Technological advances are improving warehouse management and inventory management in big ways. Just remember that an Inventory Specialist is always ready, willing, and able, to explain new warehouse and inventory technology and help you set up the software you need to handle it smoothly and efficiently.
1. Manufacturing goes Lean.
To maintain efficiency and quality control in your warehouse(s), you should be using process management techniques for lean and JIT (Just in Time) success. Hand writing critical data on production on a signboard is being replaced by electronic digital signboards, using software to constantly access and update schedules and production numbers for you and your staff to see and respond to immediately.
2. Scan for Quality Control.
Software for quality control should use sample product measuring to produce consistent quality. Workers no longer manually carry around a spreadsheet, or record onto QC sheets after measuring products hands-on. Today warehouse workers just scan products with a digital reader – which can then be uploaded into the company’s software for instantaneous results.
3. How Are You Fixed for RFID Tags?
Remember the bad old days of physically counting and manually entering every product total? It took a long time, was not always accurate, and gave just about everyone involved a headache and backache. Those days have gone pffft! With RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) your staff deals with product barcodes they can scan from a distance, using the latest AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technology. Your employees process products with ease while your management uses the inventory software to track real-time inventory data.
4. Keeping Informed About Your Supply Chain.
Does your company use SCM (Supply Chain Management) software for logistics, or do you outsource it? Don’t feel outclassed, if you’re a smaller business, by not being able to afford SCM. There are many other outstanding supply chain tools, such as the websites of major shipping lines that will allow companies to reserve containers, directly submit shipping documents, as well as track your container shipment through their company website. In other words, they’re doing a lot of the grunt work for you! If you choose your shipping line smart. Usually all you have to do is log into their account and you can review real-time data about location and the status of the container with your items. As Grandpa used to say – it’s easier than falling off a log!
5. Know Where to Go When Equipment Fails.
Lightweight, portable equipment that goes down is usually fairly easy to either repair quickly or replace. But what about something like a boiler – big, heavy, and stationary? You can’t send it out to be repaired; you have to wait for the repair person to come to you. What do you do in the meantime, with all that downtime adding up? Simple – use a company that rents portable boilers and other equipment that is normally stationary. Have their number ready to call BEFORE anything big and bulky breaks down.
6. You’ll Keep Hearing This One Over and Over . . .
Preventive maintenance is one of the keys to keeping your bottom line healthy and happy. Not every breakage or accident can be predicted to within the hour or minute. But there is SO much in a warehouse, or with the inventory, that predictably will eventually break, leak, rust, etc. So draw up a practical maintenance schedule and see that your staff sticks to it. And don’t rely on paper reports – they are prone to get put aside and lost in the shuffle. Make it all digital and accessible on your mobile devices so you can make sure checkups are done on time, and be alerted in real-time if anything is getting ready to go ker-flooey!
The impact of utilizing these six innovations is long-lasting, and I encourage you to consider where your business is at with regard to these technological advances.
About Lance Brandow, Insightful Accountant's Contributing Fishbowl and Method Expert:
With over ten years of experience supporting QuickBooks professionals as the premier Fishbowl consultant in the US of A, Lance Brandow is always ready, willing, and able to boost his client's warehouse and inventory systems into the stratosphere. A Utah Valley University graduate in Business Management, Lance has been called a "flawless worker" and "an absolute expert in all things Fishbowl" by some of his many satisfied clients.
He is a Method/CRM certified advanced consultant who has also had wide experience in sales and banking. He understands Fishbowl implementation like Tim Tebow understands football. As well as consulting, Lance is also a noted instructor in SMB process consulting, SQL databases, and accounting and inventory process management. Lance also speaks Japanese and is a skilled carpenter as well.
You can reach Lance at Brandow Consulting
This article was adapted from a feature in Lance's Blog on Feb. 26, 2016. The article has been reprinted with the permission of Lance Brandow, all rights reserved.