Maintaining multiple warehouses is an efficient choice in a landscape where shipping demands are higher than ever. The modern consumer expects quick delivery, which is all but impossible if you're shipping across the country from one location. Nearly half of shoppers want hyperlocal delivery, and over a quarter will abandon their online shopping carts when they discover slow shipping. Well-placed warehouses can equip you to offer fast, affordable shipping that meets customers' demands. Managing your inventory properly across locations is key to utilizing each location to its fullest potential.
Manage Inventory by Warehouse, Not Product
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Many retailers manage their inventory by product, monitoring their total stock of an item across multiple locations. This strategy may help you manage your production needs, but it creates a disaster when it comes to shipping. Having a full stock of widgets in Warehouse C does you no good when you need to ship 100 from Warehouse A, where the shelves are bare.
Monitor and maintain inventory carefully within each individual warehouse. A business management software like Sage X3 can help streamline your efforts across multiple locations. Watch purchasing trends in various areas, and adjust your stock accordingly. You may need to stock more winter wear in northern warehouse locations than those in the southern states. Streamline your organization so products are stored where you need them most.
LEARN MORE: HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR INVENTORY
Adjust Stock Counts by Location
Warehouse inventory management relies on several critical stock counts to run smoothly. You should have set numbers for your maximum, minimum, average, and reorder levels. Make sure these counts are customized by warehouse and not simply set to a default across all locations. Maintaining the optimum stock levels will minimize your warehouse costs and increase efficiency for all your warehouse locations.
Utilize the Cloud
Implement a warehouse management system that's based in the cloud, so you have instant access to key information no matter where you're located. A cloud-based inventory management system can offer real time insights into each warehouse, which is crucial when you're managing more than one location. You can automate a great deal of your warehouse management. However, you should also have constant access to accurate and up-to-date information so you can make adjustments when needed.
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Customize Warehouse Layout
It's tempting to implement a standard warehouse layout across all locations. While this might make it easier for upper management to find their way through facilities that are laid out the same, it's not ideal for the workers who are logging thousands of daily steps on the warehouse floor.
You should customize the layout of each individual warehouse so goods that are purchased most often are in the front. Don't assume that these will be the same items in every spot. Use location-specific data to determine which products move fastest, and adjust each warehouse's layout accordingly.
With smart inventory management in place, you can keep multiple warehouses running smoothly so your shoppers are never far from the stock they're after. Evaluate and adjust often to make sure you're always using the best practices for inventory and each warehouse.