If your business ships physical product, your warehouse system helps shipping staff takes care of tracking inventory levels, receiving customer orders, allocating stock and generating bills of lading, among other things.

Your warehouse team also goes about the day-to-day activity of picking, packing and shipping.  And, like within any warehouse, this has to be done in a way that maximizes fill rate and minimizes order errors, while reducing costs.

This requires not only managing inventory levels but also the space that the inventory is sitting in i.e the shelves, the racks and the bins. How efficiently are items being brought to the shipping dock? How easy is it for your staff to pick or put away? Can they be more effective at it?  This is where barcode labelling can be extremely useful in helping you attain warehouse productivity goals.

Using barcode data from the shelves, racks and bins you’ve labelled in conjunction with your WMS, or Warehouse Control Software (WCS) will allow you to collect information that can help you map out optimal locations for each type of stock.  While you probably already have the fast moving products near the shipping docks and the very slow moving items out of the way at the periphery of the space, it would be much more helpful to know the optimum location for every item, fast, slow or in between, right down to what shelf level it should be on, for easier picking.  Barcoding your locations down to that level can then enable you to better plan for seasonality and product launches as well as stock movements within the warehouse.  Over time you will have a clearer and more detailed picture of where and how you can optimize your shipping and receiving processes.

This becomes more and more important as your business grows. Depending on the nature of your activities and how they evolve, what happens in your warehouse can become pretty complex.  Are you processing returns?  Will you begin refurbishing stock? Insights gleaned from Barcode labelling could help you designate the optimal area for these activities, as well as help you manage their inventories. Or how about your quality control process, which interacts directly with your stock? Other examples: Consignment stock, Inventory from your offices or various departments (physical plant) and the president’s winter tires (don’t want to loose those).

All kidding aside, however your warehouse is organized and whatever activities go on there, you need to get the most out of the physical space to attain your shipping goals. If you need help integrating barcodes with your warehouse system, we’d be glad to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.