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Inventory Management

Jun 13, 2024

How a Stock Control System Can Improve Warehouse Efficiency

Discover the advantages of stock control systems, key features, and how to choose the right software for your warehouse needs.

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In today’s realm of fulfillment, a well-run warehouse is no longer a nicety – it's a necessity. Therefore, finding ways to improve warehouse efficiency is crucial for businesses aiming to stay competitive, especially with the increase in 3PL consolidation.  

That's where a robust stock control system comes into play, turning the nerve-wracking task of inventory management into a lean, mean inventory machine by making it a sleek, efficient process that minimizes errors. But how exactly do these systems work, and how can you determine the best for your business?

Throughout this article, we'll explain the advantages of using a stock control system, highlight essential features to look for and offer advice on how to select the best software for your warehouse needs. Let's dive in! 

 

Understanding warehouse stock control software


The importance of warehouse stock control

Stock control in warehouses, also known as inventory control, is a system that plays a crucial role in streamlining warehouse operations. This is because it is a dynamic system that oversees the availability and flow of goods within a warehouse. Its primary goal is to maintain optimal stock levels to fulfill customer demands, enhance storage efficiency, and reduce logistical expenses. But the system is also essential for streamlining warehouse operations by overseeing key tasks like storage, picking, and packing. Additionally, it meticulously tracks essential information like SKU, size, weight, color, and serial number to ensure smooth and efficient warehouse management.

The difference between stock control and inventory management

While stock control and inventory management are frequently used interchangeably, they do refer to different aspects of warehouse operations. It can also help to think of stock control as a subset, or part, of inventory management. For example, if you think of inventory management as big delicious pizza, stock control is one slice of the pie.

See that slice hanging out below? That slice represents stock control. (Who knew learning could be so tasty!) 


To explain this a little more, stock control primarily focuses on the products currently in stock at the warehouse. This means that it helps with the day-to-day allocation and use of inventory. However, inventory management is a broader term  that includes more than just the inventory in the warehouse. It also includes all steps tied to the inventory process like forecasting demand, ordering inventory, and getting the inventory to the product’s final destination. Slice, slice, baby.      

 

Key features of warehouse stock control software

Now that we've explored how warehouse stock control software can benefit businesses, let's take a look at the essential features of a top-notch system.

Real-time inventory tracking

One of the main advantages to a stock control system is that it offers real-time inventory tracking, helping make sure stock levels are updated instantly as changes occur. This feature can be critical in keeping stock data accurate across platforms, locations, and marketplaces – and can help avoid potential stockouts or overstock situations. 

Look at how zen she looks scanning the barcodes.

Barcode integration

The integration of barcode technology into a stock control system can help save time, eliminate human errors, and enhance inventory management. This is because barcode technology can give your operations a significant boost by reducing manual data entry and increasing the speed of inventory processing. With barcode technology, your inventory processing is now as fast as a scanner beep.  

Barcodes are also beneficial because of the accuracy they provide. Here’s an eye-opening statistic showing how barcode technology relates to manual entry. 

According to the Journal of Accountancy’s study, the error rate for manual data entry can range from 1% to 5%. Compare that with the barcode data entry error rate of about 1 in 3 million

Wowza.  

 

Inventory forecasting

Inventory forecasting is another key feature that can benefit your business by utilizing historical data to predict future stock needs, ensuring optimal inventory levels are maintained. This capability helps in planning purchases and managing stock more effectively to ensure that you maintain the goldilocks of inventory numbers - not too much or too little. 

Inventory alerts

Inventory alerts are essential for staying proactive when it comes to stock management. Having automated alerts that will notify management or anyone else who needs to know of critical stock levels helps to facilitate the necessary tasks to replenish inventory or address potential issues before they negatively impact operations. 

 

Advantages of using warehouse stock control software

I know we have already discussed some of the advantages of utilizing a stock control system, but there are many more we have yet to discuss. So, what are we waiting for? Let's take a gander at some benefits you can expect to have with a stock control system. 

Improved accuracy and efficiency

As already highlighted (but worth highlighting again), utilizing warehouse stock software like Zenventory significantly enhances the accuracy and efficiency of inventory management. This can be attributed to real-time data tracking that instantly updates inventory levels, minimizing errors and enabling quicker response times. This precision is also crucial for maintaining optimal stock levels and avoiding costly mistakes. 

Reduced costs 

Another advantage of stock control software is its ability to help reduce operational costs by optimizing inventory levels and minimizing excess stock. Technologies like barcode scanning can help streamline the tracking and management process, reducing the need for manual intervention (now you just scan and go) and thereby cutting costs. Furthermore, improved inventory management leads to better use of the warehouse space (now it’s optimized!), which also further decreases expenses. 

Better customer service

When using warehouse stock control software, real-time inventory updates give customers accurate information about product availability across platforms, channels, and locations. This transparency into stock updates helps maintain trust and satisfaction with customers because they have a better idea of the stock numbers and when they can expect to receive the product. Studies show that efficient order processing and quick delivery times enhance the overall customer experience and have a direct impact on repeat business. 

Enhanced data visibility and planning

The use of a stock control system improves data visibility across the supply chain, allowing for better decision-making with more information for better decisions, as well as more information to aid in better strategic planning. Now, you’re the mastermind. 

Access to detailed, real-time data enables businesses to forecast demand more accurately, plan procurement more efficiently, and respond swiftly to changes in the market, therefore strengthening the overall supply chain resilience. 

 

Choosing the right warehouse stock control software 

Okay, you may be now wondering how to wade through the many software options available. If that’s so, here are some factors to consider when choosing the perfect software for your needs. 

Scalability

When choosing the best warehouse stock control software for your business, it’s crucial to consider scalability to accommodate your growing business needs. By taking scalability into account, you can protect your future self from the stress of finding new software once you outgrow your old one. As an example of what to look for during your search, a system like Zenventory is designed to handle increasing order volumes, additional warehouses, and expanding product lines/SKUs, ensuring long-term support for your product growth. 

Integration capabilities

Finding software that offers robust integration capabilities with e-commerce sales channels, marketplaces, accounting software, shipping software, and more should be high on your list because it helps ensure data accuracy and a cohesive workflow across departments. Therefore, efficient integration with your existing systems or using an integration connector like Zapier or a robust API is vital for seamless operations.

User-friendliness

Let’s be real. The harder a software is to use, the harder it will be to get everyone to use it properly. That’s why a user-friendly interface is essential for successful software adoption. Zenventory is recognized for its intuitive design, which simplifies navigation and minimizes the learning curve, making it accessible for all users within your organization (even those that refer to themselves as “not tech savvy.”) This ease of use is critical for ensuring that every team member can efficiently interact with the software, boosting overall productivity. 

Cost considerations

Understanding the pricing models of different software providers is key to making an informed decision. Make sure that you know the pricing upfront. To ensure you have all the information to decide, ask about any onboarding costs, the cost per user, and how many integrations/warehouses the system supports. Also, if you plan on scaling, take a look at the plans above the one you plan on using. And remember: Just because software is more expensive does not always mean it has more functionality. 


Final thoughts 

Throughout this article, we have covered the transformative power of a sophisticated stock control system and its unparalleled ability to streamline warehouse operations. By embracing a system like Zenventory, businesses can experience a marked improvement in inventory accuracy, operational efficiency, and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. 

The significance of selecting the right stock control software cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts a business’s ability to respond to market changes, manage inventory more effectively, and improve overall profitability. 



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