Resolving the Top Three Common Inventory Management Challenges
Running a warehouse, and effectively managing inventory, is a lot like juggling. There are so many factors to consider and needs to balance to ensure the entire process runs smoothly: one wrong move and the entire thing can come crashing down. Being such a juggling act, the balance of warehouse inventory management is fraught with challenges. This blog covers three of the top inventory management challenges and offers ways to resolve these issues.
Challenge 1: Inventory Inaccuracy. Resolution: Automation
Using paper, Excel, or any manual process to track inventory and you are inviting mistakes. With manual processes, mistakes are inevitable and mistakes cost money. Additionally, manual inventory management does not allow for real-time information leading to inaccurate inventory counts as the inventory numbers may be very different at 8 am and 7 pm. These inaccuracies can lead to excess inventory or worse, inadequate inventory. Either way, this situation is going to result in unhappy and/or lost customers. Conversely, an automated system enables accurate tracking of your inventory in real-time. Automation eliminates the human error factor and takes the uncertainty out of manual inventory tracking.
Challenge 2: Improper or Inadequate Software Usage Resolution: Training
For the companies that understand the importance of automating, the next challenge they may come across is finding reliable warehouse management software (WMS). However, finding and implementing WMS is only the first step in automation success. Using the WMS to its fullest ability and utilizing all of the features and functionality the software provides to help run their warehouse more efficiently is key. Unfortunately, many companies do not do that. They invest in the software but do not spend the additional funds to provide their staff the training and support they will need. Companies rarely use all of the functionality their WMS provides. The more features that you use in the software the more effective you can be in managing your inventory. To ensure you are getting the most out of your WMS investment, be sure to invest in training.
Challenge 3: Unreliable Supply Chain Resolution: Monitoring
Unreliable suppliers or uncertain supply chain is often out of your control. You may have a supplier that consistently misses their scheduled delivery date or that occasionally delivers wrong orders. While you can change suppliers, or alter your supply chain operation, you cannot control everything. One way to overcome this challenge is by monitoring supplier activity. Most WMS systems track the inbound receipt of an item and include pertinent information such as ordered by date versus actual receipt date, the quantity of items delivered and quantity of items ordered, as well as the quality of items received. You can track these metrics over time and decide if there is a true problem, you may need to get a new supplier or make some other changes to have a reliable supply chain in place.
Warehouse inventory management is a complex process that encompasses many challenges. While many of these challenges may be out of your control (e.g., bad suppliers, a bad crop, weather, etc.), there are some steps you can take to help mitigate problems and resolve common challenges. For more information on issues surrounding warehouse inventory management, subscribe to our blog.