Busy warehouse managers and business owners have little time to waste. They want their team to be on top of everything they are responsible for, so their business runs efficiently. Part of efficiently running and managing a warehouse space is to regularly run a warehouse audit. Performing an audit of each process in your operations can be a daunting task. Instead of taking shortcuts that lead to errors, there are a few warehouse audit best practices that you should know. Check out this warehouse audit checklist to help you determine which areas of your business you should audit.
What Is a Warehouse Audit?
A warehouse audit is a general term that applies to thoroughly assessing and monitoring any operation in a warehouse. Some of these audits include inventory, policies and procedures, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), shipping and logistics, and accounting. Warehouse audits are not performed on the same schedule for every company. Factors like the size of the warehouse and the current resources a business has will impact whether they audit their warehouse daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Why Is a Warehouse Audit Important?
Warehouse audits are required to run an efficient retail business, but there is a process that should be followed. The steps you should consider include the following:
- Define your objectives
- Conduct inventory counts for your entire warehouse
- Observe warehouse operations
- Interview key warehouse employees and adjust to improve efficiency
- Employ inventory management software to synthesise your data
- Evaluate the results of your audits
- Create plans to optimize
To break these responsibilities down even further, here is a warehouse audit checklist to help you.
Warehouse Audit Checklist
Aspects That Need to Be Audited
Break up your warehouse audit into categories by determining what needs to be audited. For example, a private company may want to focus audits on the efficiency of warehouse operations, while a public company may need to focus on inventory valuation to disclose financial data. E-commerce businesses will need to audit multiple operations in their warehouse to make sure that everything is as seamless and efficient as possible.
Physical Inventory Count
Another important area to audit for a company that stores goods in a warehouse is the inventory. Your inventory count needs to match the quantities in your inventory management software. It also needs to match the count on your online store. If there are discrepancies and issues with your inventory tracking and counts, they need to be dealt with as quickly as possible for optimal customer satisfaction. Doing a full inventory count of your entire warehouse may be time-consuming, but there are ways to break up the inventory counts by section or category to complete this audit.
Observe Warehouse Operations
As you focus on customer satisfaction, sales and marketing, and managing your business, it is easy to lose touch with the daily goings on of your warehouse, especially during busy times. Although no two businesses are identical, each one should have a full perspective of their fulfillment process. By viewing the operations from an outside perspective through reporting and tracking warehouse software, you can get a better view of hidden weak spots and provide solutions.
Interview Your Employees
Your employees make your business run but if they do not have the appropriate tools and strategies to do their job effectively, you may not be getting the most out of their time and service. Regularly meet with your employees to find out what inefficiencies they experience in the day to day operations. Learn what can be improved, which policies are not being followed, and other important information about your warehouse. Talk to your employees in every area of your warehouse to get a comprehensive idea of how you can optimize. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Do you understand all the safety compliance policies? Do you feel consistently safe while working?
- Have you noticed any issues in the system that you feel might be hindering workflow?
- Are you aware of any extra inventory or unused supplies that might not have been part of the initial count in this audit?
- How do you track and record damaged or lost inventory in the inventory system? And, do you feel that you have enough access to the inventory system to do your job efficiently?
Cost and Process Control
Depending on the size of your company and the nature of your business, there are various sources where you can analyze how money is being spent. By tracking all the data for spending and receiving money, you can assess your costs and processes based on a historical analysis of trends over time. Process control audits are also useful as they can reveal best practices for each department, and for your entire warehouse. For example, there may be better paths for order selection for your pickers that save time compared to the paths they currently take.
Contact APS Fulfillment, Inc. for Warehousing Solutions
Although this is not a comprehensive list, it is easy to see that there are many areas to audit to improve your warehouse operations. If you are feeling overwhelmed with this task, you can find relief in knowing there are fulfillment companies that offer third-party solutions to help you optimize. While you focus on your core competences, our team can help you with inventory management, fulfillment, pick and pack, warehouse optimization, and much more.
APS Fulfillment, Inc. is prepared to help you find the right solutions to meet your warehouse organization and inventory management needs. We provide services such as real-time inventory management, e-commerce fulfillment, product fulfillment, returns processing, and more. There are endless benefits to working with a 3PL provider 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.