Staying organized throughout the year—as a business—is tough. You have official documents and business paperwork to file electronically and in hardcopy. Next, there is the inventory, which includes management of information about costs of goods and the number of items purchased by customers.

You also have the physical inventory that must be prepackaged, shrink wrapped, and shelved—preferably with an electronic barcode. Keeping an active account of these areas may mean hundreds of thousands of dollars for your business. How do you save more than $100,000 for a SMB? Start with proper ecommerce inventory management, a modernized inventory organization system, and these inventory organization ideas.

About Inventory Organization Systems

Inventory organization systems are the backbone to ecommerce inventory management. In a business where everything is managed digitally, except for the actual making of your product, it pays to have your inventory sorted out professionally. Selling products online is a quick way to make money, but only if you are able to keep up with the customer demand.

Losing sales to a poorly managed inventory will only make you miserable. And you also do not want to make more of any item than you have customers ready to purchase now or in the future. Let’s avoid these issues with the help of best practices for any warehouse.

What are Some Warehouse Organization Best Practices

A warehouse must be organized to save time, improve employee safety, and reduce costs of overhead. You face noncompliance fines and penalties if your warehouse becomes a hazard to employees or the general public. We all want to avoid those as much as possible. With some focused attention on warehouse organization best practices, any business can improve the capacity of its inventory.

When maintaining a well-ordered warehouse, your in-house organizational best practices need to revolve around:

  • Tracking stock
  • Locating items
  • Low stock
  • Overstock
  • Item count

Have an inventory management system in place to compile data. This data is invaluable in terms of business assets. One way to manage inventory data is to implement warehouse management system (WMS) software. For end-of-the-year financial reports on the valuation of warehouse inventory, WMS software will compile data in a professional, presentable manner.

The physical space and layout of the warehouse where the inventory is stored also demands attention. Here you may have forklifts and high-rise storage shelving to accommodate products over long periods of time. The chance that your employees might lose some of those items is clear given these conditions.

Setting up a warehouse for optimal picking and packing performance takes some modernization. You will need to have a well-planned and wide enough are. Each of your shelving units must be ready to hold the maximum capacity of products and containers.

Lighting is also very important. Maintain a well-lit warehouse and greatly reduce human error due to misreading or mislabeled products.

By using a digitized barcode system with satellite radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking technology, you further increase its efficiency. Employees improve inventory tracking capacity by up to 99 percent with RFID barcoding, which is relatively inexpensive to maintain. You can also identify key data points for the inventory with technology. This allows you to tease out data sets and run customized, on-the-fly reports more efficiently.

How to Organize Inventory in Warehouse

As you pull together the best pick and pack setup for your warehouse, start with a sheet of graph paper. Measure and scale the size of the space and draw the layout for your inventory shelving and work areas. Account for the doorways and entries, along with the electrical boxes and other emergency access spaces. Use the squares on the page for each square foot of the warehouse for ease of concept planning.

You can also do this using interior design software programs like:

  • SketchUp Pro
  • Autodesk AutoCAD LT
  • Archicad 23
  • Infurnia
  • Substance by Adobe
  • CoConstruct

While AutoCAD is the most traditionally used by architects and interior designers, SketchUp Pro features tools to measure anticipated energy use and daylighting in the warehouse. If you organize your warehouse and inventory by energy patterns, you greatly reduce the overall cost of maintaining this area of your business. You can go greener by implementing eco-elements into the warehouse, such as a recycling station and nontoxic cleaning supplies.

Now you are ready to make investments in the storage systems and software technology that is required for warehousing inventory. If you are maintaining an inventory solely for selling or picking from bins, then you are most likely not going to need pallets. Commercial-sized bins are ideal for storing individual items in bulk that will be sorted at a later date.

Inventory Organization Ideas and Examples

Next, you want to set up the most efficient inventory you can by adding the best tools and technology. Check the wifi connection for all areas of the warehouse where you have inventory. This ensures there are no gaps that could cause you to lose digital track of a product or for communications with workers. Warehouse employees need a way to communicate both in real time and for ongoing messaging. Ideal i nventory organization ideas include:

  • Walkie-talkie style mobile phones
  • Mobile tablets
  • Handheld barcode scanners
  • RFID tags
  • Forklifts for heavier loads
  • Stackable shelf bins for smaller loads
  • Mailbox shipping materials and labeling
  • Security and safety signage that is OSHA compliant

You also need OSHA compliant safety courses and regulations that are noted and reviewed by your employees. This comes with forklift driver certification that is required by business owners. Forklift driving certification is essential for anyone who wants to protect themselves against forklift injuries and related expenses.

The warehouse must also be equipped with proper lighting and air ventilation systems. The lighting and HVAC units will make all the difference to employee health and the storage of your products. Poor ventilation also increases the buildup of dust and other particles that are detrimental to cardboard, as well as the quality of the products in storage.

Benefits of Warehouse and Inventory Improvements

Simply put, you want to focus on the whole health of the warehouse as you optimize and organize your physical inventory. With these inventory organization ideas above, they ensure the best financial outcome for your business and its bottom line. Along with expediting access to items in the inventory, you also expand your ability to gather data about your business. This is critical to smart growth now and in the future as you develop new products and deal with gaps in inventory.