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Warehouse Management Blog

Our team of Fulfilment Consultants share warehouse management best practice and advice.

Inventory adjustments with a WMS

How To

WRITTEN BY Jonathan Bellwood /

27 August 2015

There are a number of reasons why you might need to do an inventory adjustment in your eCommerce warehouse but with a WMS (warehouse management system) that utilises barcodes you shouldn’t need to make as many. For those inventory adjustments that you do have to complete, a WMS should help to record them faster.

So, how does a WMS affect inventory adjustments? Let us tell you.

1. Stolen inventory

Having the traceability we mentioned above also helps to reduce stolen inventory because you can easily check the database to find out who last handled the missing product. When your staff know this, you can bet it’ll be quite a deterrent.

2. Spoiled Inventory

In a warehouse that manages products with an expiry date, spoiled stock is pretty high up on the list of reasons for inventory adjustments. With a WMS, it is much easier to enforce rules like First In First Out (FIFO) and First Expired First Out (FEFO) so that older stock is shipped before inventory new in.

3. Stock take / cycle-counting variances

Imagine for a moment that your warehouse operations are like a set of dominoes lined up in a trail. The first domino is your Goods In. If this is completed incorrectly and you have miscounted inventory, the domino falls and this impacts every single domino afterwards.

With a WMS for eCommerce, your Goods In should be 100% accurate. A flawless Goods In then spreads throughout the rest of the warehouse like catchy tune. As a result of this impeccably accurate stock, you won’t need to do as many stock takes or cycle-count which is a bonus right off the bat, is it not?

When you do complete a stock take, your variances should be minimal if there at all, which is just one way to reduce inventory adjustments with a WMS.

[Related:6 tips for performing an eCommerce stock take]

4. Damaged inventory

Once again, if Goods In is done right, your warehouse management software should give you full visibility on all inventory in your warehouse. This means that when inventory is damaged, the warehouse manager can look into the system and find out who has handled the item. Having visibility on this can help to curb future inventory damage by flagging up members of staff that need training in certain areas.

The less damaged inventory that you have then the fewer stock adjustments you have to complete. On top of this, when damaged inventory is found, its condition can be noted easily within the WMS and the appropriate actions can be taken, ie. moving it to quarantine.

[Related:14 benefits of warehouse management software for eCommerce]

5. Marketing samples

Sometimes, as you may have encountered, the marketing department will need a sample of certain inventory, perhaps for photographing. A WMS will allow an inventory adjustment for this purpose, keeping an accurate record of why the product status was changed without the need for notes on sheets of paper that can easily get lost.

6. ‘Out of fashion’ inventory

Like with expired products, inventory that has gone out of season is another big reason why adjustments are made. With a WMS you have access to plenty of smart data that will give you a good indication of how much stock you’ll need for a particular timeframe. With this data in your pocket, there should be very little, if any at all, extraneous stock that didn’t sell when you wanted it to and so fewer reasons to make an inventory adjustment.

[Related:How eCommerce companies should be buying inventory]

Key Takeaways

>> You can decrease the number of inventory adjustments with a WMS

>> Inventory adjustments can be completed faster with a WMS than manually

>> Reducing time spent making these adjustments will save operating costs

To learn how you could achieve the ultimate eCommerce warehouse, download our free eBook.

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