Is your warehouse quickly becoming full of stock?
Growing businesses with ever-increasing demand for product often run out of space in their facility a lot sooner than anticipated. Unfortunately, warehouse expansion or relocation is not always a realistic option.
Through careful assessment of your product and stock on hand, it’s possible to improve the stock flow in your warehouse.
In this article, we’ll take you through some common issues relating to stock holdings and a few practical ways to overcome them.
Overstocking Your Most Popular Products.
Logic would tell you that it is beneficial to have adequate product available to fill 100% of customer orders as they are placed. Successfully meeting customer demand results in increased customer satisfaction, which ultimately leads to confidence, trust and repeat business.
On the other hand, many businesses that are well stocked to meet demand become faced with another major issue: a warehouse packed to the rafters with stock, and no room to move.
Commonly, in these circumstances, we find pallets of product stored in aisles, left in loading dock areas, placed at the end of racks, or multiple SKUs mixed in single pick locations. This can create safety hazards by limiting visibility and reduce efficiency through decreased productivity and unnecessary double handling.
• Assess your stock by amount of product stored versus how quickly it moves through your warehouse.
• Determine the value of retaining your current stock holding against any efficiency costs in holding a given amount of product.
• You may be able to use your warehouse management system to set an automatic order once a particular product line is running low. When setting this re-order point, you will need to consider stock flow and shipping times from the supplier
• Consider adopting a drop-ship strategy where possible, which frees up valuable space in your warehouse.
• Maintain a tidy warehouse, and keep shelving aisles and walkways clear.
Overstocking the Wrong Product.
When demand planning and/or sales projections are incorrect, warehouses are faced with the issue of having large amounts of their inventory sitting in storage, stationary for months or even years before it’s sold or, in some cases, disposed of.
Overstocking a slow-moving product, or one that does not move at all can also indicate poor re-ordering systems or warehouse management.
Failure to deal with obsolete product promptly can result in losses to the business through stock write-off and consumption of space, which could be better utilised for fast-moving lines.
• Keep communication between management and the warehouse open to allow potential issues to be flagged as early as possible. The quicker issues are identified, the more chance your business has to manage its assets and mitigate losses.
• Take an in-depth approach to stock management, analysing movements by month, quarter and season, as well as factors in the macro environment, which may influence the movement of your stock indirectly.
• Tailor a marketing campaign around any slow moving stock to encourage the purchase of these items. This will help you recoup the costs of purchasing the items, as well as clear space in your racking for more profitable products.
Inefficient Storage Systems.
An inefficient storage system can significantly impact the number of pallet locations available at any one time. It can also affect the accessibility of stock, leading to decreased warehouse efficiency and productivity.
The storage needs of each business are unique and can change as the business grows, so the storage system that was originally installed may not fit the needs of your business today. The type, shape and weight of products to be stored, as well as stock flow, have a direct impact on selecting the most efficient pallet racking configuration and layout.
Ultimately, a poorly planned pallet racking system can end up being more costly in the long run, as it can slow down picking and packing times, and lead to a decreased pallet capacity.
• Analyse how the product is stored – are you making the most of the volumetric space you have available?
• Have your pallet racking redesigned and reconfigured, or updated to better suit the products you stock. This can often be done utilising most of your existing materials to save on costs.
• Products in your racking should be organised properly to get the most benefits. Are the most commonly picked items stored in the most convenient place for warehouse staff to find and access them?