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Choosing The Best Inventory Control System For Your Warehouse Operation

Posted: September 13, 2019 by Ly Phan

Choosing The Best Inventory Control System For Your Warehouse Operation

In 2018, fashion giant H&M was struggling with a mounting stack of unsold inventory worth an astounding $4.3 billion. According to critics, poor inventory management and underwhelming product offerings were the two main causes. There is no doubt that having a large product inventory does not necessarily guarantee great success if inventory isn’t properly managed. In addition, the value of tracking inventory should not be underestimated, as increased visibility provides important insights on product flow and customer demand.

Every organization has its own method of controlling inventory, varying from manually counting on an Excel spreadsheet to entirely automated systems that handle inventory control with little to no manual entry. Whatever the method, it is crucial to effectively carry out the process. Fortunately, there are inventory control systems that businesses can adopt to maximize their operation potential. Read on to find out the pros and cons of these systems to determine which one is the right match for your business.


What Is An Inventory Control System And Why It Is Important To Your Business?

Inventory control can be defined as the activities that relate to stocking in order to keep inventory at the desired levels. Based on the economic principle of supply and demand, inventory control is used to meet customer expectations and maximize the potential. Thus, it is a broad definition that includes supply chain management, production control, financial flexibility, and customer satisfaction. As mentioned above, there are various systems for tracking inventory levels based on business requirements and capabilities. Thus, choosing the right inventory control system can be a challenge.


How to Choose The Best Inventory Control System 

Manage Warehouse Stock by SKUs 

Stock Keeping Unit, or SKU, is a product code that allows organizations to quickly identify inventory and their variants. In other words, SKUs allow you to track stock levels for each product in your warehouse down to details like color, size, and more, helping businesses to ensure that inventory matches the actual stock levels.

It is important to choose an inventory control system with the ability to add, edit, and track your SKUs to adequately manage warehouse stock. Moreover, the system should be capable of syncing SKUs from different locations to eliminate any inconsistencies across warehouses. 


Can the Inventory Control System Locate Your Stock?

Based on customer demand, there are several ways to place the products in warehouse areas. The most common method is having best-selling or fast-moving items at the front of the warehouse, while slow-moving goods remain at the back. However, no matter which method you choose, it is crucial to know the exact location of every item to ensure that your employees know where to put away the items and also where to take them out when needed. 

There is no doubt that the cornerstone of an inventory management system is the stock locator function. Thus, it is recommended to choose the system that can tell not only how much inventory is in the warehouse but also its locations and the optimal paths to put-away or retrieve that inventory. 


Handheld Technology Support to Mobilize Your Workforce

As mentioned above, being able to quickly locate goods throughout the supply chain is critical, especially with a high amount of stock. To maximize efficiency, many businesses choose to implement barcode, wireless inventory scanners or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies to increase productivity and accuracy. The inventory control system that allows handheld technology implementation empowers companies with real-time inventory visibility and control while employees move freely across the warehouse floor.

It is also worth noticing that barcode and RFID scanners might require additional software and hardware to install before it can be used. Therefore, when choosing a new inventory control system, it is crucial to look for solutions capable of seamlessly supporting or integrating with these technologies.  


Lots and Serial Tracking - The Critical Feature for Inventory Control

Lots and Serial Tracking have significant importance to stock control. They maintain quality control by tracking and tracing each item back through its supply chain. Moreover, they also provide the means to assist in addressing warranty claims or product recalls, a fairly regular occurrence in the current market. Without Lots and Serial Tracking, it can be a challenging task to identify and handle all recalled products without them getting mixed up with other stock, especially if there is only slight differentiation in color, size or other criteria.

For businesses that sell perishable products, Lots and Serial Tracking ensure that items are shipped from the warehouse well before their expiration date. In addition, businesses should look for an inventory control system that has pick policy that ensures items nearing their expiration will be sold first to avoid inventory waste.


The Ability to Integrate With Other Systems 

The inventory control system tracks stock levels throughout your warehouse. However, activities such as inventory counting can be affected by specific units of measurement, changing routines and warehouse systems. To maximize its potential and ensure its effectiveness, the system must be able to integrate with the company's accounting, ERP and EDI system. The integration must be real-time, flexible, and transparent to ensure that your data reports are always accurate. 


Unlock The True Potential Of Your Inventory Control System With WMS

WMS is a powerful tool that transforms your warehouse and inventory operation

Choosing the right inventory control system can allow your organization to compete with larger corporations. Even small and medium-sized businesses are leveraging supply chain technology to power-up their inventory management systems. It has become necessary for companies to implement robust software with customized features that best suit their lean warehouse practices in order to make the most of it.

A warehouse management system will allow your business to automate inventory control processing with real-time visibility and accurate reporting on the quantity, location, and status of every item within the warehouse, eliminating the burden of manually entry and reducing the potential of human error. Hence, businesses can effectively carry out any inventory control method with optimal results.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned and follow the SmartTurn blog to keep up with the latest warehouse trends, news, and information.

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