Managing inventory accurately has always been a challenge for retailing and product-based businesses. This problem becomes more critical when inventory is scattered all over multiple warehouses at different geographical locations. In that case, having accurate stock level information is highly significant to prevent low stock and overstocking issues.
The best inventory management software can help overcome one of the most prominent challenges for product-based companies: efficiently managing inventory physically located in more than one warehouse.
But why do companies need multiple warehouses to store their inventory? Let’s first have a look at the various benefits and challenges of managing multiple warehouses.
Benefits of Using Multiple Warehouses
Makes it Easy to Cater Global and Larger Audience
The companies can initially start with a single warehouse to store their inventory. But, as the companies grow, they start catering to Global and larger audiences. In that case, they require storing more inventory at multiple geographical locations, and the single warehouse fails to suffice that need. Multiple warehouses can make it easy for the companies to deliver efficiently at multiple locations and keep the supply chain process simple.
Helps in Reducing Shipping Costs
For example, if you have your inventory stored in a warehouse in Los Angeles, you get more orders from Boston. Therefore, you can cut down on your shipping costs if you start storing your inventory in a warehouse in Boston and ship your items from there.
Enables Quick Delivery
Continuing with the example mentioned above, by shipping items from the same state in the US, your customers get quick delivery resulting in a better shopping experience, which obviously leads to more sales and profit.
Although storing inventory in multiple warehouses strategically has many advantages, using more than one fulfillment center also comes with a few challenges. Let’s have a look at those challenges.
Challenges of Managing Multiple Warehouses
Inaccuracy in Stock Information
When you have a single warehouse to manage, you can manage stock levels easily by manually counting the inventory. But, when you have multiple warehouses, it becomes difficult to keep inventory information in sync. For example, if product A gets sold from warehouse C and doesn’t get updated in a synchronized database, your system may show the wrong inventory count. An inaccurate inventory count may cause low-stock issues and loss of sales opportunities.
As multiple warehouses you manage tend to be in various geographical locations, it becomes difficult to keep the employees on the same page. Companies often face communication and collaboration issues because the employees working from remote areas cannot interact, discuss, and streamline the processes.
While managing multiple warehouses, there are chances that the stock information stored in those warehouses gets mixed up and causes confusion. As a result, there can be mismanagement in inflow and outflow of the stock, sending wrong purchase orders to the suppliers, mistakes in invoices, etc.
Using good inventory management software can help companies to overcome these challenges and run their multiple warehouses efficiently. So, the answer to how to manage your inventory when you have multiple warehouses is simple – “Use the Best Inventory Management Software.” Let’s now look at how inventory management software can help manage inventory across multiple warehouses.
Significant Role of Inventory Management Software In Managing Multiple Warehouses Efficiently
A robust inventory management software automates the task of updating inventory in a centralized database. As soon as an item is sold or returned regardless of the warehouse location, the system updates the inventory count immediately. This helps keep track of the inventory accurately and streamlining fulfillment workflow, resulting in improved customer experience and increased sales.
The more warehouses you are managing, the more difficult it becomes to have visibility over stock levels. The inventory management software helps in keeping an eye on best-selling products for different geographical locations. Thus, it becomes easy to decide the items required to be stocked in different warehouses. However, overstocking the items can result in wastage, especially if they have a low shelf life. Real-time visibility over inventory also helps manage the warehouses’ space efficiently and make decisions relating to transferring items from one warehouse to another.
Many times it happens that the products are not placed within the warehouse in an organized manner. In that case, employees find it difficult and consume a lot of time navigating the products that have been ordered and required to be shipped. This can delay shipment and cause inconvenience to the customers. The inventory management software works based on a barcoding system. Thus, the system can easily help employees access the information about the product warehouse location and quickly pick, pack, and ship.
While setting up a new warehouse or moving an existing one, it becomes essential to consider the geographical location for the same. The inventory management software informs you about where you receive maximum orders for the products you sell. So, it becomes beneficial to have a warehouse in that location to reduce shipping costs. But, at the same time, you also need to consider the warehouse rent and labor costs if you consider owning a warehouse in big cities compared to rural areas. The inventory management software helps you evaluate all these aspects and make decisions beneficial to your business in finance and shipping convenience.
Moving Forward to Deploying the Best Inventory Management Software…..
Retail businesses often face many challenges when it comes to managing inventory across multiple warehouses. However, with the right inventory management system and strategies in place, you can optimize and manage your warehouses efficiently, eliminate all the flaws in your shipping and order fulfillment processes, provide an extraordinary customer experience, and ultimately achieve your desired sales goals.