Transparency with your inventory is the surest way to show customers your warehouse operation can be trusted. As paper bookkeeping becomes more obsolete, businesses need to stay ahead of the trend by incorporating digital tools and best practices to help them grow.
Losing sales due to inaccurate inventory counts, or lack of inventory required to fill orders will drive customers to the competition and harm your company’s reputation. Here are five software applications or features that your company should adopt to ensure greater management of your inventory.
- Workflow alerts. What happens if there is an unexpected change to your inventory? Workflow alerts get the word out to everyone in your supply chain — the supplier, distributor, manufacturer, and customer — to let them know the problem, the resolution, and the new forecast. These real-time alerts are essential when merchandise is delayed, the wrong inventory counts arrive, or when back orders were not fulfilled.
- Inventory forecasting. Enable tools using data algorithms and historical sales data to help you assess demand levels of inventory so you can manage it better to increase sales. You don’t want to make the same mistake twice, such as having low inventory of a particular product during a time in the year the data says it’s needed most. Forecasting helps you prepare automatically; it can even coordinate multiple warehouses to check on overstocked items during a time when there’s a pressing need for them.
- Analytics. As with forecasting, analytics tools help your warehouse operation run more efficiently by showing you areas for improvement. Historical data is the basis for reports that may identify trends or shortages, or even drill your process down to provide a snapshot of how things operate during a certain time of day or year. Transparency will help reveal all the inefficiencies in your process in order to help you come up with ways to rectify them.
- Warehouse Management (WMS). Inventory management is an essential feature of any WMS. When received, inventory is scanned and assigned a place in your warehouse — All information that is stored in the WMS, which gives you an added level of verification and helps reduce picking errors. The right WMS will also optimize your warehouse space, give you real-time visibility into all of your warehouse activity, and comply with quality control guidelines.
- Mobile Proof of Delivery. This application will give your supply chain a real-time notification that the product arrived where it was meant to go. This will save time and eliminate the need for a tracking device or scanning. Managing your inventory when it enters your warehouse and when it leaves is your responsibility, so having greater assurance that it arrived at its final destination is just another way to keep your customers satisfied.