Logistics Solutions for Managing Inventory and Warehousing

A robust logistics network is the backbone of how your company transforms raw materials into finished goods and delivers those products to customers. This includes everything from transporting materials to storing them.

A solid warehouse logistics process yields higher operational productivity and efficiency while making it easier to monitor your inventory. Here’s how.

Automated Inventory Management

When you automate inventory management, you streamline warehouse workflows and eliminate manual data entry errors. This improves operational efficiency and productivity, reduces inventory costs and increases customer satisfaction. You can also scale up operations without hiring more employees or eating into your profit margins.

Look for a system that supports automated inventory management and tracking with barcode scanning or RFID tagging. This allows you to automate many routine warehouse tasks, freeing up employee time for higher value work. You can even combine automation with RPA (robotic process automation) to reduce the burden of repetitive, low-value tasks on human workers.

A good inventory management solution will offer automatic reordering, which replenishes inventory when stock levels reach a set threshold. This prevents stockouts and ensures a high level of service by ensuring that orders can be fulfilled promptly. It can also help you stay within the “goldilocks zone” of optimal stock levels — neither too little nor too much, which is critical to your business profitability.

Other key features include e-commerce integration for order fulfillment, warehouse locating functionality and shipping label generation. This helps you to integrate inventory, fulfillment and shipping processes with your e-commerce platform and retail POS systems, as well as 3PL services and vendors. A good inventory system will also enable you to monitor stock movements through the supply chain, as well as enabling you to compare supplier performance, track returns and receipts of partial orders, and create automatic reorder reports.

Another feature to consider is an advanced inventory forecasting function, which uses historical sales data to predict future demand and help you make informed purchasing decisions. It can also provide detailed information about a range of other warehouse performance metrics, such as stock turnover, stock aging and supplier performance. This information is useful to C-Suite executives in understanding business performance and making data-based decision-making.

Real-Time Inventory Tracking

The ability to track inventory in real-time is a vital part of logistics solutions for managing inventory and warehouses. It allows managers to know exactly how much stock is on hand at any given moment, regardless of location, so that it’s easier to avoid overstocking or stockouts. This data is also essential when forecasting and calculating reorder levels to keep inventory at optimal quantities.

Using a real-time inventory tracking system eliminates the need to do manual counts of product, which can eat up valuable time and resources that could be spent on more value-add activities, like analyzing sales trends or launching new marketing campaigns. The technology will constantly update inventory numbers, ensuring that you can always maintain full visibility into every warehousing area and showroom.

If you don’t have the proper warehouse inventory management software in place, it can be difficult to manage demand and prevent backorders, especially if you sell across multiple sales channels. However, by integrating the software with your warehouses and showrooms through a third-party logistics (3PL) company that can provide on-demand fulfillment, you can streamline information and set up for an efficient supply chain.

Warehouse inventory management software can help you determine the best locations to store products based on their popularity and seasonality. It can also assist with identifying slow-moving items, which may be racking up holding costs and turning into dead stock. By separating these from fast-moving SKUs and keeping them closer to shipping and picking areas, you can maximize efficiency. The best choice when it comes to packing, crating and shipping services in Orange County, CA.

Moreover, a warehouse inventory management solution can track inventory in transit, enabling you to see the exact status of every shipment as it moves through each leg of its journey. That way, you can catch issues sooner, like theft of goods or inaccurate record-keeping during receiving or cycle counting.

Automated Picking

Order picking is one of the most labor-intensive warehouse tasks. It consumes as much as 50% of workers’ time in some warehouses. Using automated picking systems that marry software with equipment like conveyors can help reduce time and errors while boosting productivity.

Order picking automation solutions like pick-to-light systems use mobile barcode scanning devices synced with digital light displays to direct warehouse pickers where and when to place or pick items. They significantly cut down on the amount of time pickers spend walking and searching. They also speed up the picking process, so orders can be dispatched more quickly.

Automated putaway processes also improve warehouse efficiency by eliminating manual work. These logistical solutions can automatically sort and consolidate inventory to streamline putaway and replenishment procedures. They also enable more effective cross-docking operations, where products are retrieved from storage and loaded onto trucks that go to different destinations.

Despite the many benefits of automation, staffing and scheduling challenges may limit your ability to implement these solutions at full capacity. In these cases, a logistics provider with expertise in warehouse operations can recommend and implement the best solution for your business. For example, collaborative robots (cobots) can safely navigate your warehouse and guide associates through a picking task by identifying the items and quantities to pick and then verifying that they have been correctly picked for each order. This greatly reduces the risk of picking errors that can result in lost sales, additional shipping costs and customer service expenses. It can also help you meet peak demands without adding more labor to your workforce. It can also optimize your space and resources while ensuring that the right materials are in the correct locations to support your specific supply chain goals.

Automated Shipping

Managing inventory in warehouses can be complicated, especially when the volume of orders is high. A logistics solution that streamlines the shipping process will enable your brand to fulfill a higher number of orders in a shorter period, increasing sales and boosting profits.

In many cases, the amount of time employees spend on manual tasks like picking orders or adhering shipping labels can be eliminated through automation. When these processes are automated, your staff can work on other tasks that require their attention and talents, reducing the total cost of operations while simultaneously ensuring that your orders ship out faster and more accurately.

Startups offer software solutions that automate these warehouse processes and allow businesses to process orders, track inventory in real-time, set automatic reorder points, and more. A good example is Stockone, an Indian company that offers a cloud-based platform for processing inventory information. This system enables fulfillment associates to perform cycle counts, track inventory movement, and facilitate stock transfer across sister warehouses, among other features.

Shipping automation can also help reduce transportation costs by allowing brands to optimize delivery routes and eliminate the need for costly trucks and storage spaces. Companies such as FarEye use advanced algorithms to identify the best carriers for each shipment, balancing cost and speed.

The ability to track inventory in real-time can help brands avoid stockouts and overstocking by enabling them to order materials when needed, based on current demand. A logistics solution that supports a variety of inventory tracking methods can be helpful as well, including batch, serial, lot, and RFID tracking. The system should also be able to integrate with e-commerce platforms, point of sale systems, and other software platforms that your business uses.

Automated Dispatch

If you want to meet customers’ expectations of speedy delivery, a logistics solution that integrates physical automation with software processes is key. This allows you to prioritize the right products for dispatch and ship them in a timely manner, ensuring that your customer receives their product on time.

This technology helps your dispatchers manage the volume of incoming orders and improve their efficiency and productivity. It also gives you the ability to optimize the end-to-end delivery process, and enhance the overall customer experience – all while cutting your business costs.

With an automated dispatch system, you can automate routing and scheduling for on-demand and scheduled deliveries. These systems take into account factors such as driver availability, capacity, and location to automatically assign jobs to drivers in a timely fashion. This software can also help you provide accurate expected times of arrival (ETAs) to your customers, which is especially important for bulky, heavy items that require a large truck or van.

When selecting dispatch software, look for a user-friendly interface and mobile accessibility. It should also offer customizable dashboards and real-time reporting for warehouse staff. It should also have built-in business intelligence tools to allow you to monitor performance based on pre-set criteria and goals.

A fully integrated dispatch platform can handle both internal and external fleets in one unified dashboard, optimizing route planning and trucking dispatch planning based on data-based insights. These systems also allow you to quickly and efficiently create ad-hoc routes when orders come in, and assign jobs to drivers in real-time. This can lead to increased fleet utilization and reduced costs. It can also improve delivery service by prioritizing and scheduling shipments based on customer needs, reducing wait times for the products that are most critical to your business.