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November 20, 2019

A Beginner’s Guide to Warehouse Management for Retailers

Behind every successful retail brand is a solid warehouse operation. Fact. Underestimating how important your warehouse is could destroy your business.

Results from BigCommerce’s recent survey showed that 80% of respondents felt that the cost of shipping and the speed of shipping were “extremely influential” on their choice of where to shop - meaning the need for effective warehouse management has never been more important.

But what has this got to do with PVC Roll? Well, our PVC products are used widely in many warehouses and so over the years we have been in business we have built up a great knowledge base of this area of business. And now we are going to share some of our knowledge with you!

 What is Warehouse Management?

Warehouse management can be defined as the act of controlling and organising everything within a warehouse environment - to ensure it runs in the most optimal way possible. 

This could include tasks such as:

  • Arranging inventory
  • Arranging the warehouse layout
  • Having the appropriate equipment available
  • Ensuring the equipment you have is maintained correctly
  • Managing any new stock which enters the warehouse
  • Tracking overall warehouse performance and ensuring it is running optimally

Now, let’s take a closer look at one of the most important warehouse management tasks:

Optimal Warehouse Layout

Making sure you have your warehouse laid out in the most optimal way is probably one of the most important steps you need to take.

To succeed at optimising your warehouse layout you should keep two things in mind:

  1. Having enough space for your stock
  2. Having enough space for your employees to move about and complete their tasks safely

 Many businesses do this by having designated areas for the following tasks:

  • Warehouse office
  • Receiving area for new stock
  • Booking in new stock
  • Unpacking new stock
  • Main stock storage area
  • Excess stock storage area
  • Packing area
  • Shipping station

As you can imagine, squeezing all of these areas into a space can be tricky, especially if your warehouse is on the small side. You can make it easier for yourself though by sketching a plan out before you set up your warehouse or start moving around what you already have. 

Arranging Your Warehouse Inventory

Now that your warehouse is laid out in an optimal way, how do you determine the best location to store each item of stock? Well, the most obvious thing to do is keep your best-selling items as close to the packing desk as possible. You can break down items into the following categories:

  1. High-Value Items with Low Sales Frequency
  2. Moderate Value Items with Moderate Sales Frequency
  3. Low-Value Items with High Sales Frequency

Items identified in the C category should then be stored close to your packing desk with items in the A category stored further away.

Don’t be afraid to rearrange stock on a regular basis too. After all, depending on what you are selling, your best-selling item may change frequently and so your storage solutions should change based on this.

Receiving and Managing New Stock

A critical part of warehouse management is being able to receive stock in, unpack it and store it away as efficiently as possible. After all, the faster you can get new stock into your system, the sooner you can get it on sale and earning money for you.

It is therefore important to:

  • Have enough space in your receiving area to temporarily house stock that has been delivered, without risk of it being damaged. There should also be enough space around it for your employees to be able to perform their necessary tasks in safety.
  • Have workers assigned to deal with new stock deliveries as soon as possible
  • Ensure everything is recorded accurately, especially when new stock has arrived and when it is stored away
  • Make sure all stock received is examined for damage and cross-checked against what was expected before it is put away. This can help you identify inbound shipping or packaging problems

This is just a brief overview of warehouse management. As you can imagine, it is a complex task with a wide variety of things to deal with on a daily basis. Getting it right, however, can be the difference between the success or failure of your business.

Here at Strip Curtains Direct, we work hard to make sure our PVC products help you to succeed in business - and that is one of the reasons we have set up our sister company worXmart. On the worXmart site, you can purchase a wide range of workplace essentials at great value for money prices.