Warehouse management (Retail Logistics)
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9 June 2021 at 2:41:42 am
A good management system ensures when you are not around, someone else can still do it!
Depending on the budget of the company, we need to manage and organise a warehouse properly.
Here, we have identified the seven building blocks of warehouse management and the skills required to handle them.
1) Stocks must be labeled
Supplier's part number and our in-house part number must be clearly documented for clarity. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software should be in place. The cheapest ERP is to build your own with an excel sheet but is not recommended if your warehouse keeps growing in size.
SKU or UPC barcode system is useful for scanning of goods and to track quantity. However, you need to know how to ensure your team uses the correct barcode whenever they replenish or withdraw stocks.
It is also important to know your barcode scanners' limitations to generate part numbers that are easy for scanning.
It is wise to place a concise name and description with the item to ensure the user can search the item via their these methods. Sorting via category is also important for good tracking.
2) Systematic placement of stocks
An automated updated map to indicate where your stocks are is the best solution. However, due to budget, most of the stock placements are based on memory and visual tags.
So, how do you sort the warehouse in a way to ease the time required for searching?
Sorting via category helps compartmentalise the warehouse and help people remember easier. The common methods are;
i) Alphabets to specify zones, numeric to identify levels of the shelf
ii) Colour coding by using tapes, shelf colour or on the tags to indicate zones for easy recognition
iii) An inventory list to specify to the user how to read interpret the alphabet, numeric and colours in the warehouse.
iv) A system should be in place to ensure old stocks goes out first before releasing the new ones
3) Quantity of stocks are tracked and accounted for
Depending on the product, you may pack small-ticket items into 100 pieces with one part number. Or, to arrange the items together so that it comes as a set to facilitate ease of delivery while ensuring lesser discrepancies.
Whenever anyone replenishes or withdraws any stock, the person must update the ERP system. Depending on the warehouse's size, we will conduct an inventory check monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
All movements shall be tracked via date and who is involved.
4) Space catered for newly arrived and outgoing stocks
Depending on the warehouse's size, we have to set aside a space to load and unload items. Sometimes, when the stocks come in a container, huge space is required.
Loading and unloading bay should not be in the same area to prevent mistakes in loading items that just arrived.
5) Managing high-ticket items
If you need to manage stocks that are very expensive and also;
i) temperature dependent
ii) humidity dependent
You need to make advance notice to colleagues to prepare them mentally. Then, assign them to handle and store these items in the appropriate manner.
We need to check and ensure all items are in good condition during the unloading of newly arrived stocks. This means the packaging is intact and there are no cracks and damages to the item.
If there are items deemed unacceptable, we will reject by taking photos together with an application form to reject.
7) Equipment and facility management
As some items are temperature and humidity dependent, we need special machines and freezers to store them. Hence, we must schedule maintenance on these machines to maintain the item's quality. Maintenance every 6 months or a year is typical.
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