Inventory Control is not only about making sure that the physical count matches what the WMS or ERP software shows, It is about having the right mix of products to sell, about not having too little inventory or too much inventory, it is about controlling the flow of inventory from the manufacturers.
This article is about the right practices to make sure you have what you think you have in stock.
These principles apply equally to manufacturers, distributors and Even 3PL Companies who handle inventory for other companies.
Whether a shipment is being delivered via Ocean Freight or Air Freight
Necessary Inventory Control Practices
1- Before the product is shipping to the warehouse make sure it is labeled properly. Bar codes are essential. Make sure the vendor or shipper send an SKU list with the complete description.
2- As you receive a shipment, make sure you have a packing list to receive against.
3- As the Inventory is received at the warehouse, verify that the BOL quantity matches what the packing list states in pallets or master cases. Record any discrepancies.
4- Record Damages to the BOL and the Warehouse receipt.
5-Advise shipper of any Discrepancies.
6-Receive product in WMS system and send to Shipper ( Customer ) to verify
7- If the inventory exists in stock, count what you have in stock and indicate on the receiving report
8-Label all boxes or pallets received with Warehouse receipt number. Record the location of the Cargo.
Inventory Control and Shipping
1- The warehouse gets a pick ticket, the items are picked accordingly.
2- pack the products in a way where you know what is being shipped. Avoid Mixing of products as much as you can.
3- Report Insufficient inventory to office immediately. This means a discrepancy. It could be a shipping mistake or you just can’t locate the product. This needs to be taken seriously.
4- As you pick the product from inventory and you notice low levels of inventory, report back to the office using a low inventory level form.
5- As you pick orders, make sure you do a random verification of the quantity available in stock and annotate on the pick ticket.
6- If possible, have one person pick, another pack and another ship. This will cut down on the mistakes.
7- the last step is for a random check: take the packing list and verify that what you have on the doc is what is on the packing list.
8- Make sure order entry department, closes order to deduct from Inventory.
9- Perform random inventory counts on regular basis. That will save hours of doing a total count. Technically within a period of 2 months of doing the random inventory count, you would have counted the whole inventory.
If the above steps are followed, you should not have any issues with inventory discrepancies. Most of the mistakes happen during shipping or receiving.