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Best Practices in Storage and Inventory Management

Best Practices in Storage and Inventory Management

The activities associated with holding material and the processes of counting and transacting it as it passes through a fulfillment or distribution center are included in storage and inventory management processes.

A facility that supports an adjacent manufacturing business will have different layout requirements than one that supports distribution to stores or consumers. 

Some businesses prioritize restocking, while others prioritize picking and order fulfillment.

Regardless, best-practice firms have created storage systems to match the demands of the existing and future storage mix. 

This involves optimizing storage locations and layouts to accommodate items without the need to re-palletize or re-stack once received. 

The warehouse management system (WMS) will keep track of storage location profiles and distribute things to the best storage location possible. Top performers, as a result, have high cube-fill rates.

Aside from optimizing the cubic fill of storage places for improved inventory control, minimizing trip time is another effective practice. 

If an SKU is in great demand, it should be kept closer to its next point of usage. 

The number of times the SKU is required, not the number of units sold, determines demand in this scenario. 

In terms of transit time, the retrieval difficulties should also be addressed. 

Products that are in higher demand should be stored in a "hot zone," which is normally at floor level for racking and between waist and shoulder level for pick racks.

Not every company has to monitor product by lot or serial number, but if it does, best-practice firms have built that capacity into their DC or FC and shipping operations, with the lot and serial number data managed by the system of record.

The original facility layout takes a lot of time and work for most businesses. According to industry surveys, as many as 50% of organizations do not have a continuous process for reviewing their layouts. 

A best practice is to review how storage areas are organized and have systems in place to reconfigure them as product mix changes. 

This is crucial to maintaining high levels of space utilization and efficiency. Making modest adjustments to racks, shelving, and other storage equipment on a regular basis can dramatically enhance space usage.

Data is the lifeblood of warehouse software, therefore product and storage locations must be kept up to date and correct. 

Companies that follow best practices keep all information on a single system of record and keep it up to date and correct. 

To be directed to special storage areas, product data should include all characteristics, including cube, lot/serial number information, and special requirements. 

Special storage rooms can be utilized to separate products that are prone to odor transfer or pose a fire hazard, as well as those that require temperature control. 

Caged or controlled-access storage may be required for high-value products.

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