Today’s warehouse managers need to improve inventory management strategies. Shareholders want to increase profitability. Customers wish for better customer service. Amazon wants to take over the world.
This is nothing new, but as the world has evolved, the ability to improve inventory management has evolved in stride.
Supply chain leaders should follow these key strategies for ways to improve inventory planning services and inventory management.
Implement Waveless Picking Strategies
One of the first ways to improve inventory management transforms traditional picking processes from a wave-based system, complete with peaks and lulls, into a waveless strategy, says Supply Chain 24/7.
Of course, implementing a waveless strategy will require a reevaluation of your current systems and planning processes.
Reduce On-Site Stock by Leveraging Drop Shipping
The best way to gain improved accuracy and insight into your inventory is to eliminate it from your purview. In other words, let the manufacturers and distribution centers handle the shipping for online orders.
Instead of bringing stock from one location to your location, drop shipping offers the option of having manufacturers send orders directly from the factory to consumers, eliminating any concern with handling inventory in your facility.
Collect and Analyze Data
An efficient warehouse must collect and analyze data. Real-time visibility is of significant value, but if an organization cannot plan for changes in the market, or seasonal fluctuations in the latest trends online, inventory will fall below standards. As a result, more customers will abandon your company for Amazon and Walmart.
Reevaluate Your Floorplan and Slotting
It cannot be said enough. All warehouses must reevaluate the floorplan and slotting strategy. A poorly organized layout and static slotting will lead to delays for workers, resulting in delays in order fulfillment.
Unfortunately, additional problems arise as workers become more involved with products, increasing the number of touchpoints along the way. Consider further that increased touch points result in other risks.
Monitor Your Workforce, Using Technology to Track Personnel Movements and Efficiency
Your labor management system must reflect advancements within the industry as well, leveraging technology (including GPS sensors and wearables) to track employee movements. This provides a way to measure their performance, as well as ensure the safety of workers.
Even in air-conditioned warehouses, workers could suffer from heat exhaustion due to the exertion needed to fulfill basic tasks. More technology within the labor-management system will benefit your company.
Use a Modern Inventory Management
Software, Including a WMS
If your warehouse management system (WMS) has not been updated within the last five years, you are far behind. Upgrade your existing systems to take advantage of new, real-time inventory visibility capabilities.
Furthermore, a modern system enables automation, and it is equally important to use automation wherever possible. Amazon had it right when reviewing the use of robotics within the supply chain for order fulfillment and repetitive processes.
A final step in the ways to improve inventory management is dependent upon how your systems communicate. Disparate systems will result in inefficiencies and overlook data. Avoid these problems by integrating your systems and streamlining communication between them.