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Warehouse Management Blog

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

Your inventory report better be accurate

WRITTEN BY Jonathan Bellwood /

09 April 2011

Reading the BBC News online just now, earlier today a fire had destroyed a single-storey warehouse in Enfield, UK. Sad for the owners and potentially an insurance nightmare if they do not know what assets and inventory they had. The question is, would a stock report from the warehouse management software and asset management software give you the correct details to claim from your insurance company?

First point is related to the inventory you hold in your warehouse. Common mistake I see weekly is that the stock report has a single stock number against each product with no status. You should have three statuses on your stock report, providing 3 inventory figures per product:

1. Available stock

This is inventory in your warehouse(s) that is available for sale. This is the figure that should be shown on your web site for purpose of sales availability.

2. Allocated stock

When an order is received from your customers, you/your system should allocate available stock before it goes to order picking and despatch. This blocks this inventory from being picked for other orders and prevents overselling.

3. On hand inventory

This is the total stock in your warehouse, made up of both available and allocated, but not yet despatched. You may also add damaged inventory to this which has not yet been written off. This is the stock report you need for insurance purposes, in the case your place burns down. Many make the mistake of removing item from stock before the order picking has even happened and also before the items have been despatched.

The second point is that the stock report should show the exact locations of the inventory quantities. A simple stocktake software will enable you to do regular stock takes, where you scan the location and then all the items in it. For companies that do not barcode every item, the stock take system can handle that as well.

In summary, if your operation was to burn down and you need to claim on insurance, you need a stock report that will show the products, their quantities by status and their locations. All this data should be up to the second live as orders are picked.

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