Setting up an efficient inventory management system can seem like an intimidating task. It doesn’t have to be. By moving from step to step, and ignoring the big (mean) picture, it can be a relatively simple process to put inventory basics into place.
Clear Location Names and Labels. Every single storage space should be clearly named, and labelled. Location names should be unique to avoid confusion, and to minimize the risk of an item being stored in the wrong space. Labels should also be clear and easy to read from a distance. Experienced warehouse staff will tell you that the labels should be a different color from the pallet rack system or storage racks to which they are attached.
Clear Item Descriptions. Clarity also applies to the descriptions you place on each item. Being able to identify an item at a single glance is an absolute timesaver, especially when orders need to be dispatched within a tight timeframe. A clear description also reduces the risk of the wrong item being picked when an order is collated. Therefore, descriptions should not look like impenetrable code that take forever to work out. Simplicity is key.
The Right Storage System. How you store it is a hugely important component in inventory management, but that doesn’t mean a storage system must be difficult, or expensive, to set up. For example, a selective pallet rack system allows for simple stock management, gives direct access to items, can be adjusted to suit the weight and size of the items, and is very affordable. One size does not fit all when it comes to storage systems so be sure to investigate all options.
Invest In A Software Inventory System. Paper-based systems, such as spreadsheets, might appeal as cheap inventory management systems, but currently, anyone using a good software system has a competitive edge. Software inventory systems are faster, easier and help to keep track of past trends, always a good thing when forecasting how much inventory should be held on site in the future.
Keeping Everyone In The Loop. As good as things like software and modern racking systems are, it is people, and not technology, that will maximize the efficiency of your inventory management. Everyone needs to know where inventory is located, how items are to be labelled and described, how to identify each item, how to best exploit the space and accessibility of the racking system, and how to use the inventory software. Keeping everyone on the same page means time and effort needs to be put into training everyone who has anything to do with inventory within the organization.