FEATURE

How to create a more effective inventory process using automated systems.

Your company is forward focused, meaning you’re ahead of the game when it comes to using advanced technology and resources to maintain success. It starts with your warehouse, where the magic happens—if your warehouse systems are efficient, functional, and well maintained.

Warehouse management efficiency can be improved when businesses invest in specific technology and projects. Implementing an inventory system—particularly one that’s automated—allows companies to become more streamlined and effective. And a custom, automated inventory management system can provide measurable ROI. Using a product like Claris FileMaker, you tap into powerful technology and unlock what’s possible for your business.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your warehouse management system is up to speed.

Warehouse improvement projects

Take a look at your processes and systems and determine which ones need updating. There are three areas of inventory that should be in working order.

Inventory management

An inventory management system tracks all items a company has in stock. It is able to assist with purchasing and receiving, tracking and shipping, managing inventory in other locations, determining turnover, and assisting with reordering. Organizations today typically use software-based management systems or they have a vendor do it for them.

Inventory management systems have a range of functions. Advanced software runs on a company’s server or can be purchased as a cloud-based package. Good inventory management practices must be in place, however, in order to allow the software to work as intended. Ensure you have designated stock areas, a set procedure for counting inventory, and proper training for employees.

Inventory accuracy 

Inventory accuracy is always the goal. Accurate inventory is defined as correct with regard to the item count (items counted equals number expected) and dollar amount (the expected dollar amount matches the cost of the available items). An example of accurate inventory is when an employee goes searching for something, they find it in the right place with the right description. 

Inventory forecasting

Inventory forecasting can be tricky. If you overestimate, you end up with too much product, and if you underestimate, you are unable to fulfill orders. The process of calculating future inventory requires solid data. Look at historic sales numbers, upcoming promotions, the industry climate, and other variables to be as accurate as possible. An efficient inventory tracking system can help deal with inaccuracies and improve the production cycle. 

Inventory tracking systems 

Different businesses use various types of inventory tracking systems—from basic, manual systems to complex, high-priced software. Small business owners frequently keep track of inventory manually. They may use a spreadsheet and detail how they order materials and sell products. Larger organizations require a more robust system, like software that offers barcode technology, instant feedback, automatic ordering, automated correspondence, and advanced reporting and analytics.

Small businesses can benefit from a more intuitive inventory tracking system, however. It just needs to be an easy solution—simple to implement but customized enough to solve your company’s unique problem. Maintaining data integrity is difficult when numbers are input manually—the potential for human error is high. An automated system allows better quality data, and, in return, a more accurate inventory supply.

Implementing an effective inventory system means keeping a few things in mind. There should be a minimal number of touches of products, the correct stock should be stored in the right place, and everything should be recorded accurately. Data needs to be easily accessible and important processes actively benchmarked. Finally, feedback on efficiency should be regularly taken from employees. 

Automated inventory management

Automated inventory management frees up time and energy. There are many applications and systems that can help keep track of products without a large investment of manpower. Inventory tracking apps make it easy for you to visually and intuitively track items across multiple locations. Apps often have easy customization and integration, and provide the ability to work seamlessly among PC, tablet, and mobile.

Label creation is a time-consuming task that can be automated. It sounds simple enough, but it’s often performed using basic, manual methods in Microsoft Excel or Word. Copying and pasting introduces errors, is painstakingly tedious, and no longer efficient for most organizations.

Companies can simplify label creation and modification processes with custom-built software using low-code development platforms to save on the costs of software development. Smart scripting allows a team to autogenerate the appropriate number of labels, with all the details that need to be included. With Claris FileMaker, you can make labels without using a separate software.

Creating an inventory database allows you to organize any data related to your files or products. The database can be as basic as a list or a collection of items, or as complex as an invoicing or inventory system. You can create files from scratch, generate them from a template, or produce new files with data from another application. With a platform like Claris FileMaker, no coding experience is necessary.

Key takeaway—you can improve warehouse efficiency easily

Improving warehouse efficiency has become easier than ever before. By assessing your current process, determining what type of inventory management is needed, implementing inventory best practices, and developing an effective tracking system, you will be able to increase accuracy and forecast inventory—boosting your company’s bottom line.

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