Whether you have to manage a massive warehouse full of product that is coming and going on a daily basis, you’re trying to keep track of the goods in your retail store, or you’re merely counting office supplies, you may face a variety of problems when it comes to managing inventory. But you’re not the first to face such issues, and whatever your hurdles may be, there are sure to be proven solutions that will help you to reduce waste, improve tracking capabilities, and better control the human element of inventory management. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Implement a barcoding system. If you’re still doing inventory old-school (on paper), it’s time to upgrade your system. With the right hardware and software in place you can create individual barcodes for every item that comes into your facility, giving you the ability to tag and scan it coming in, input storage information for easy access, and scan it going out. This will allow you to update your inventory, run checks to make sure the items you have listed in stock are still where they’re supposed to be, and better track the trajectory of every product from the time it enters your facility until it is sold, distributed, or otherwise removed.
- Use appropriate software. Finding the right inventory tracking software will depend largely on the scope and needs of your particular operation. If your needs are relatively basic, you don’t necessarily want to overpay for complex tracking and routing software, for example. But you will likely want to procure software solutions that involve computerized barcode scanning, at the very least, as well as some form of reporting for tracking purposes. For more complicated operations, organizational and collating functions could also be useful, as could logins so that you can see who is doing what.
- Train employees. The hardware and software you use to manage your inventory is only as effective as the people using it. So make sure you take the time and initiative to adequately train your employees to use the resources at their disposal. This will help to ensure that nothing slips between the cracks and it could help to curb both accidental loss and theft.
- Exercise oversight. Having employee logins and penalties for sharing this information will definitely help to increase your oversight where your operation is concerned. But you should also think about conducting periodic audits to make sure your inventory management is effective. Whether you perform this task yourself or outsource to a third-party vendor, you’ll get an overview that helps you to pinpoint waste and address the problems plaguing your system.
- Streamline picking and shipping. If you run a warehouse facility, tracking, waste, and maintaining accurate inventory count are just a few of the problems you might face where the effective operation of your business is concerned. But efficiency could also be a major consideration. So you not only need to optimize your inventory storage, but you also need to ensure that your picking and shipping process is efficient. With the right equipment from a company. and proper software in place to collate orders you should be able to streamline this sometimes problematic task.