If you have an ecommerce business, making sure you can supply your customers with products on time is of crucial importance to your success. Keeping your customers happy relies on how well your inventory is managed in your warehouse, and how quickly customer orders are picked, packed, and shipped.

What is Warehouse Inventory Management?

Warehouse inventory management is a process that involves receiving, storing, and tracking inventory in a warehouse; managing warehouse staff, and optimizing storage space and costs; all of which directly impact fulfillment, shipping, and the customer experience.

Inventory management involves several different processes to maintain efficient and accurate operations.

Warehouse Inventory Management Processes

1. Warehouse Layout Optimization

Optimizing your warehouse is critical to maintaining a good workflow. You need to decide how best to organize your inventory to make fulfilling orders as efficiently as possible while keeping inventory carrying costs low. Start by assessing the warehouse layout to see if it will work for your order fulfillment process.

One practice, warehouse slotting, stores inventory by category so that frequently sold items are together, or items of the same size and shape are together. You can personalize your organization in any way that makes sense for your company’s process.

2. Warehouse Inventory Control Tracking & Recording

When you run an ecommerce business, managing inventory is a priority. To control stock, you need to invest in inventory management software to:

  • Automate order picking
  • Track inventory in real-time
  • Forecast inventory demand
  • Generate reports
  • Optimize inventory levels

Tracking inventory requires a reliable storage system and inventory management software to implement these tasks. If you’re doing the inventorying yourself or leasing a warehouse, finding inventory apps that can manage your inventory, track it, and conduct warehouse and inventory audits is a must. Ordoro’s inventory management software can do all these inventory tasks, and more.

3. Picking & Packing

In order to support your picking and packing team, and reduce human error, you should optimize your picking and packing process. This can be done in several ways, including creating a zone for your most popular items and using batch picking, which collects batches of products for identical orders at one time, instead of picking each order one by one. This practice reduces the number of times you need to pick in one area.

4. Shipping

If your orders are self-fulfilled, you are aware of how time-consuming it is. There are also some hidden costs to doing it yourself. To alleviate some of these issues, you can choose to dropship or blindship instead. With either of these practices, the manufacturer does the shipping, and you no longer need to manage a warehouse full of inventory.

Dropshipping can have some downsides, including poor quality control, no control over logistics, and an inability to personalize your customer’s experience. Because of these reasons, many ecommerce businesses hire a third-party logistics company (3PL) to fulfill and ship orders for them. Often, 3PLs offer additional benefits, such as better shipping rates from carriers, and more efficient order tracking.

5. Reporting & Optimizing

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) can improve your operations as well as distribute reports for your entire inventory. Some of these reports are fulfillment-related, like mis-pick or mis-pack reports, number of orders fulfilled by hour or day, number of orders shipped on time, etc.

Your WMS can also help you manage staff by forecasting the number of orders you will fulfill, thereby determining staff hours needed. Visibility into warehouse operations gives you the ability to make more informed decisions on how to optimize your warehouse.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Free Warehouse Inventory Software

Using Excel

When you first started your ecommerce business, you may have decided to use warehouse stock management in Excel to manage your inventory. If you are already trained on spreadsheets, you can use Excel for maintaining a basic inventory system.

Although Excel is a free platform, it still takes a lot of time to manually input information, leading to the possibility of more human error. This system doesn’t have the capability to grow with your business or to process more complex needs like multichannel sales, or more than one inventory warehouse. As your business grows, a spreadsheet system becomes inflexible and unwieldy.

Using Open Source Software

Open Source software is also free to use, but it has some of the same drawbacks as Excel. Using an Open Source warehouse management system requires knowledge of coding, and sometimes has weird quirks or bugs because of an odd mix of features. It’s highly unlikely that the default version of the Open Source software will suit your needs, and you may also find that the coding is changed by someone else without your knowledge. Another drawback is that there’s no way to customize Open Source for your inventory management, and you can’t integrate it with the rest of your sales and inventory software.

Benefits of Using Warehouse Inventory Management for Your Small Business

As your small business grows, you reach a point where doing everything manually is overwhelming. Maybe it’s time to take the next step to grow your business, by investing in the best inventory management system. Why is warehouse inventory management important?

  • Accountability of Inventory
  • Tracking the Inflow and Outflow of Inventory
  • Reducing Overstocking and Understocking
  • Optimizing Use of Warehouse Space
  • Reducing Risk of Overselling
  • Saving Money on Carrying Costs
  • Offering More Insights
  • Increasing Profits
  • Happier Customers

Ordoro is designed for small businesses to maximize their time on what is important – growing your own business – instead of worrying about your warehouse operations. Ordoro was built as a way to help small businesses operate like large corporations, but at a fraction of the cost, by providing easy inventory management and order processing for online merchants.

Ordoro began when our CEO, Jagath Narayan, developed the idea for Ordoro when he was getting his MBA. “My core thesis was small businesses encounter many of the same challenges as large companies, albeit at a different scale.”

Best Warehouse Inventory Management Software

Ordoro is the best inventory management software for ecommerce and can offer a range of solutions to help with your warehouse inventory management.

  • Consolidate Your Inventory: Add multiple warehouses, including Fulfillment by Amazon, dropshipping, and select which warehouse to ship from.
  • Eliminate Spreadsheets: ¬†With Ordoro, you can get rid of your spreadsheets. No more manually entering numbers. Ordoro tracks your inventory to prevent stockouts or overages. You can easily set a low inventory threshold for each product, and Ordoro will notify you if you reach that quantity.
  • Automatically Sync Inventory: Ordoro automatically updates and syncs product quantities across your integrated sales and supplier channels to keep your inventory accurate.
  • Scan Inventory Barcodes: Improve your inventory accuracy by scanning UPC barcodes. You can scan, set, and search for UPC codes within Ordoro. You can speed up picking and packing by tagging products with aisle and bin locations.
  • Optimize Warehouse Layout: Assign an aisle and bin location for your products in Ordoro. For multiple warehouses, you can specify which warehouse location.
  • More Efficient Picking & Packing: You can print the Packing & Pick List and select Sort by Location to decrease your picking and packing time.
  • Reduce Picking & Packing Errors: Using the barcode scanning feature, you can reduce costly fulfillment errors. When you select an order, Ordoro will display the items to pick, scan, and pack, then mark the order complete when the order is filled. If an item is scanned too many times, or not associated with the order, Ordoro sends you an error message.
  • Advanced Analytics: Ordoro’s built-in analytics tracks all of your metrics, and you can export a CSV file of data to connect with QuickBooks or other accounting software.

Need More Information on Warehouse Inventory Management Software?

If you’d like more information on Ordoro’s simple warehouse inventory management software, schedule a demo today.