When a small company first starts keeping stock on hand, it’s often the beginning of a problem. At first, it’s a small one because it’s not as if nobody’s keeping track of the items that comprise cash flow. Whether in a ledger or a spreadsheet, everyone keeps track somehow and knows to order before they run out of a given item. The problem starts with recordkeeping that does not allow for growth, delivery times, or adequately use the data generated to improve ordering protocols. For this reason, the sooner that barcoding and live inventory systems can be put in place, the better. Logistics – the science of moving things from place to place – starts small and in the best case scenario grows with and helps to grow a company.
The worst mistake a young company can make is taking the attitude of “fake it ’til you make it.” The concept can grow, take root, and become ingrained in the company culture to the point where the company made it, but is still faking it – and because of the deception inherent in faking it, may not be doing as well as everyone thinks. A real-time or live inventory system implemented early is the base for a well-run stockroom or warehouse and building accurate KPI. This can reduce the costs of inventory, and also reduce or even stop losses due to theft, obsolescence, and damage.
If You Are Not Measuring, You Are Not Managing
If a company is not measuring stock at the SKU level, that unmanaged inventory is eating money. It’s Inventory Management 101, with a dash of bookkeeping for flavor. Inventory has costs when it’s just sitting there, and by measuring and building a picture of inventory movement, a business is better able to manage sales, stock levels, ordering, shipping, and everything tied into what’s on the shelf.
Get a Grip on Your Inventory Control
Controlling inventory takes two forms – the software and the hardware.
- Barcode generating software
- Warehouse management or inventory management software
- Barcode printer
- Barcode Scanner
Additional equipment is needed for point-of-sale in retail outlets, such as a check-out station with a cash register, barcode scanner, and credit card scanner. In a larger warehouse situation, a pick-to-light system can be a valuable tool to both save time and speed up picking or put-away. Pickers should be equipped with tablets and scanners in order to keep the data flowing in real time.
Implementing Inventory Control
When you conduct an annual inventory, you close down and count everything. All it takes to get you inventory management in place is a few extra steps.
- Count everything. As each item is counted, enter the number into inventory.
a SKUnumber and print out the number of labels needed.
- Label each item, or in the case of small items, label the bin.
- At the same time each bin is labeled, attach a Voodoo Robotics Cloud Display Device at each SKU location.
- Set up the Turbo wireless device.
- Affix a PTL device to pick carts.
- Once the inventory is finalized and reconciled, implement the used of scanners for picking assisted by picking devices.
And there it is – how to control and manage your inventory. This way, you’re generating data for KPIs from the first scan. Find out how easy it is to integrate pick-to-light and live inventory, and get your warehouse or distribution center in order.