Best Warehouse and Inventory Practices

Paul Veloso, the DOW Electronics Warehouse Manager, is this week’s guest blogger, sharing his tips on how to better manage your warehouse so inventory can be easily maintained.

Inventory discrepancies and maintaining your warehouse can be a major headache, and keeping it all in order is easier said than done.  When inventories are inaccurate, it becomes difficult to pull and expedite orders, and can be very frustrating to locate items in a large, unorganized warehouse.  But, is it possible?  Yes!  It requires focus, attention to detail and organization, but you can save yourself the headache by following these tips to organizing your warehouse and inventory and minimizing issues within your stockroom.

Quality Begins at Receiving

From the moment the product arrives in your warehouse, your inventory can be disrupted if the product is received incorrectly and it is not caught by the receiving team. When receiving product, it is extremely important that it be thoroughly inspected and verified: Is it the correct product? Is it the correct quantity? Find the packing slip that came with the shipment and compare it to your paperwork to ensure what was ordered is exactly what you received. Additionally, the product should be inspected for damages. If damages are not caught and you accept the shipment, you now have damaged inventory sitting in your warehouse that may be difficult to sell. Once you have verified that your product was properly received, you are ready to add it to your inventory.

Proper Storage and Labeling

Now that your product is received and it is now part of your inventory, you are ready to store it. Properly storing your merchandise will aid in the daily tracking and maintenance of your inventory. Depending on the quantity of product to be put away, you may only purchased enough to fulfill your current orders, or you may have a large quantity that will require an overstock location. If the product is going directly into the pull location, make sure that the location is properly marked. If you stock several items that are similar in appearance and in part number, you may want to consider keeping them separate to avoid pulling errors. If using an overstock location, make sure the product is properly palletized and wrapped. The pallet should be labeled with the product identification and the quantity that is on the pallet. The quantity and part number on the label should be verified by two or three people to ensure all the information is correct. Incorrect label information can affect accurate inventory accountability. If there are several pallets of the same product, ensure they are all stored together rather than spread out throughout the warehouse. If some of the product is removed from an overstock pallet to replenish a pull location, a new pallet label with the new quantity should replace the current label. Properly stored and labeled product can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping track of your inventory. Embrace the label; it is your friend.

Pulling and Checking Orders

One of the greatest causes of inventory discrepancies is improper pulling and failing to catch the error. The order picker should be focused on the task to ensure the correct item is pulled. It only takes a few extra seconds to double-check a part number and a description. It is also imperative that any order pulled be verified by someone other than the order picker. If available, allow several persons to confirm that the order was pulled correctly. This will help avoid errors from going out the door and in turn will avoid discrepancies in your inventory.

Cycle Counting

A counting schedule or cycle is very important to keep you aware and informed of any issues with your inventory levels. Your warehouse team will also be more productive with cycle counting because the location of items in inventory will be more accurate. A lot of misplaced inventory is caught and resolved during cycle counts and therefore less time will be spent trying to locate these items during order picking.

Inventory control is a tedious but important part of any successful business. Many departments and personnel are involved, and the warehouse team is no exception. Take a few extra minutes to double-check and verify everything from receiving to pulling and shipping. These few minutes can save hours of labor spent on tracking your inventory, correcting warehouse discrepancies and will save you a few bucks on aspirin.

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1 Comment

  1. Following the principles of good inventory practices can actually improve more than your facility’s data gathering procedures. By properly integrating these standards into your business protocols, you end up streamlining the main processes of your facility’s daily workflow.

    Reply

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