When we onboard any new customer, we make sure to understand the most important facets of their business so we can help strategize growth and opportunity. One common challenge that impacts supply chain businesses is inventory management. Having your finger on the pulse of your inventory and managing the incoming and outflowing of these products is paramount.
Three Common Challenges of Inventory Management and How to Avoid Them Altogether
Imagine being at batting practice and not being able to see the ball; you’re swinging blindly in hopes that you make a connection. When inventory is hard to find or track, your supply chain is swinging at pitches they can’t see. With limited visibility, incomplete orders and delays in shipping and receiving are a common part of your business, causing losses in revenue and valuable time. Labeling, tracking, and receiving are all crucial parts of efficient inventory management and supply chain operations, but most importantly, they all impact customer satisfaction and loyalty.
At WSI, we utilize a clearly defined process combining the advantages of a technology-driven Warehouse Management System with the ability to perform physical inventory checks.
“With the barcoding we use, the system knows every [product]. Plus, we warehouse the products with walk aisles, so we have physical access to the inventory. We can drastically improve accuracy, virtually eliminating losses from shrinkage.” explains WSI Facility Manager Maria Madrigal.
Having a robust warehouse tracking system to keep tabs on every SKU is critical if you want your business to provide world-class fulfillment and full visibility throughout your supply chain.
Delays in production. Unclear delivery routes. Multiple fulfillment centers. All these issues cause disruptions to your supply chain and, ultimately, to your customers. Gaps in business operations and processes impact your bottom line. We often partner with businesses who have been successful with manual, paper-based procedures and physical inventory checks but are struggling to keep up with the pace of the new supply chain landscape.
Embracing technology can help eliminate waste and help make processes more efficient. Technology has helped develop solutions to some of the supply chain’s biggest challenges through innovative information gathering and data analytics tools. From inventory warehousing to order fulfillment, cutting-edge technology has streamlined processes, reduced human error, and highlighted areas of improvement throughout the supply chain. With updated technology tools, 3PLs can provide integrated solutions from multiple sources to give greater transparency and efficiency.
3. Warehouse Planning
Order fulfillment is only as fast and efficient as the warehouse allows. Poor planning for any warehouse equates to inadequate storage space, inefficient use of common areas, poorly designed receiving areas, and lots of wasted time walking back and forth through the facility. To effectively run a warehouse, a well-planned layout and related processes are essential.
Implementing a warehouse management system to address your current warehouse layout and how it can be improved can greatly impact your inventory management. Most warehouse management systems use scanner technology, which provides data on the flow of goods throughout your warehouse. Managers can use this data to understand patterns in orders, areas of significant traffic, and the overall flow of storing and packing goods. This information can help redesign any areas within the warehouse that need to be reorganized.
You want to have the right technology and tools available to improve warehouse accuracy and to track products in your supply chain. At WSI, we want to ensure that your products reach the