Coming out of 2020 into another uncertain year, keeping a handle on demand fluctuations can be a little like herding cats. We look at the unmatched benefits of tracking and tracing in your warehouse for the efficiency, agility, and scalability you need.
In our blog “12 benefits of lot tracking to your inventory & the waste-free world”, we discuss the difference between the two tracking types and show the benefits of each.
Lot tracking constitutes a bulk of the traceability required by distributors or pharmaceuticals, food, fabric, and fireworks – knowing the numbers in your inventory, the date of manufacture, and the expiry (if applicable) of these items helps you to trace and track information on these products that may not be otherwise available.
Serial tracking is particular to a single product within a batch, and this unique identifier helps control the item throughout the distribution chain, as well as during warranty queries, insurance requests, and after-sales service. Most often, serial numbers are found on electronics, appliances, and vehicular parts.
We already know that cross-docking improves your efficiency in a number of ways, combining your inbound and outbound efforts. Tracking helps you to ensure that the correct items, in correct quantities, are transferred from receiving to shipping.
Receiving, staging, and storing items in the order in which they’ll be required for shipping is critical. Lot and serial tracking help to ensure that this process is accurate and streamlined.
Lot tracking in, serial tracking out: When pallets are broken down into their components for storage and shipping, tracking the lots and units can get complex. Managing these processes with lot and serial tracking is critical.
This one’s simple: Know where the item is at any time, and find it easily.
Ticketed, tagged, and tracked items ready for retail distribution are often packed in-warehouse. Keeping track of each item, what’s been done vs what needs to be queued, and knowing which items require which tags, tickets, packaging, or treatment, speeds up this process.
Temporary holding of ready-to-ship items can create blockages in your process, and in the worst-case scenario, poor tracking can lead to delivery errors and reduced accuracy. Keep track of each pack and hold order to ensure that the right items are sent at the right time.
Planning your loads for distribution is simplified by the ability to gain insight from your tracking and tracing process. Knowing which items are time-sensitive or perishable enables a priority hierarchy to be followed; in other applications, lot and serial tracking enable you to efficiently manage space within the distribution process.
For retail specifically, this function is aided by lot and serial tracking for accurate and streamlined loading and checking off of items, and the same on delivery, so that in-, through-, and outgoing items are followed through the distribution chain.
Optimising your warehouse based on the FIFO, FEFO, FPFO, and LIFO models is simplified when you are able to track which items arrived when, which require priority, and where each item is for quicker picking and packing.
Touched upon above, picking and replenishment is streamlined by tracking technology where a full view of the inventory and placement is required.
SKU tracking and your lot and serial tracking processes are a symbiotic group. SKU characteristics are the generally base of your tracking data – setting these up correctly is critical. Lot and serial tracking help to manage these and give a full view of your inventory.
We’ve mentioned a few outbound benefits, and the overarching theme is the efficiency improvement for the full outbound shipping and loading process. Know which item, how many, where, and what their priority is on all outbound orders.
Electronic information capture ensures a higher accuracy score and improves both efficiency and consumer satisfaction.
This function allows you to improve the efficiency, consistency, and reliability of your inventory management by making the entire tracking process quicker and easier.
Keep tabs on your inventory for earlier responses to breakages, spoilage, or factory faults.
Product recalls happen. Tracking technology can help you to ensure you can recall every item within the batch or lot affected.
With the data you have from your inbound and outbound distribution, you can simply and quickly facilitate returns and replacements.
This is the critical component: thorough and in-depth tracking allows you to manage all aspects of your inventory in a comprehensive, centralised view.
For more ideas on how to improve your warehouse operations, download the Warehouse Optimisation Checklists: