A Guide to Warehouse Inventory Management: Best Practices and Tips for Success

inventory management - warehouse shelves and man with clipboard

Inventory is the lifeblood of any warehouse operations. It is what keeps businesses running and ensures that products are available to customers when they need them. In order to ensure that your warehouse runs smoothly and efficiently, it is important to implement a sound inventory management system.

In this guide, we will discuss what warehouse inventory management is, the best practices for implementing it, and tips for success. We will also take a look at Cadre Technologies’ warehouse management software as a leading solution for third-party logistics, distribution, and supply chain companies.

What is Warehouse Inventory Management?

Before we dive into our tips and best practices, let’s make sure we’re on the same page with what inventory management is. Warehouse inventory management is the process of organizing, tracking, and controlling the inventory in a warehouse. This includes keeping track of the items that are in stock, where they are located, and how much of each item is available. Inventory management also involves ensuring that items are properly picked, rotated, and stored so that they do not become damaged or lost.

What’s the Difference Between a Warehouse Management and Inventory Management?

It’s important to note that systems designed solely to manage warehouse inventory are different from more comprehensive warehouse management systems. A warehouse management system (WMS) covers the overall coordination and control of all activities in a warehouse, while inventory management focuses specifically on the inventory itself, often just a ‘4-walls’ view.

However, the two concepts are closely related because effective warehouse operations require both warehouse management and inventory management techniques. However, it’s important to note that multiple software systems used to control your warehouse and inventory are no longer necessary. This is because a system like Cadre Technologies WMS includes all of the inventory management capabilities most businesses require.

What is a Warehouse Inventory Management System (IMS)?

A system for warehouse inventory management is software that helps businesses perform all of the inventory management responsibilities mentioned above. This includes tracking inventory levels, locations, and movements. It can also be used to generate reports and analytics that can help businesses make better decisions about their inventory.

Our warehouse and inventory software is designed to help businesses streamline their inventory management processes. We offer a variety of features that can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business.

Some of the features this software offers include:

  • Real-time tracking of inventory levels
  • Automated reordering
  • Inventory reports and analytics
  • Warehouse floor plan management
  • And much more

The Main Features of Warehouse Inventory Management Systems

There are many different types of warehouse inventory management systems available, and the features and functionality of each system will vary. However, most systems will include some or all of the following features:

Real-time Inventory Tracking

One of the most important features of any inventory system is the ability to track inventory levels in real time. This allows businesses to see exactly how much of each item is available at any given time.

Batch, Lot, & Serial Number Tracking

Many items that are stored in warehouses need to be tracked by batch, lot, expiration date, or serial number. This is important for ensuring that the items are properly rotated and for keeping track of expiration dates.

Supplier Management & Sales Management

A good warehouse inventory system can connect with your Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) for managing suppliers and sales. This can include things like automated purchase orders, invoicing, and shipping.

Reporting & Analytics

Reporting and analytics are also important features of warehouse inventory systems. These features allow businesses to generate reports on their inventory levels, movements, and values. This information can be used to make better decisions about inventory management.

Cadre Technologies’ warehouse management software offers all of these features and more. Our software is designed to help businesses streamline their inventory management processes. We offer a variety of features that can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business.

woman checking inventory in the warehouse

Why is Inventory Management Crucial to a Company’s Success?

Proper warehouse inventory management is crucial to a company’s success for a number of reasons. First, it ensures that the right products are available to customers when they need them. This can help to boost sales and improve customer satisfaction.

Additionally, effective inventory management can help to reduce the overall cost of goods sold (COGS). This is because it can help to avoid stock-outs, which can lead to lost sales and increased costs associated with expedited shipping. Inventory management can also help to improve warehouse productivity by reducing the time that is spent searching for products and managing inventory levels.

Let’s dive deeper into reasons every warehouse should have a solid system in place for managing inventory:

Faster Shipping and Deliveries

One of the first and most obvious benefits of good inventory management is that it can help to improve shipping times. When a company has an efficient system in place for managing its inventory, it will always know where products are located and will be able to get them out the door more quickly. This is because there will be no need to search for items or wait for inventory to be delivered from other locations.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Another benefit of good inventory management is that it can improve customer satisfaction. This is because customers will always be able to receive the products they need in a timely manner. Additionally, good inventory management can help to ensure that products are always available when customers need them, which can boost sales and encourage repeat business.

Reduced Costs

Another benefit of good inventory management is that it can help you save money. This is because it can help to avoid stock-outs, which can result in lost sales and increased costs associated with expedited shipping.

Improved Decision-Making

Good inventory management can also help to improve decision-making. This is because it can provide managers with accurate and up-to-date information about inventory levels, sales patterns, and customer demand. This information can be used to make informed decisions about product stocking levels, pricing, and promotions.

Improved Order Fulfillment Accuracy

Good inventory management can improve order fulfillment accuracy as well. This is because it can help to ensure that the correct products are always shipped to customers. Additionally, good inventory management can help to reduce the need for returns and exchanges by ensuring that products are available when customers need them.

Boosts Warehouse Productivity

Finally, well-run inventory management can also help to boost warehouse productivity. This is because it can reduce the time that is spent searching for products and managing inventory levels. This, in turn, can free up time for other tasks, such as picking and packing orders.

Additionally, good inventory management can help to improve warehouse layout and organization, which can make it easier for warehouse workers to find and retrieve items.

All of these benefits underscore why inventory management is so important to a company’s success.

Warehouse Inventory Management Best Practices

To achieve efficient operations, there are a number of best practices that businesses should follow when implementing warehouse inventory management.

Set Clear Procedures

Businesses should establish clear and concise policies and procedures for inventory management. These policies should be designed to meet the specific needs of the business and its customers. A proper training program should be put in place to ensure that all warehouse employees are familiar with these policies and procedures.

Invest in Technology

Businesses should invest in the right technology to support their inventory management processes. This includes tools like Cadre’s warehouse and inventory management software, barcode scanners, and RF bar code tags. This is especially important if you wish to automate inventory tracking and other warehousing tasks.

Communication

Businesses should establish clear lines of communication between all departments involved in inventory management. This includes departments such as sales, marketing, customer service, and accounting. These “SOPs” (Standard Operating Procedures) are critical to the success of the entire operation.

Track and Review

Businesses should regularly review their inventory management processes and make changes as needed. They should also track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as inventory levels, turns, and accuracy rates.

By following these best practices, logistics and supply chain businesses can improve their warehouse inventory management processes and ensure that their warehouse operations are running smoothly.

analyzing warehouse inventory reports

Getting the Most Out of Your Warehouse Operations

Now that we’ve covered the basics of inventory management, let’s take a look at some tips for making it a success in your warehouse.

Invest in Inventory Management Software or a WMS

As we said in the section on best practices, one of the most important things you can do is to invest in a good warehouse management system. A good software solution will make it easier to track and manage your inventory, and will also provide you with valuable insights into your operation.

Cadre Technologies’ software for warehouse management is a leading solution in this field and is designed to help you run an efficient warehouse.

Track Everything

Make sure to track all items that come into your warehouse. This includes items that are received from suppliers, as well as items that are returned by customers. By tracking all items that come into your warehouse, you will be able to more accurately track your inventory levels and ensure that you always have the products that you need in stock. And to know the disposition of the items, whether available, on-hold, in QA, etc.

Know Your Product Mix

In order to effectively manage your inventory, you need to have a clear understanding of your product mix. This includes knowing how many of each product you have in stock, as well as the turnover rate for each product. By understanding your product mix, you will be able to more effectively manage your inventory levels and ensure that you are not overstocking or understocking any items.

Regularly Review Inventory

Make sure to regularly review your inventory levels. This will help you to identify any items that are not selling well, as well as any items that are in high demand. By reviewing your inventory on a regular basis, you can make adjustments to your stock levels and ensure that you are always able to meet customer demand.

Evaluate Picking Methods to Optimize Fulfillment

One way to optimize your inventory management system is to evaluate your picking methods. There are a few different ways to pick orders, and the best method for your company will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of products you sell and the size of your warehouse.

Some of the most common picking methods include batch picking, multi-order picking, wave picking, and zone picking. Find out which methods are most common in your industry and experiment. You can also talk to one of our inventory management experts at Cadre Technologies.

Use Cross-Docking to Move Orders More Quickly

Another way to optimize your inventory management system is to use cross-docking. Cross-docking is a method of shipping in which orders are transferred from one truck to another without being stored in a warehouse. This can help to reduce the time that is spent picking and packing orders, as well as the time that is spent storing inventory.

Assess Product Placement Regularly

Finally, it’s important to assess product placement regularly. This is because the location of products in your warehouse can impact the efficiency of your picking and packing operations. For example, if products are stored in multiple locations, it will take longer to pick and pack orders. On the other hand, if products are stored in a single location, it will be easier to find and retrieve items. Proper warehouse slotting is critical.

Conduct Ongoing Training

Finally, it’s important to conduct ongoing training for your employees. This will ensure that everyone from your warehouse manager to warehouse workers are aware of the inventory management process and knows how to properly use the software. By conducting ongoing training, you can make sure that your inventory management system is being used to its full potential and that you are getting the most out of it.

These are just a few of the many different tips and techniques that can be used to manage inventory in a warehouse. By using these tips, businesses can improve their inventory management practices and ensure that their warehouse is running smoothly.

Cadre Technologies Warehouse Management System

Cadre Technologies is a leading provider of warehouse management software. Our software is designed to help businesses improve their inventory and warehouse management processes and increase efficiency. We specialize in helping all kinds of supply chain businesses, including 3PLs, 4PLS, distribution centers, and eCommerce fulfillment companies improve their warehouse operations. Our software is used by warehouses in a variety of product verticals, and we are proud to be a part of helping them run smoothly.

Our software includes features such as real-time stock tracking, advanced picking, directed putaway, and shipping automation. We also offer a comprehensive reporting module that can be used to generate reports on inventory levels, movements, and count accuracy.

Conclusion

Inventory management is a critical part of running a successful warehouse. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this article, you can ensure that your warehouse is running smoothly and efficiently.

If you are looking for a comprehensive solution to help with your inventory management, be sure to check out Cadre Technologies’ warehouse management system software. Our software is designed to help businesses improve their inventory management processes and increase efficiency.

Contact us today to learn more about our software or to schedule a demo.