Stock Control: Organising & Optimising your Warehouse
According to a recent independent report, the Australian Logistics and Freight industry has grown at a CAGR of 4.6% between 2015 and 2020 on the basis of revenue. The industry continues to grow, with more infrastructure investments and the demand for cold storage space helping to drive development. Businesses must implement best inventory management practices to keep up with this rapid growth.
Stock control is a subset of inventory management and is crucial to keeping your warehouse business running smoothly. In this article, we’ll discuss what stock control is, why it’s important, and how you can select the right WMS for your stock control needs.
What Is Stock Control?
The quicker you locate an item in your warehouse, the quicker you send it on its way. That’s the foundation of stock control, and why it’s so essential to the warehouse business.
Using an effective Warehouse Management System, your team can monitor and control every single item to track when it arrives in the warehouse, where it is stored, how long it remains in storage, and when it leaves.
The good news is that these days, this process is easier than ever with the right inventory management system. Later on in this article, we’ll suggest the best WMS features for inventory control.
Why Is Stock Control Important?
Good warehouse stock control is important because it saves time and money. Managers want to ensure that inventory is adequate, that they can locate goods easily, and that they can ship them quickly to customers.
Here are a few more benefits of implementing stock control best practices:
- Increased productivity
- Fewer errors
- Better organisation
- Improved employee morale
- Higher ratings and better customer feedback
What Is Good Stock Control?
Beyond a stock control system, there are a few key strategies that will help your team streamline stock control, including:
- Floor plan organisation
- Signage and labels
- Cycle counting
An organized floor plan with proper labels and signage goes a long way. There is a logic to the flow of goods in your warehouse. Furthermore, your team can easily find items and move them to the shipping area for delivery.
Cycle counting involves monitoring the fulfilment cycles of small batches of goods, rather than looking at all goods on hand all at once. This method of stock control is easier to manage with a WMS, but either way, you must first integrate the principle into your operations.
The first step to cycle counting involves ascertaining the number of SKUs you have on hand. Managers then need to divide the count based on the given period to figure out how many items will be reviewed at a time. For example, if you have 1200 SKUs and the counting period is a year, you could count 100 SKUs per month or ~24 SKUs per week.
Over several periods, you will have an accurate inventory cycle count. This is a gross simplification of the process, just to give a general idea. Different industries use different cycles, and some goods may have a different period than others based on their value and popularity.
Tips for Good Stock Control
Good stock control is all about attention to detail. Like many other organizational processes, it can be helpful to start with a list. Prioritize all the items in your warehouse based on popularity, then organize the flow of your warehouse floor accordingly. Audit the items in your inventory and keep records with all product details. Track sales, restocking, and timelines.
Adaptivity is another key skill to have for effective inventory control. For example, according to a study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, freight congestion and delays decreased during 2020 due to Covid. Delays will surely increase in the coming years, which will require adjustments from warehouse managers to meet delivery timelines.
You will need to regularly record and update this data to ensure you have an eye on the changing needs of your business. This takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the long run. With all these details to manage, it’s easy to see why many warehouse managers turn to a software solution to keep all this information.
How to Choose a WMS for Stock Control?
When it comes to choosing inventory management software for your business, customization is key. Few tools will be ready to go out of the box, and there’s no way anyone WMS can handle all the complicated ins and outs of your business without modifications.
The best WMS for stock control will be able to manage the entire transaction, including orders for receiving, purchasing, sales, order picking, shipping, and more. The right WMS should also have stock management tools like:
- Data and analytics reporting
- Real-time inventory demand analysis
- Direct shipping and just-in-time supplier delivery handling
A good inventory management system will integrate with accounting software to help avoid needless repetition of data entry tasks. You can maintain up-to-the-minute reporting on data which helps your business run smoothly. This will help you control buying and avoid excess costs.
Managers should be able to search all items within the warehouse by a given set of criteria, including codes, descriptions, cost, location, overflow location, and more. You should also be able to tell if the item is on hand or on backorder. Details like these, coupled with images, make the information clear and accessible to all.
A robust system is key to success. While more elaborate WMS may be harder for training employees, it’s a good investment that will be able to handle your inventory stock as your business scales. After all, nothing is worse than installing a software system, training all your employees, and then having to change it all in a few years because the software could not handle your growing business.
Datapel: A WMS for Effective Stock Control
Stock control is just one more tool to lower costs and maintain high-quality standards for customers. Teams using an effective WMS will be leaps and bounds ahead of their competition when it comes to stock control and so many other aspects of effective stock inventory management.
Datapel is a cloud-based warehouse management solution with streamlined order management, accurate reporting, and detailed product tracking options. With a customized approach, you can boost your team’s efficiency, reduce errors, and save money, all at the same time.
Our monthly pricing plan is pay-as-you-go and includes a free trial. Get in touch to see what Datapel can do for your business today.