Keeping your warehouse inventory organized is essential for effective, efficient operations. It makes receiving, put away, picking, and shipping easier and smoother. However, without regular maintenance, no effort you put towards organizing your warehouse is going to have any long lasting effect.
Here are 9 crucial tips for maintaining the organization of your warehouse's inventory.
- Label everything coming into receiving.
Nothing should leave receiving without a legible barcode label, which will be used for tracking its whereabouts within the warehouse. The designated barcode label should be scanned as items are put away, transferred, and picked; this will ensure accurate communication with the warehouse management software system.
- Place your high velocity items in easy-to-access areas and/or closest to your shipping area.
Your workers are going to be accessing those items the most often. By placing them in easy-to-access areas and/or close to the shipping area, you save on labor and equipment movement. Only do this with your top 10 to 15 percent of stock items.
- Complete orders before the end of a shift.
It is too easy for an order to be dropped in the shuffle between shifts. Give workers time to finish out orders and get stock put away before the next shift ends. Be sure to finish all inventory entries before ending shift as well.
- Implement cycle counts.
Instead of taking a single large inventory once a year, adopt a cycle counting system where inventory is routinely counted one or more times in a given cycle. The cycle can be each month, each quarter, or any other time period you choose. This helps keep inventory numbers far more accurate as well as helps identify missing stock and putaway errors.
- Make cleaning a priority.
Everything that comes into receiving should be put away on a shelf. Nothing should be shoved in a corner or left out in the aisle. All packing materials and stray items should be cleaned up before the end of a shift. This keeps everything in its place and easy to find.
- Minimize unauthorized personnel on the floor.
No one should be in the warehouse area without a purpose and authorization. You only want people who know how the warehouse stock is organized to access the space. This helps eliminate the possibility of stock getting moved around without the knowledge of those who work in the warehouse.
- Use warehouse management software to your advantage.
As stated before, all items in stock should be clearly labeled and shelved in labeled slots that are tracked in a warehouse management system. This makes managing inventory and maintaining stock organization much easier, no matter where (or how much) you are storing.
- Create a daily checklist for the warehouse managers.
Maintenance of stock management requires daily attention. There needs to be a checklist that managers use to ensure certain key tasks are done each day. This list can include cycle counting, cleaning the floor, putting away all product, and processing shipments before end of shift.
Make inventory maintenance a priority in your warehouse. It will improve your operational efficiency, reduce inventory errors, and increase inventory accuracy.