A need for multiple warehouses is a great indicator of growth for your business: you have customers in different regions and demand for your products is increasing. Benefits to your business include the capacity to serve a broader customer base, faster delivery to more customers, and a reduction in shipping costs.
However, multiple warehouses bring additional complexity to your operations. If not managed properly, managing multiple warehouses can drive inefficiencies, high unnecessary costs, and lower revenue. One tool to help you achieve efficient warehouse management is an inventory management software.
Before we look at how an inventory management software can solve the pains of multi-warehouse management, let us take a look at some of the challenges of managing multiple warehouses.
Challenges Of Managing Multiple Warehouse
Cross Warehouse Communications
The more warehouses your business owns, the more difficult it is for employees to communicate effectively. With your employees spread out across different geographical and time boundaries, it is harder to communicate as they are unable to communicate in person. If employees are unable to transfer or receive information effectively during remote collaboration, communication breakdowns will occur.
Communication breakdowns create many problems for your business. Missed messages could result in wrong orders being placed, thus creating a bottleneck in the production process. Wrong or lack of updated data may also result in planning errors, hence creating inefficiencies for your business.
Inaccurate Inventory Counts
Keeping track of inventory in one location is challenging enough; Having multiple stock locations creates an additional layer of complexity.
With multiple stock locations, your business has more decisions to make. For instance, what would be a more cost-effective solution when you have a product running low on stock in one location? Should you order new stock from your supplier or transfer the identical stock from another warehouse? This dilemma can be easily resolved if your business has full visibility across all warehouse locations, which makes it easier for the person-in-charge to make accurate business decisions.
If your business is unable to track inventory effectively, this could lead to out-of-stock issues, resulting in loss of the business’s revenue.
Mismatched Data Across Warehouses
If your business does not clearly maintain order and inventory data, by warehouse, for each of your warehouses, it is highly likely that your order and shipment data will get mismatched. This could result in unfulfilled customers’ orders or shipments sent out from the wrong warehouses. If this happens, your business will face higher costs and loss of revenue.
How An Inventory Management Software Helps With Managing Multiple Warehouse
Here are some ways an inventory management software would help you manage multiple warehouses more efficiently.
1. Improved Remote Team Collaboration
An inventory management software often acts as the single source of truth for your entire organization. Employees working in different locations have access to accurate real-time inventory information. They can easily communicate and make sound business decisions with more accurate data. Order and inventory data is reliable and up-to-date through the use of inventory management software. Also, information is better organized, which allows upper management to have a better overview of the total stock level across multiple warehouses as well as within each individual warehouse. In the event of any problems, team members can take swift action and communicate details to the respective warehouse teams to fix problems.
2. Detailed Tracking of Stock Movements Within And Across Warehouses
An inventory management software helps track each and every stock movement across your multiple warehouses. Every time a stock gets transferred between locations, a record log is entered into the system. You can analyze these record logs to discover any insightful trends. For example, if you send a stock from one warehouse to another warehouse very frequently, you might want to adjust your stock allocations so that you can save cost by doing fewer transfers in the future.
3. Accurate Management Of Outgoing Stock
Ensuring that the right facility ships out the right orders to customers are essential for your business's success. An inventory management software helps you to organize all your outgoing shipments such that your customers can receive their goods in the shortest possible time, at the lowest possible costs. Using the software, you will be updated about when and where your shipments are shipped out to customers. Inventory management software also helps ensure that the latest information is automatically updated once your business has fulfilled an order
4. Tight Control Of Incoming Stock From Suppliers
Inventory management software helps to control incoming stock from your suppliers. When a purchase order is entered into the system, you can specify which warehouse the stock should be sent to. This helps to ensure that there is no misallocation of stock.
5. Robust Management Of Shipping Methods And Rates Across Warehouses
With an inventory management software, you can set customized shipping methods and rates for each warehouse. This is important as shipping providers tend to calculate shipping costs based on rules such as the distance and location between a warehouse and the customer. Thus, you can employ your own shipping rules that are different from the shipping provider that is most feasible for your business.
6. Automated Location Reports
An inventory management software allows you to generate reports on any of your multiple warehouses with a simple click. You can select a particular stock location and find out information such as stock on hand, last purchased stock, last order stock, total revenue, and profit margin. You can use these insights to plan and manage your supply chain operations more effectively.
You can also set alerts to remind yourself whenever your business is running low on stock. Set a custom stock value that is deemed low stock for your business. Your software will inform you whenever your inventory falls below that level. You can then take quick action to re-order the stock so you will avoid any out-of-stock situations.
Using the right inventory management software can help make managing multi-warehouse easier.
However, you need to ensure that the inventory management tool you are using is robust enough to meet the demanding challenges of your business multi-warehouse management. You will need to ensure that the platform can:
- Monitor stock levels across all warehouses.
- Transfer products from one warehouse to the other.
- Integrate with essential workflow applications like QuickBooks & ShipStation.
- Create purchase orders.
- Create automated inventory reports.
Sweet is an inventory and order management software that can easily help you manage multiple warehouses efficiently and affordable. It is designed to help small and medium business create a more efficient and streamline inventory operations. To find out how Sweet can help your business, click here for a demo.