The question that might pop into the heads of business owners is how important it is to have an efficient warehouse and a suitable inventory management system. However, as a customer yourself, there’s no doubt that it’s a concern as well. How? Well, here’s the thing. It’s Saturday night. You’re hungry. Pizza is on your mind. Buffalo chicken pizza is the craving you’re feeling as you’re driving home after a long day of shopping. You order. You go home. You sit down and there it is: crispy chicken…with no buffalo sauce!
No doubt you’re feeling something. You’re frustrated, but you wouldn’t say you’re infuriated. However, yes, the order should’ve been checked by the restaurant. Meanwhile, put yourself in the position of a business owner yourself. How would you expect a customer to react if you gave them the wrong item or even forgot to give them one? If your warehouse management system and staff are ineffective and incoming inventory is not adequately assessed, you will either have too much or not enough of what you need to satisfy your customers. In this blog, we’ll concentrate on the issues associated with an inefficient inventory receiving system and the straightforward fixes that can help your business increase stockroom performance.
The Significance of Warehouse Efficiency
The inventory has arrived. No matter if it’s that brand-new gel aqua blue nail polish or that freshly baked black forest cake for an impending anniversary, your employees will pick, pack, and ship the goods to the customers. Whether they are large or small, special orders are eagerly awaited by customers. If the item they ship out turns out to be incorrect (maybe purple nail polish instead of blue and those German coconut macaroons instead of black forest cake), your staff will need to fix the problem and repeat the procedure of selecting, packing, and distributing the appropriate items.
We could save all that needless extra labor and satisfy our customers right away if we only spent a little more time or were more organized when receiving. Receiving inventory is undoubtedly one of the most crucial aspects of your business; it determines whether you make it or fail. After all, you want to be able to maintain a customer-satisfied environment. This process is what depends on all of your efforts and expenditures to draw a buyer to your store.
Although there are many drawbacks to poor receiving, the two most noteworthy ones include erroneous inventory amounts, which can cause things to be oversold or undersold, and lost inventory, which is one type of stock you cannot ship. If you have inaccurate inventory information, either regarding quantity or identity, you quickly become aware of it.
- A significant percentage of “not in stock” customer orders
- A significant number of “wrong item” returns
- A steady stream of complaints
- Declining return customer rate
- Low inventory count accuracy
The operation’s base is without a doubt inventory receiving, but if that foundation is unstable, the entire business runs the risk of crumbling. Your inventory management procedure is extremely important since it has an effect on every link in the supply chain, including your loyal customers who will be disappointed when they open the box they’ve been waiting days, if not weeks, for only to discover it contains the wrong item.
In the event your inventory receiving process is inadequate:
- Customer service will have to deal with short-sold customers or those who ordered the incorrect size or item
- You’ll have trouble organizing and scaling an in-store pickup program
- Management will receive a distressing email from eBay or Amazon warning that your poor ratings may result in your for-sale inventory being delisted
- Finance will have to deal with paying for inventory invoices they’re not entirely sure they received
- When you are selling Christmas decorations in August, your merchandise will see low conversion rates
The Solution You Need
You can take a few quick steps right away to ensure that you won’t have to worry about having a poorly functioning warehouse. Sales, customer satisfaction, and return customer rates will all rise with even the smallest adjustments to how shops approach inventory receiving. In the heart of the stockroom is where the answer is.
The first step is to clean up your surroundings—yes, that’s right! Yes, cleaning up your environment is the first step. A well-organized, clean, and uncluttered workplace is essential since there is nothing more satisfying than having a tidy space. Visit your stockroom and see the receiving process in action. Is it being written with a pen on an old pallet? If so, it’s time to purchase a new desk, a lamp, and some brand-new pens. Better still, spend the money on a computer that will be used in the warehouse only for receiving purposes. You are less likely to make mistakes when using this new computer than when using a paper pad and a phone as in the past.
Your inventory must be considered as a whole; it is more than just entering numbers. You must make adjustments to suit the physical products you are dealing with. A fair inventory count is necessary. The receiving crew should be more concerned with what is really on the pallet when it enters the stockroom than with how many units of an item should be on it. This is because receivers will utilize the “should” to skew the count, at least subliminally. They will pay particular attention to counting the actual items on the pallet in front of them if they are unsure of whether they should be counting 25, 50, or 200 items. After the counting is finished, a manager can make a comparison between the total and the actual amount requested, and any inconsistencies can be resolved with another check.
The likelihood that over-shipped product will end up on your stockroom shelf as opposed to a dishonest employee’s pocket or backpack when they notice a disparity is another benefit of blind receiving. For instance, they may see that 210 soap bars were purchased but only 200 have arrived, leading the dishonest employee to believe they can take 10 bars for themselves. Blind receiving is an excellent technique to avoid these kinds of occurrences, though.
Everything Should Have a Barcode
Barcoding is the king of inventory control, as we’ve demonstrated throughout this article. Inventory control is essential to your company’s success. Moving, counting, and picking your goods later on will be quick and accurate thanks to barcoding. It is at least 75% faster than manual data entry and is reliable. Eliminating the middleman altogether gets rid of human error. From the moment your inventory reaches the warehouse, it’s critical to know where it is, and barcoding is a technique that will help you exactly keep track of your goods. Additionally, it makes it possible for you to always know how much inventory you have, which allows you to cut inventory as well as stockroom space and overhead costs.
In order to help you gain control over your stock, think about incorporating a quick method that your receivers can easily follow:
- Specify the merchandise
- Type in the amount received
- Assign the present location
- Produce and use barcode labels
Although incorporating photos into the inventory receiving process is one of the main components to achieving warehouse efficiency, it is also the most crucial—indeed, the inventory receiving pinnacle! What gives, though? Because using images throughout the entire process—not just receiving—is a guaranteed way to make sure your employees are handling the right items. In contrast to waiting until a customer returns it, when you’ve already lost money, time, and your reputation, if an employee notices that Manufacturer Part Number MPN0514 is actually red and not blue as the image shows, the issue will be brought to the forefront right away.
A printout of the necessary images can be attached to the receiving or shipping order, allowing receivers, pickers, and packers to see that the right item is being handled. This is a straightforward way to incorporate images into your everyday receiving and shipping procedure. Images are included in the software for every item in more advanced solutions. Your receiving staff will be able to match incoming items correctly with the appropriate SKU in your catalog with the aid of a user-friendly interface that shows product images.
An Alternative Solution
Your inventory management process will become much more effective by adhering to these guidelines and maintaining a clean, organized, and clutter-free inventory receiving space, and your business will run much more smoothly. They are simple to implement and easy for staff to follow, and the benefits can be enormous. Of course, integrating inventory management software into your business can offer even greater advantages and help you stand out from the crowd, like complete inventory responsibility, less theft risk, enduring revenue growth, and automated stockroom operations.
Your retail operations software should support procedures that let you rely on your inventory, push your company to its limits, and expand your company. Intelligent management software can maintain close control over inventory throughout many warehouses and over numerous “lots” or groups of inventory acquired at various periods, even if they were invoiced at various prices. The capacity to scale operations with flexibility, decrease errors and losses associated with manual inventory reconciliation, and increase sales and profitability through operational supremacy allow retailers with the correct stockroom and inventory management technologies to outperform their competitors. Looking to take the next step and not sure how? You can meet all of your present needs and realize all of your future objectives with the aid of FTx Warehouse, our inventory management platform. With the help of our highly competent team of specialists, let us assist you in achieving the success of which you have been dreaming. We are here for you! Give us a call today!