Managing a warehouse is demanding at the best of times, so when you add multiple distribution centres into the mix, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But given the key role warehousing plays in efficient order fulfilment and supply chain management, overseeing two or more warehouses is something you’ll want to get right.
At Intact, we regularly speak to businesses that are scaling up and expanding warehousing operations. This means we’re uniquely qualified to offer guidance on how best to manage multiple warehouse branches, particularly if your organisation has recently acquired its second or third site.
In this guide, we offer some essential tips on effectively managing multiple warehouse distribution branches, including leveraging mobile warehousing, and utilising advanced business intelligence tools.
- Utilise Handheld ‘Smart Warehousing’ Devices
- Lean on Real-Time Data and Insights
- Limit Opportunities for Human Error
- Utilise Business Intelligence Tools to Analyse Performance and Efficiency
- Automate Manual Processes to Free Up Resources and Focus on Key Areas
- Invest in an Integrated Business Management Tool to Streamline Warehousing
- Take Control of Multi-Branch Finances
Utilise Mobile Handheld Devices
To ensure efficiency, accuracy and consistency across multiple warehouses and distribution centres, the advantages of handheld devices cannot be overstated. Firstly, they can dramatically streamline previously labour-intensive tasks – making it much easier to coordinate warehousing processes across multiple sites and team members.
Secondly, they can greatly improve your day-to-day logistics operations. From reducing overstocking and shrinkage to allowing you to track items from goods in to goods out; there are many ways to leverage the technology to better service your warehouse centres and improve stock accuracy.
If you’d like to learn more about the capabilities of mobile warehousing, click here.
Lean on Real-Time Data and Insights
The demands of modern business mean that up-to-the-minute data and insights are now a crucial part of efficient and accurate stock management and logistics. That’s why it’s essential today that your system affords easy access to stock and order updates in real-time. And by setting up relevant alerts, you and your team can be notified of any discrepancies that could lead to delivery lead times being missed, so action can be taken.
Rolling out an effective and fully integrated business management and warehousing solution across multiple sites is resource-intensive initially, but the positives it can bring make it a worthwhile venture. From knowing the exact status of individual orders to being able to map exactly where inventory items are stored across your warehouse infrastructure; real-time data promises invaluable insights that drive efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. And in doing so, brings a superior level of customer service.
Limit Opportunities for Human Error
The more complex your warehousing infrastructure, the greater the opportunity for human error. We speak to many clients who are looking to drive efficiencies within a multi-warehouse operation and removing the risk of human error and inconsistency is among the first things we suggest to ensure positive change and reliable inventory management.
Inadvertently, humans account for the majority of inaccuracies and inconsistencies that can affect the smooth running of a multi-site warehouse operation. So, investing in software that reduces the risk of person-related errors is always a positive step.
Whether that means increasing automation, relying on mobile warehousing tech, or streamlining day-to-day workflows; there are lots of ways to limit opportunities for human error across your warehouses and distribution centres.
Utilise Business Intelligence Tools to Analyse Performance and Efficiency
Enterprise-wide business intelligence tools can be of huge benefit to your warehousing infrastructure, helping to maintain performance and highlight areas where changes are needed. Such technology can be leveraged to suit a range of business and operational objectives – whether that’s saving money, increasing accuracy, or improving the order fulfilment process.
As more companies recognise the value and capabilities of big data, business intelligence tools are becomingly increasingly prevalent. They form an integral part of running your business and place information at the heart of your organisation to allow you to spot trends and forecast opportunities, interrogate and drill down into your data. The applications for such technology in a warehouse setting are numerous – giving you the opportunity to improve overall accuracy and performance.
Of course, one of the key benefits of business intelligence is having a centralised location for data and insights which relate to your inventory. This is essential when managing multiple warehouse sites, with all information fed into a single data entry point to maintain accuracy and reduce errors and duplication.
Automate Manual Processes to Free Up Resources and Focus on Key Areas
Automation is a crucial aspect of modern warehousing. With two or more warehouses to manage and oversee, you need to lean on the relevant automation tools to streamline operations and save on labour-intensive manual processing.
Modern inventory management software offers a plethora of automation capabilities that can transform your logistics, warehousing, and distribution activity. From logging and tracking inventory to keeping eCommerce platforms in sync with stock volumes and orders; automation tools can help you take care of a range of tasks across multiple warehousing sites and departments.
Invest in an Integrated Business Management Tool to Streamline Warehousing
Modern business management platforms, including full ERP suites, are capable of transforming your warehousing operations – offering advanced features and capabilities to streamline workflows and processes.
Managing multiple warehouse and distribution sites requires a unified and consistent approach, and this is hard to accomplish without the right system and platforms in place. ERP software is a powerful way to control every aspect of your warehousing and logistics operations, with intuitive functionality and a centralised database to make light work of day-to-day management.
Invest in an ERP suite for your multi-warehouse logistics operation, and you can benefit from assets like:
- Advanced stock control
- Anytime, anywhere mobile access
- A suite of business intelligence tools
- A centralised database
- Intuitive, unified interfaces across multiple sites
- Inventory management process automation
- Integrated eCommerce facility
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of managing your warehouse and distribution through an integrated ERP system, click here.
Take Control of Multi-Branch Finances
Taking care of financials and providing up-to-date management information is an integral part of any well-run business. And for firms operating multiple warehouse distribution centres, this level of tight fiscal control is key.
Investing in advanced business management software gives you the ability to produce actual versus budget reports, which can be a vital ingredient in encouraging business growth and ensuring accurate reporting. Profitability and cost-centre reporting by branch is an important factor in multi-site businesses, and the right software can help streamline this process significantly.
Fully integrated accounting across a multi-site operation means improved efficiency, monitoring and control. With ready access to accounts covering all branches and sites, you can make the right decisions for your business at the right times – improving day-to-day management and growth forecasting as a result.
Keen to learn more about warehousing and inventory management? Take a look at our distribution and wholesale web page, where you’ll find some helpful resources for optimising stock management and warehousing processes. Alternatively, if you’d like to learn more about Intact and our range of future-fit business management solutions, visit the homepage or contact our team.