As the owner of a small or medium business that keeps inventory on hand, the efficiency of your storeroom is vital. Lost product, product that's not scanned in or that's scanned into the wrong bays, can cost you big when it comes to customer service, especially around the holidays. Few things are worse than assuring a customer over the phone that you have that hot, new item in stock only to find out once they arrive that it was sold and never scanned out of inventory.
Don't let this happen to you. Use these three tips to get your storeroom running at optimum efficiency before you suffer a major fail in the eyes of your valued customers.
1. Invest in the Right Supplies
As a business owner, you need to know what stock you have on-hand at all times. It should be as simple as scanning a bar code or punching a number into a computer. If your bay accuracy is at 100 percent, then you can feel confident when assuring your customer that you have a certain item in stock. In order to do this, your storeroom needs to be neatly organized and well maintained, which means you need to invest in the right supplies:
- Pallet racking that's sturdy enough to hold the inventory you plan to stack on it. This may include wire decking, netting, dividers, and wall brackets, as well as enough cross bars, beams, and row spacers to neatly organize the available space. Making the most efficient use of the space you have available will go a long way toward maintaining accurate bays.
- Warehouse labels that are durable as well as easy to read and to scan. Your bays should be numbered in a way that makes sense, in succession, so they're easy to locate by anyone who needs to access your inventory.
- Inventory control software and hardware that makes it easy to scan product into and out of bays and that's easy to retrieve at the point of sale.
2. Limit Access to Your Stockroom
If you run a small business that employs only a few workers, it may be necessary to allow all employees to have access to the store room. But for medium-to-large size businesses, it may be helpful to restrict store room access to only a few, specially trained individuals. Training is key in this situation. Ensure everyone who accesses the inventory in your store room, whether to put, pick, or audit, understands how important it is to scan each individual item every time. Your inventory is only ever as accurate as your employees. Make sure store room employees are on-board.
3. Be Neat and Organized
Pallet racking, baskets, boxes, trays, and shelving should all be well maintained, and the merchandise in and on them should be audited on a regular basis. Cases that have been opened should be boldly marked with the remaining inventory or should be removed from the box all together and the pieces scanned individually into baskets or trays. Full inventory should be taken on a regular basis, at least once annually, and any shortages or overages recorded and researched.
Increasing the accuracy of your inventory bays and the efficiency of your store room will save you time and money. It also helps establish you as a professional to the customers you serve. Knowing what's in stock, what needs ordered and what's coming on the next truck are all valuable skills that will help you to run your entire business more efficiently. And it all begins with a neat and tidy store room. Follow the three tips listed here to help you get there.