Without a proper warehouse audit for your eCommerce business, you run the risk of delayed deliveries and unsatisfied customers. .. An audit will help you understand what you have, don’t have, and need to have helped ensure that your warehouse is running smoothly and efficiently.
Keeping track of inventory levels is of paramount importance if you manage or oversee a warehouse. Below, we’ll discuss how you can set up your very own inventory audit so you can optimise your warehouse for customer satisfaction.
Do I need to set aside an entire day to perform an inventory audit?
Your inventory audit should never impact your supply chain nor prevent you from shipping to customers on time. Instead of looking at everything all at once, it is best to separate your inventory audit into sections that are easier to handle on a day-to-day basis.
Breaking your auditing work into manageable portions will help you regularly check stock. Because these smaller tasks are easier to perform alongside other duties, it also allows you to perform a thorough inspection once or twice a year.
How to Count Your Warehouse’s Physical Inventory More Efficiently
A physical inventory audit should be conducted at least once a year, or more often if product turnover is high. An inventory count will help you determine if there are any discrepancies between your records and the actual number of items in your warehouse.
To conduct a physical inventory count, you will need to
- Schedule a time when all employees can be present. Do the audit during normal business hours so you can make use of employees’ scheduled shifts. Employees can do targeted audits while they perform their usual warehouse work such as dispatching goods from the warehouse or offloading cargo palettes from delivery cargo trucks.
- Assign counting tasks to specific employees during their shifts. Form a team of two to three people to count inventory levels to ensure precision. Increase the number of people depending on the size of the warehouse.
- Print out an inventory checklist for each employee on shift. This checklist should include all stock keeping units (SKUs) that are stocked in the warehouse. An SKU is a number (usually alphanumeric digits) that retailers assign to a specific product to keep track of the level of stocks in their warehouse.
- Have employees count the number of SKU on their checklist.
Compare the results of the physical inventory count with your records. Take note of discrepancies and add this to the final report.
Analyse Inventory Data
When it comes to a successful audit, you need to understand everything about your inventory. This means knowing how much product you have, where it is located, what condition it is in, etc. Analysing inventory data will help you better understand your warehouse and plan deliveries and organisation accordingly.
Also, review your sales data to understand how fast inventory is being replaced. This will help you see how much you are selling and how quickly you are selling each SKU in your inventory. The same data will help you determine if you have enough inventory to meet customer demand and forecast restocking requirements.
The results of your inventory analysis will provide reliable data that you can use alongside your warehouse audit. When used with warehouse management software, you can cut out instances of waste to ensure your money isn’t being spent on anything.
How To Prevent Your Warehouse From Losing Your Inventory
It is essential to have a clear and concise picture of what is happening inside your warehouse at all times to keep your customers happy. There are many moving bodies, equipment, and pieces inside a warehouse. These are all opportunities for products to get ruined, damaged, or lost. How your inventory is moved and dispatched is a factor that should never be overlooked.
Keeping an eye on operations is an essential part of warehouse inventory audits. One way to do this is by spot-checking a number of pallets in your warehouse for quality control. Spot checking is done by randomly doing a pallet count and checking them against your digital record.
Incorporating audits into your daily operation can help you identify problems and prevent them from getting bigger.
The Importance of a Good Warehouse Floor Manager
Getting a good floor manager helps in implementing spot-checks. A floor manager with years of experience can spot suspicious acts, like stealing, easily and quickly.
Having a good eye for what is happening on the ground provides you with a clear understanding of how inventory is moving in and out of the warehouse. This will also help you identify any potential bottlenecks or issues such as restocking hold-ups and failure to identify warehouse theft.
Reviewing ground operations means having a checklist that helps keep track of inventory levels, product movement, and other important warehouse information. When creating your checklist, make sure it gives you:
- A clear overview of all incoming and outgoing shipments.
- An up-to-date view of current inventory levels.
- A list of all storage locations within the warehouse.
- Information on how often each location is accessed.
- Identification of any potential problem areas such as missing boxes of inventory or even full truckloads of it
How to Evaluate Your Warehouse Audit Results
Auditing your warehouse inventory regularly is crucial to maintaining accurate records. But, even audits require an evaluation and you can do this by:
- Checking for accuracy: Compare your audit results with your records to check for accuracy. This will help you identify any errors or discrepancies.
- Looking for trends: Take a look at trends over time to see if there are any patterns emerging. This can help you anticipate future needs and make necessary adjustments.
- Comparing similar businesses: See how your results compare to similar businesses in your industry. This can give you some insight into where you stand and where you need to improve.
- Making changes as needed: Based on your findings, make any necessary changes to your inventory management system or procedures. This will help ensure more accurate results in the future.
Repeat Your Audit When Needed
Mistakes happen in every corner of the workplace and this is true, especially in the warehouse setting. Double-checking or redoing the auditing work is required when inventory doesn’t match or if there are missing containers that hold specific products or SKUs. Even in businesses with modern warehouses where robots are employed, counting mistakes happen and this is where re-auditing comes in.
Design and Implement Changes On Inventory Management
If you find that your physical inventory continuously doesn’t match your inventory records,you might want to try to change your auditing process and implement a new method. To help, you can::
- Modify your warehouse design to include more shelves or racks to accommodate more inventory items.
- Use different colours to designate areas of the warehouse for different types of inventory.
- Assign specific employees to manage different areas of inventory.
- Create a check-in and check-out system for tracking inventory movement.
- Set up an alerts system to notify you when inventory levels are low.
Find A Trusted Partner To Assist With Inventory Management
For startups that are relatively new, money may be scarce and finding a trusted partner to do the inventory management for them can be quite a challenge. However, we advise getting consultancy services to help you streamline your process early on.
Here are a few things you should look for when choosing an inventory management partner:
- A company that offers a comprehensive solution: Look for a company that offers an all-in-one solution for inventory management. This way, you can be sure that they will have the tools and resources you need to properly manage your inventory.
- A company with experience: Choosing a company that has plenty of experience in managing inventory means they will know how to handle your specific needs.
- A company with a good reputation: A company that has a good reputation will provide quality service and support.
The above checklist should give you a good idea of the kinds of things you need to look for when auditing your warehouse inventory. By taking the time to do a thorough audit, you can ensure that your inventory is accurate and up-to-date, which will save you time and money in the long run.