The warehouse is the core of inventory management where all goods are received, sent to production, and shipped out and delivered to customers. All these aspects must be streamlined and in perfect synchronization to ensure that your customers get their orders on time. As straight forward as it may seem, inventory management is not an easy task, especially when it comes to inventory management for multiple warehouse. The key to successfully managing multiple warehouses is to get a good understanding of the challenges they present and develop strategies for how to overcome them. Here are some tips for how to manage multiple warehouses and inventory.
Manage Space Efficiently
The more warehouses your company owns and the larger these warehouses are, the more challenging it becomes to maintain order and create an efficient layout to easily fulfill customer orders. Your goal should be to fill orders accurately in the least amount of time to lower the cost of goods sold and maximize your bottom line. Even small savings go a long way.
Keep a Close Eye on Bestsellers
Another important tip on managing multiple warehouse inventory is to keep a close eye on your bestselling products. You should consider products from all channels combined. By regularly assessing the fast selling products and the quantity that you sell each month, you can prepare yourself to restock these items to ensure that you never run out. This valuable information will also help you decide which warehouse each of your products should be stored in. This way, you will have a more effective system that lets you offer seamless fulfillment of your orders.
Update in Real-Time
One of the most critical tips for multi-warehouse inventory management is to ensure that data from all your warehouse and ordering systems are synchronized and updated in real-time. You may be able to skip this step if you run a small business with one warehouse in your home; however, if you are a growing business that requires more than one warehouse location, you will need a quality system to ensure that you can manage your data. Third-party logistics providers offer you the following multi-warehouse management features:
- Create multiple warehouses
- Manage quantity and transfer inventory between warehouses
- Channel-based warehouse inventory allocation management
- Implement 3PL and Amazon FBA integrations
- Manage dropship orders
- Implement automatic order routing by the supplier
- Create invoices, packing slips, and shipping labels
- Get order notifications
- Integrate with carriers and shipping software
- Access real-time order status with all marketplaces
Use Wave Picking and Cross-Docking
As you plan your solution for multi-warehouse inventory management, you should make sure that you are looking for a lean operation. Your goal should be to keep costs as low as possible, without compromising efficiency. Wave picking and cross-docking are two warehouse management systems that can help you achieve this goal. Cross-docking is when a product is shipped out as soon as it arrives. If you manufacture your own products, cross-docking means that you develop a made to order system that reduces the amount a storage space you need to lower warehouse costs. Wave picking is for larger growing businesses and involves more storage space where orders are filled sequentially throughout each day. Depending on your inventory management software, you may be able to use both methods in your shipping system.
Count Stock Independently
Another important tip is to do stock counts at each warehouse. It’s easy to make the mistake of assuming you only need to track the total number of products, when you should be assessing the levels at each of your warehouses. You need to keep an eye on your products in each location to ensure stock levels are balanced.
Overcome Communication Difficulties
An important challenge that you need to overcome is communication between your staff members at your different locations. It’s impossible to have everyone working from the same office or warehouse, so establishing remote collaboration can increase your ability to maintain good communication between your employees. Third-party logistics providers will provide you with real-time data and tracking of all items, so that each of your locations has a live view of what is happening with your inventory.
Improve Your Warehouse Layout
The way you organize goods in your warehouse can significantly affect how efficient you are as a business. This is because your layout determines how quickly and accurately goods can be picked and shipped out to customers. One of the lengthiest processes in the supply chain is the picking and packing process, especially when the warehouse isn’t organized. An inefficient warehouse layout wastes time, resulting in unhappy customers and lost sales.
The good news is that you can implement a more organized stock system to improve your warehouse layout. Items that get sold often should be near the packing and shipping area. This will make them more accessible so that warehouse staff can find and retrieve them before sending them out. Keeping an eye on your sales reports will also help you understand where and how to place your goods inside your warehouse. Lastly, you should make sure all your products are clearly labeled so that they can be easily found when needed. Barcode scanning technology can help with this process.
Use APS as Your Third-Party Logistics Service Provider
Real time inventory management can help you keep better track of your orders, sales, and the locations of your products at each of your warehouses. You can benefit from immediate inventory updates, automation, increased information accuracy, and much more when you have a professional team helping you run your inventory management. If you want to implement a robust inventory management system, our third-party logistics company can help you.
APS Fulfillment, Inc. cares about our clients’ success. We provide services such as real time inventory management, e-commerce fulfillment, fulfilment solutions, and fulfillment markets. There are endless benefits to working with a third-party logistics company that uses the best-quality software systems to manage your warehouse, so if you’re looking for the right company, look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. You can contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (954) 582-7450.