Inventory management and warehousing form the backbone of any FMCG. Keeping a track of consignments that have come in first, making sure they are within their date of expiry before they are sent out for distribution is important in the perishable goods business. Even for stocking hardware, an organized warehouse is inevitable to keep the business functioning smooth.
Since the last thing you want is delivery lags or a mismatch in demand-supply equation. To help you stay on top of the stock, we bring you 5 tips from experts in operations and logistics.
Install Internal Communication Set Up
Your employees need to have their duties and work stations clearly charted out. Get your warehouse a sturdy communication structure with Bluetooth radios and lists for each person handling inventory. Clear and quick response saves a lot of lag time spent in locating the right person at the right moment.
A planned layout focusing on the movement of each person will help you keep track of everything.
Planning and designing the warehouse as per the needs of your business will contribute to the overall success of your business. Timely delivery of the right order to the right person is key. The structural layout will also require you to ensure safety for your employees. Enough space for the layouts will make sure there are no obstructions from stock coming in the way of delivery. This will also save time and effort in re-organizing.
Labelling your stock with the photograph of the contents, communicating with the workers on about what is stored where are small factors that make big difference.
Warehouse layout should be as simple as possible so it is easier for the employees to figure out the ways and locating the stock. There must be enough space for the forklifts if you have a large warehouse to avoid the boxes from toppling over causing accidents.
Smart storage strategy like racking your inventory as per last in first out or first in first out method helps in accurate delivery. Set aside a budget for the stock retrieval system. Be it forklifts, automated conveyor belt or wheeled ladders for small warehouses, these will help speed up the business.
In every warehouse, the inventory could differ in size. Make sure you allocate space for smaller items to be stored in boxes. This will prevent a scattered mess in your warehouse.
Barcoding and Labeling
Barcoding helps you keep track of what is in stock and what is not without the hassle of manually checking every time you receive an order. Same with labeling the products right is crucial. Your customer satisfaction and retention depends on the right goods delivered to the right customer. Prevent mismatch in orders with labeling and barcoding your stock correctly.
Barcode scanners and labeling machines are a good investment depending on the size of your business. Prevent customer dissatisfaction by integrating technology in warehousing.
Order standard storage boxes to reduce confusion for the workers. It is easier to identify the stock from the boxes it is stored in if there are few standard sizes rather than several boxes of different sizes.
Conduct regular checks
Devising a regular inventory check every week, month or twice a year will keep you updated about the stock. Come up with best practice to handle the warehouse. Identify loopholes through regular checks and observations and eliminate the chances of faulty delivery.
There will always be some improvements each time you conduct an inspection. Adapting to new demands and constantly upgrading your inventory will become easier if you know your stock well. Plan this recounting on slow business days or downtime to have enough time to conduct the checks in peace. Eventually you will know what sells more so it will only make sense to store these items in more easily accessible places for fast shipping.
There will always be some scope to improvise inventory. A robust warehouse is the one that is adaptable to last minute changes. Always reserve some space for the unexpected surges in demand and supply. Being well prepared will never backfire.