With the increasing pressure to deliver faster order fulfillment, it’s more important than ever for companies to streamline, improve, and reassess their existing warehouse operations and practices. Thanks to recent advancements in picking technology, companies are beginning to see improvements in their warehouses; however, one area that continues to be overlooked is replenishment. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of stock replenishment, plus we provide some helpful warehouse replenishment best practices to help you streamline your inventory management in your warehouse.
What Is Warehouse Replenishment?
Warehouse or stock replenishment involves moving inventory from its reserve status to primary storage, so that it is ready to be picked, packed, and shipped when a customer places an order. This process can also be thought of as moving items from upstream in the warehouse process to downstream. Warehouse replenishment may sound like a no-brainer, but it it’s extremely important in average- to large-sized warehouses. If your pickers have a hard time locating items or if there are errors in finding or utilizing the item, this seemingly minor mistake can slow down the entire workflow and cause you serious issues. By optimizing replenishment, you can reduce the amount of times these errors occur, save on costs, and create a more efficient system. Here’s how you can improve your warehouse replenishment.
Methods of Warehouse Replenishment
Warehouse management systems (WMS) allow companies to set individual reorder amounts per item. Once a picker has lowered the number of items present below the threshold, the system will automatically initiate its process of refilling the location. This keeps your inventory at a stable level throughout the year and prevents your customers from needing to wait for back-ordered items in times of unexpectedly high sales volumes.
The top-off method of replenishment is useful at times when picking operations are less active to stabilize the stock to acceptable levels. It is also useful when you have a shortage of work, as it supports or promotes opportunities in active areas. This method is also preferred if you are expecting a large wave of pick work or a large volume, and you want to be on top of it well in advance.
For this method, inventory is only moved on an as-needed basis. This method reduces wasted time and is the favorite approach if there is a limit on the number of available picking locations. However, it can sometimes require extensive planning and may have more uncertainty.
Tips to Optimize Warehouse Replenishment
Plan for Emergency Replenishment
With so many moving parts in warehouse management, it’s important to plan for emergencies. For example, if a picker cannot find an item at its defined location, they should move the in-process cart to a resolution area and move on to their next job. At the designated resolution area, a specialist can verify the accurate information of the pick location, perform a cycle count, and arrange for it to be immediately replenished. By allowing these processes to continue at the same time, you can find solutions without significant delays in your fulfillment activity.
Keep an Eye on Fast Moving Inventory
If you have products with known backorders present and an obvious demand for upcoming picks, it is a good idea to replenish that inventory directly from the receiving dock. Then it can be moved directly to pick locations to reduce any unnecessary storage and the need to replenish the inventory again later. If you choose to replenish directly from receiving, you should select the appropriate forward pick location based on forecasted volume. If you don’t, you’ll end up with too much.
Enhance Picking Accuracy
Another tip to optimize your warehouse replenishment is to use automation wherever possible. Using this technology to your advantage can reduce order errors and eliminate future replenishment issues. Some automation technologies you can use include sensors and robotics to enhance picking accuracy and direct replenishment activities based on specific data.
Choose APS Fulfillment, Inc. for Warehouse Management
There are many problems that can occur with poor warehouse management. From communication issues and time wasted, to inaccurate inventory counts and failing customer expectations, it’s important that you have proactive solutions in place to prevent these issues from occurring. With a growing business, it can be challenging to achieve this goal. Therefore, it is beneficial to partner with a third-party logistics company. When you choose the right company, you can benefit from their warehouse management strategies that are already in place. They can take care of your inventory management, technology in the warehouse, and your shipping and delivery, so that you can meet customer demand and keep up with your growth.
Looking for the right partner to help you face these challenges and help with warehouse replenishment? Look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. We can help your business grow while reducing costs, so that you can see tangible growth in profit and inefficiency. We understand the various methods of warehouse replenishment to help you find the right solutions for your specific issues. For more information about how we can help you or to request a quote for our services, contact us at [email protected] or by phone at (954) 582-7450.