We all understand that efficiency in a warehouse operation relies almost entirely upon the time and motion of its personnel – the fewer steps while performing activities the better labor utilization you have, the more shipments you can make, and the less cost incurred.

There are several key components to warehouse management: Tracking Stock, Efficient Storage, Pick, Pack and Ship and Decision Support.  In this article I will focus on Tracking Stock – enabling managers to know the amount of stock available and when restocking is required. 

Included in this are things like efficiency, accuracy and labor utilization.  But this also impacts things like the avoidance of overselling, underselling and retailer chargebacks.  Let’s look at each piece that needs to be considered. 

Inventory Management is obvious and certainly critical.  You have to manage and track item inventory. But this may also be tied to Bills of Material for “Kit” items or even inventory of individual parts where necessary.  You also need the ability to track Containers to determine status, project how it will impact warehouse load, determine back order dates, avoid demurrages and forecast item lead times.  All of this needs to be seamlessly included in Inventory Management.

To avoid finding yourself in an overselling, underselling and / or chargeback position, you also need the ability to feed accurate item quantities for sale to multiple retailers, e-tailers and / or e-commerce sites based on Item availability, number of trading partners, sales trends, profit and charge backs.

Also included in Inventory Management are things like SKU returns and tracking.  SKU returns refers to handling the return of any item, for any reason, back to you for disposition.  You need to be able to accept a return and track both the cause and reason of the return. To accompany this, you need to be able to return items that can go back into inventory by identifying if it is fixable, track those fixed items and update inventory appropriately.

And don’t forget about SKU liquidation.  To maintain efficiency and avoid unnecessary cost you need to keep track of non-moving, out of style or end of shelf-life items and alert the need for liquidation.

Lastly, you need to consider inventory allocation.  In stock item inventory needs to be allocated to sales orders based upon order priority, shipping method and order size, as well as visibility of kit items that can be pre-packed prior to shipment based on sales history. 

These are just some of the capabilities that OPAL provides within one platform and without the need for numerous integrated systems.  OPAL is a self-driving Order Processing and Warehouse Productivity Software Solution that enables your business to easily and quickly cut order processing costs to less than $1, increase the order handling capacity of your warehouse by 50% – 100% and achieve profitability expectations that you thought were unattainable.