As companies grow, they often need to add more locations and warehouses. See how to effectively management multiple locations and optimize your warehouse organization by reading these articles.
Click on an article below to learn more about these warehouse management topics.
As you can see, there is a great deal of work and logistical effort that go into properly managing a warehouse – or two or three or however many you have. In fact, managing a single warehouse is quite different from managing multiple warehouses. Both present unique challenges that must be faced in their own unique ways. Let’s go through some of the strategies you can employ in managing a single warehouse vs. a multitude of them.
Managing a Single Warehouse
Many small businesses that are just starting out or that cater to a local market will have just one warehouse. This is not a bad thing; it is just the nature of starting and growing a business. When your space is limited to a single location, it is absolutely essential that you make the most of every square inch available to you. You don’t want to waste space on products you don’t absolutely need to have on hand or that will otherwise increase your carrying costs unnecessarily.
To successfully manage a single warehouse, you should do three things:
1. Think Vertically
Most warehouses have tall ceilings for a reason. They’re designed to be filled with products on huge shelves. So when you are looking at an empty warehouse, don’t just look at the floor, but aim higher. There is a great deal of space above you. Forklifts and tall shelves allow you to safely stack and retrieve parts and products.
2. Organize Your Inventory
You can organize your inventory in a number of ways. For example, you can put similarly sized items together. Another example is to put items that are often sold together next to each other. And yet another example is to place high-selling items closer to the receiving area and low-selling items farther away from it. Whatever method you choose, just make sure it makes it faster for you to receive, store, pick, pack, and ship items. You can use a warehouse management solution to help you figure out which items are your top sellers and which ones are often sold in conjunction.
3. Use Barcode Scanners
Barcode scanners help you to reorder parts, cycle count items, and perform many other tasks in the warehouse faster and with greater accuracy than doing them by hand. This is a big advantage because it allows your warehouse workers to do more in the same amount of time while also keeping your inventory records constantly updated. With more advanced inventory tracking solutions, you can actually download them as apps on any smartphone or tablet, turning your preexisting mobile devices into barcode scanners without the need to buy specialized equipment.
Managing Multiple Warehouses
Once a small business gets established and begins to grow into a midsize business, its owners will usually find it necessary to add a new warehouse to handle new inventory and more complex operations. When making this transition, it’s important to keep using the above strategies while adding a few new ones to the mix. After all, expanding into more locations means that your logistical requirements will increase, and so you need to be ready for more complex challenges.
Here are three ways to efficiently manage multiple warehouses:
1. Find Individual Items by Location
If you have multiple warehouses, it’s not enough to just know how much inventory you have overall. It is important to be able to drill down into each location and know how many items you have at each one. That way, you can quickly find individual items in the warehouses and know when it is time to reorder more to avoid stockouts.
2. Don’t Think One Size Fits All
Different locations have different needs. When you use a warehouse management solution, you will quickly notice that each location has its own distinct sales figures. No two locations will be exactly the same. Demand might be different because the customer base is not the same and they have their own tastes and desires. In addition, supply can be affected depending on the location. If your locations are in different states or countries, you may need to work with different vendors to get parts and products to each location.
3. Transfer Items Between Warehouses
As you work to figure out and stabilize inventory quantities at each location, it may become necessary to transfer items between warehouses. Perhaps an item that is in high demand at one is not a high seller at another, and so if you are in danger of running out at the first location you can simply transfer it from the second. This will prevent stockouts and keep customers happy while you work out a plan to increase and decrease inventory levels at the appropriate warehouses.
A Warehouse Management Solution
All of the above strategies can be implemented with the help of a powerful warehouse management solution. Fishbowl Warehouse is the No. 1 warehouse management solution for QuickBooks. It can help you to think vertically by assigning shelf numbers, aisle numbers, and other location data to every single item in your inventory. Plus, it can help you track incoming and outgoing inventory numbers to help you organize your inventory. And it integrates with an app called Fishbowl Go to help you scan product barcodes to help with ordering, cycle counting, and more.
In addition, Fishbowl Warehouse helps with managing multiple warehouses by tracking inventory by location, allowing you to set up reorder points on items at each location, and letting you create transfer orders that don’t require a sale or payment to quickly move items between warehouses.
Get a free trial of Fishbowl Warehouse and learn more about warehouse management, in general, in the articles above!