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September 25, 2017
The estimated time to read this article is 6 Minutes

Multiple Warehouse Management: Get in Control

As businesses expand, so do their needs for multiple warehouses. Having multiple warehouses in various locations, whether nationally or internationally, has some great advantages. Shipping products faster, bringing down shipping costs and spreading risk are just a few of them. However, these advantages will only play out when warehouses are managed properly. In this blog, we will elaborate on the advantages, challenges, and solutions in multiple warehouse management.

Multiple Warehouse Management: The Advantages

Having multiple warehouses poses many advantages to businesses. It’s good to understand that warehouses do not necessarily only apply to international businesses. Next to the more obvious need for more warehouses when operating internationally, businesses might need to cover certain areas within a country. Other reasons might simply be that stock does not fit into one warehouse or the use of backup warehouses, just in case of disasters such as a fire breakout.

Most businesses decide to use multiple warehouses because of the following advantages:

1. Cheaper Transportation and Lower Costs

Having multiple warehouses may mean avoiding unnecessary transportation costs for transportation. Strategically placing warehouses makes sure products take a minimum time to go from the factory to the warehouse and to the consumer. This does not only lower transportation costs but also cuts down labor costs, thus enabling companies to lower prices for the consumer.

2. Spreading out Risk

Only having one warehouse comes with a certain risk. In the unfortunate event of a break-in, fire outburst or any other disaster (no matter its nature), shipping products from that warehouse may become impossible. Having multiple warehouses means that there is always a backup in place.

3. Raising Service Standards

When consumers order a product, they want to have it in their hands as soon as possible. The shorter the time it takes, the happier the customers are. As shipping times lower, customer satisfaction rises!

4. Supporting Omni-Channel Strategies

Warehouses might not only be the traditional big buildings full of stock, that we usually think of first. Brick-and-mortar stores can also be seen as smaller warehouses. When an order comes in, and the products are available from a nearby store, the order can be shipped directly from the store, quicker than before.

Multiple Warehouses – Challenges and Solutions

Having to deal with multiple warehouses also means experiencing the challenges of multiple warehouse management. Let us show you some of these challenges and explain how these can easily be tackled.

1. Keeping Track of All your Warehouses

First of all, it can be a challenge to lose sight of all that is going in on the warehouses. When events are taking are happening in one warehouse, it can be hard to give the rest of the warehouses the attention they need. Especially when warehouses are widespread, and not easy to visit, keeping oversight can be hard.

How can Marello help out?

With Marello, it is easy to keep track of all that is going in on in your warehouses. Because of its omni-channel capabilities, that track many different processes, it is easy to keep an overview of all warehouses. Take a look at inventory levels, incoming and outgoing orders, returns and refunds, all from one easily accessible dashboard.

2. Keeping up Inventory Levels

At the core of multiple warehouse management is making sure that warehouses are sufficiently stocked at all times. There are many processes that influence stock levels, such as incoming orders, returned products, and purchase orders. In a previous blog we explained that inventory management is a balancing game; Having too much inventory means spending extra money on storage, or risking reaching expiring dates while having too little inventory means missing out on sales.

Inventory management must be dealt with extreme caution, to make sure warehouses do not run out of supply.

How can Marello help out?

Marello has various features that help to keep inventories across warehouses balanced. These include:

By keeping track of all incoming orders, shipments and mutations to inventory levels it is easy to see exactly what is still available for sale.

  • Purchasing

When new products are needed, Marello can automatically compile advice for the number of products that need to be purchased, as well as at what supplier.

  • Return management

As online purchases have increased, so have the number of returns. It is estimated that 30-35% of all products that are ordered online will be returned by customers. Flexible management tools such as Marello can help synchronize and control how products move between distribution centers, shops, and customers by putting in place an efficient returns stream so that returned products are available for sale again as quickly as possible.

The worst that can happen to businesses? Having no products to sell. If you run out of products to sell, customers will look for other providers. Many eCommerce businesses plan purchases of new inventory on a certain date, or when their stock reaches a certain level. However, a static re-order does not always suffice, especially when sales fluctuate over time. Sales trends are the biggest factors when determining how much inventory is needed at specific times.

How can Marello help out?

Marello compiles forecasts to measure future demand based on a range of criteria, including historical demand, overall trends, product promotions, and seasons. In that way, businesses can be sure not to have too many non-selling products or too little well-selling products.

4. Miscommunication

Having multiple warehouses also means having staff that can impossibly attend every meeting you hold in person. Therefore remote collaboration is a must. Instead of emailing back and forth data every day, it is much more efficient to all work together within one centralized space.

How can Marello help out?

Create various accounts for your staff and make sure everyone has the same insight into all inventory and order data. Set up custom reports and make sure everyone always has access to the same information.

Use the Right Multiple Warehouse Management System

Expanding and adding new warehouses will bring forth new opportunities. However, it will also mean that new challenges will arise. These challenges might turn into issues, which will increase at an exponential rate… unless you have the right warehouse management system in place. With Marello, companies can set in place efficient processes, minimize errors and make sure that supply meets demand across warehouses.

Want to know more about Marello? Why don’t you drop us a line, or try our demo?

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