Inventory control is an integral part of an efficient warehouse management system. If you neglect to incorporate good inventory control in your Melbourne warehouse, it could lead to unnecessary space related costs, increased labour costs, and reduced sales. Proper inventory control not only ensures your business requirements are supported adequately, but it also ensures you’re not consuming company resources that could be better utilised elsewhere.
Unless you hold fine wine or art pieces in your warehouse, your inventory stock isn’t going to get better with age. Failing to rotate inventory properly will result in old stock living behind new, destined to collect dust for all of eternity. The main problem with poor stock rotation is that perishables, items with expiry dates, and materials that deteriorate over time, could end up worthless. Even if your products won’t physically deteriorate over time, you may still find the value of your inventory decreasing due to changing trends and technical advancements. Improving storage utilisation and handling will optimise your inventory control. Start by ensuring your warehouse layout is easy to use so locating stock is fast. Categorise your stock in a way that makes inventory rotation quick and easy as well. And utilise vertical space with a mezzanine floor. This will give staff adequate room to rotate inventory properly and provide an isolated storage location for excess stock.
Good inventory management begins with good inventory maintenance. This includes regular inspections and updates on what stock is selling and what isn’t. Establish initial stock levels based on current market presence and consumption, as well as available quantities and lead-time from your suppliers. Then review stock levels weekly, monthly and bi-annually with stock reports of each item and the total inventory value of an item. Use the reports to ascertain sales statistics of each item and overall selling trends. Keep an eye on slow moving items and their last movement date. You don’t want to continue to order something in, if it’s not moving out. You can also be proactive with moving the stock on, through special deals and so on, if it is a slow mover. Don’t forget to keep a record of all non-stock items received from suppliers, inventory returned to suppliers for breakages, and stock items sent out as samples.
The are four main stages of inventory movement:
By planning an implementing proper policies and procedures, you will ensure the smooth movement of inventory through your Melbourne warehouse. Ensure your staff and warehouse are able to receive stock accurately, by providing adequate room for proper receiving. Utilise mezzanines for better storage options and put procedures in place for stock rotation. Implement an efficient picking system, which includes the right warehouse layout as well as picking method. And establish clear guidelines on assembling and dispatching consignments to ensure orders aren’t mixed up or unnecessarily short delivered. If you don’t keep on top of these aspects of inventory management, then your business will suffer inventory losses and dollar write offs.
Ultimately good inventory control is about stock knowledge, as well as policy and procedure management. You must know your stock and you must undertake regular inspections and updates on your policies and procedures. And be prepared to adopt changes to both elements, to ensure your inventory is protected and working for your business efficiently.