When it comes to tracking inventory, simple is often better than complex. That is not to say that a simple inventory tracking system has to be low tech or rely on outdated, manual processes and tools. Instead, it means that it should be accessible and understandable to all of your employees who have some connection to your inventory.
In this article, we will cover some of the ways that an inventory tracking system can simplify business processes and make warehouse workers’ jobs more streamlined and comprehensible.
Track inventory levels in multiple locations
Having inventory in multiple warehouses and retail stores can create logistical challenges. How can you tell the quantities of items you have at each location, when you need to order more, and if it is a good idea to transfer some inventory from one location to another? Attempting to do this all manually will likely lead to inefficiency, shortages, overstocks, and errors.
The right inventory tracking system can help you to alleviate these problems and worries by putting all of the data into a single interface. You can click on a part in your inventory and see all of the locations it is currently found in. If there is a shortage in one warehouse, you can generate a transfer order to quickly replenish its stock from another warehouse. This setup allows you to simply keep track of your entire inventory across multiple locations, while also accounting for discrepancies. And speaking of accounting, we’re just about to address the importance of integrating with QuickBooks.
Eliminate double data entry by integrating with QuickBooks
If you have both an accounting solution and an inventory tracking solution, you probably know what a hassle it can be to have to add the same information twice. For example, when a customer purchases an item from you, you will have to not only update your inventory quantity, but also your general ledger to reflect the sale. You will also most likely need to generate an invoice and packing list to include with the shipment. Incoming orders will also need to be reflected in your inventory and financial records. If you attempt to manually update your accounting software, like QuickBooks, and your inventory tracking solution separately, you will run the risk of accidentally typing the wrong thing into at least one of them. Double data entry is a source of many problems.
When your two platforms are integrated, however, the transaction details need only to be entered once. For example, when a sales order comes in, the information gets automatically passed on to QuickBooks via your inventory system. That way, your inventory and accounting records will match up with each other, and the dangers of double inventory data entry will be virtually eliminated. Your employees are empowered to make better use of their time now that they are not tied down to a computer doing tedious tasks.
Empower employees to do more with the right tools
Warehouse workers are often held back by having limited tools at their disposal. A single warehouse worker might have to spend a lot of time performing a long list of individual picks that could be better handled with the aid of tools, such as batch picks and barcode scanners.
Batch picks allow one worker to go into the warehouse and collect all of the items necessary to fulfill multiple orders at the same time. For example, there might be two sales orders–the first contains one broom and two tables, and the second contains two brooms and one table. Let’s say brooms and tables are stored on opposite sides of the warehouse, so it takes a long time to go between them. Normally, the worker would pick each order one at a time, so he would have to pick one broom, walk across the warehouse to get a table and then repeat the process to get two more brooms and one more table. With a batch pick, though, the worker can simple pick three brooms and three tables, skipping a lot of unnecessary walking time.
Barcode scanners and other mobile devices further simplify the picking, ordering, and receiving processes by allowing warehouse workers to instantly update inventory records and precisely locate items by their aisle, shelf, and bin number. They can even save a step by setting up auto reorder points, which we will discuss next.
Reduce carrying costs with auto-reorder points
Carrying costs are the expenses incurred by storing various items in a warehouse. Keeping the inventory item secure, stored at a certain temperature, and kept dry requires some effort and can be expensive. It is a good idea to keep your carrying costs as low as possible, and you can do that by only ordering the number of goods you need in order to meet demand. The trouble is, how do you know how many you need?
Reorder point calculators can be a huge value add when trying to estimate appropriate inventory levels to maintain. Essentially, you can calculate the minimum and maximum number of goods to keep on hand by analyzing past sales figures and factoring in seasonal trends. Once you come up with a healthy range of stock levels for each of your goods, you can set up auto reorder points, which will let you know when you need to place an order to maintain a healthy number in stock. Instead of having to go out into the warehouse and check inventory quantities all the time, you can let your inventory tracking system bring that information to you in the form of detailed reports that show every item that has reached its minimum quantity. This is not to say that routine cycle inventory count has no place in warehouse management. There are other factors, such as theft and spoilage, to account for, so it is still important to perform cycle counts from time to time, but a good inventory tracking system should help you to simplify the process and keep your inventory records as accurate as possible.
Simply the best
Fishbowl is simply the best inventory tracking system out there, allowing you to:
- Track inventory levels in multiple locations
- Eliminate double data entry by integrating with QuickBooks and Xero
- Empower employees to do more with the right inventory management tools
- Reduce carrying costs with the help of auto reorder points
Simplify the way you track your inventory with Fishbowl’s inventory management and tracking system. Get a custom demo of Fishbowl today.