations.
7. Train your staff for better warehouse management
Staff responsible for inventory should be able to manage it well. They also have to comply with all the warehouse regulations. Therefore, conducting staff training is very important.
Introduce them to the inventory management system that your company uses so they can make the most of it. Monitor their performance and allow them to give feedback to help you improve your human resource management.