How to make improvements to inventory control in 2023

Inventory is the backbone of retail and manufacturing companies, and managing it as it moves through the supply chain is a crucial task for businesses. From ordering to storing to using inventory in manufacturing processes or shipping it out to customers, there has to be oversight to ensure there’s always enough stock to meet demand.

Managers and company owners have to balance this demand with the cost of both the product and storing it. That’s what inventory control is all about. We’re going to look at the ways good inventory control makes businesses more efficient and put forward ideas to make the system better.


Why inventory control is important

More chance of items staying in peak condition

Any stock that’s damaged in storage is a financial loss for your company. Inventory control can reduce or eliminate damaged goods by tracking items closely as they move through the supply chain. When carried out thoroughly and accurately, stock gets rotated through the system faster. This means items spend less time in storage where they could sustain damage, resulting in a higher probability of goods being top quality.

Maintains the right levels

While there always has to be enough in stock to satisfy demand, having too much of any item is not good for the bottom line. Good inventory control finds those correct levels, ensuring they’re maintained while adding a bit more for emergencies – safety stock.

Simplifies audits

When the inventory control is on point, all the information needed for an audit is at your fingertips. This saves a company time and money.

Less waste

Inventory control doesn’t just mean keeping a close eye on stock as it moves through the supply chain and its levels in storage, it also provides data about which items are selling and which are not. This informs buying decisions, ensuring you’re not left holding unwanted stock. Unwanted stock is a drain on resources, both space in the warehouse and finances.


Ways to improve inventory control

Create a good floor plan.

A good floor plan in a warehouse makes everything easily accessible and facilitates movement around it, giving a boost to productivity. To achieve this, items that move faster should be upfront, heavy items should be in low shelving, and walkways should be easy to navigate. Signage that’s large and clear needs to be posted everywhere too. It’s how warehouse workers find their way around.

Strengthen relationships with suppliers.

Good relationships come down to communication, and that starts with getting to know the contact person at each of your suppliers. When you have a dialogue, you build trust, something that, in turn, puts you in a position to negotiate better rates, return anything unsold, and turn your purchase orders around faster.

Use a warehouse management system.

An inventory control system keeps tabs on items as they move through your entire supply chain, and a warehouse management system maintains complete oversight over the storage facility. Adding a warehouse management system increases efficiency and reduces errors and confusion.

Conduct regular audits.

It’s important to know that your financial records accurately reflect the stock you actually have. That’s why you have to conduct these audits regularly. Fortunately, your inventory control system makes this relatively easy and painless.

Label properly.

For your supply chain to work as efficiently as possible, every item has to be clearly and correctly labeled. Nowadays that means using barcodes, QR codes, and scanners. These digitized systems also help with real-time inventory control.

Create reports.

Inventory control systems collect and store a lot of data, and the data can be incorporated into reports about your inventory. These reports can contain information that stretches from stock levels to items that are out of stock to items that have become obsolete to financial statements. Configure this information in whatever way you want, but do produce the reports regularly. It will help you keep oversight on your business.

Cycle count.

Basically a quicker and more efficient method for stock taking, a cycle count only involves a small section of the warehouse at a time. It’s usually practiced as a continual process, systematically working from one end of the facility to another, then starting at the beginning again when the process reaches the end. Cycle counting means you don’t have to shut operations down for a few days, as with traditional stock audits that count everything at the same time. In addition to keeping the supply chain in running order, counting a section at a time like this is actually more accurate.


Wrapping up

Having good control over inventory is essential for a business to thrive.Cin7 Omni can be a great help. With an array of tools to track inventory and maintain good levels, you’ll have the control you need to have. Our experts are standing by to tell you more and give you a demo. Click here to schedule a time that’s right for you.

How lean warehousing cuts waste and costs

The global supply chain is growing at a tremendous rate, putting pressure on wholesalers and retailers to get more mileage out of their warehouses. These giant storerooms must hold more inventory, and stock has to be processed faster. A good way of achieving this is by adopting a lean method of warehouse management.


What is the lean approach?

Developed by Toyota for its auto manufacturing plants, the lean approach is all about paring processes down to a minimum, leaving only what’s necessary and essential in place. When applied properly and strategically, a lean approach can significantly reduce costs. It can also improve customer satisfaction.


What is lean warehousing?

Just as the lean approach cut out anything unnecessary in Toyota’s manufacturing plants, in a warehouse, it means having the least amount of inventory to satisfy demand while streamlining processes to ensure there are no extra steps.

In addition to reducing overall cost and increasing efficiency, lean warehousing also leads to more accurate control over inventory. With such control in place, the whole supply chain runs smoother and more efficiently, and customers get their products in good time.

Here are a few more ways lean warehousing helps retailers and wholesalers:

  • Provides better visibility into warehouse activities,
  • Enables quicker decision-making,
  • Reduces lead times,
  • Improves operational efficiency,
  • Ensures the accuracy of data, and
  • Reduces unnecessary inventory.


How does the lean approach reduce waste in a warehouse?

Less wasted inventory

With the lean method, a warehouse stocks a bare minimum of inventory, holding only what’s going to be used or sold in the near term. As a result, there’s less chance of a company being left holding stock it can’t sell.

More cost-effective transportation

Here, the lean approach means finding direct routes when making deliveries. To meet customer expectations, transportation should be aligned with customer service so the entire transportation process becomes smooth and cost-effective.

Efficient flow of inventory

The route taken by inventory in a warehouse should be the quickest and most effective. This route goes from collecting the items to getting it to the packing department and the packing process itself. In other words, every time inventory moves from one area to another, it should only be in the service of the actual fulfillment process. This also eliminates the time inventory sits in the warehouse.

A system is overprocessed when it has steps in it that have no direct purpose. Those steps are a waste. By applying lean warehousing principles, the whole process can be analyzed and tracked to ensure that every action taken is there for a reason: to fulfill orders as fast as possible.

No more paper

Lean principles make the warehouse go paperless. That means no paper pick tickets, packing slips, or other such paperwork. Lean warehousing shifts all these forms to electronic devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. This can lead to big savings over time, while cutting down manual errors.


What are the five S’s of lean warehousing?

There are five practices that have to be paid attention to with the lean method. Each is equally important, and each begins with the letter “S.”


This is about stock control, making the best use of the inventory. You should:

  • Remove damaged, outdated, surplus, broken and defective stock from the warehouse.
  • Only move inventory around the warehouse when it’s necessary.
  • Automate inventory control, logging it in and tracking its movement with electronic devices like scanners.


When you’ve sorted out the stock, you have to make sure it’s organized in the best way.

  • Place frequently used items in areas that are easy to get to.
  • Clearly label the inventory, and tag everything.
  • Put up signage that clearly shows where everything is and gives directions to get to it.


This is about the whole facility being clean and tidy. When the warehouse is well-maintained, efficiency is increased and accidents are reduced. When applying shining, you need to do the following:

Have the warehouse cleaned after every shift.

  • Maintain hygiene in the warehouse.
  • Place garbage cans everywhere to prevent littering.


In a warehouse, all employees and managers should follow the same procedures to ensure the warehouse is run well. Warehouses are standardized in the following ways:

  • Set standards and clearly defined processes that help weed out ambiguity.
  • Make all the standards easily accessible to the staff.
  • Translate processes and procedures into simple pictures, and place them visibly around the warehouse.


Sustaining means making sure good operational procedures and processes are continued over time. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Implement behaviors and habits that will maintain standards in the long run.
  • Frequently evaluate success by conducting regular audits and reviews.
  • Follow up on creative ideas from the employees, and use them when they’re good ones.


Make your warehouse lean with Cin7 Omni

If you’d like to introduce lean practices into your warehouse, take action and get in touch with a warehouse management team that knows the method inside out. At Cin7 Omni, we’re confident in our ability to streamline your warehouse processes and can help you implement all of the five “S” operations.

Reach out to our team today, and let us help you eliminate warehouse waste, cut down overall costs and optimize your warehouse operations. Book a demo with our experts now! We are all eager to assist you.

4 ways order management can improve your customer experience in 2023

What goes on behind the scenes to get goods to a customer after clicking the “buy” button is a lot more complicated than most realize. While the process for getting an online order to a shopper breaks down to collecting, packing, and shipping the goods off when you consider the vast number of orders that consistently come in from many different online channels, you can see there could be complications that have to be overcome. Factor in the possibility of these goods being stored in any one of several gigantic warehouses, and you understand how important it is to have everything well organized. That organization, basically, is order management.

When order management works at its best, your customers are left satisfied. That’s because a well-run system keeps them and their needs in mind at every step. In this blog, we will closely examine how order management and an order management system make it all happen.


What an order management system does

An order management system (OMS) is a software application that automates every aspect of order management. It keeps accurate records of everything from the inventory you hold and the purchase orders you issue to your sales and payments. It also handles invoicing and maintains relevant customer information. All the information the system manages is stored in one location that can be accessed from anywhere.

With all the data and information it collects, a reliable and robust OMS, such as Cin7 Omni, can make forecasts about your inventory, letting you know what items to stock up on. Forecasting inventory is possible because the system knows what items are selling best and which storage locations they’re selling best from. As for working out the most efficient way to fill each order, the software can use its knowledge of where items are stored to determine which facility is best placed to fill them. This stored information about who buys what and where can also be used to make important business decisions, like offering a new fulfillment option such as curbside pickup.


4 order management functions that give shoppers a better buying experience

1. Inventory control

When prospective customers think of buying something from a website, they like to know that the item is available before they opt to purchase it. If your site lets them go through the whole purchase procedure — from selecting the size, color, and quantity to choosing payment options and filling in their details — and only then lets them know an item they want is unavailable, they’re going to be a little annoyed. If they go through the whole online purchase procedure, and you later send an email saying the item is unavailable or that it’s going to take a while to arrive, they’re going to be even more annoyed.

A good OMS lets you know how much inventory you have in stock and gives this information to your customers. Cin7 Omni’s inventory management software syncs your website or social media with real-time inventory availability, so customers can make more informed choices. This knowledge also enables the automated system to let your online customers know when particular items they want will be available.

So when it comes to inventory, with an order management system, you’re on top of everything, and your customers have every reason to trust you and your company. It’s what they call a win-win.

2. Delivery

Today’s shoppers like to have options, especially when choosing which way to get their orders into their hands. These options could be anything from delivery times, like one-day, two-day, or three-day shipping delivered to their homes, to curbside pickup to collecting their packages at a brick-and-mortar store (that’s BOPIS or buy online, pick up in-store.)

With its integrated warehouse management software, Cin7 Omni is designed to enhance your order fulfillment processes by expediting shipping, reducing errors, and boosting your team’s productivity. This feature is equipped with advanced tools that enable efficient management of all aspects of shipping, including order tracking, stocktaking, and label printing.

Again, a win-win.

3. Multichannel fulfillment

Just as shoppers have a lot of online and offline options when they want to buy something, you, the seller, have options. These run from numerous online marketplaces and social media to apps, email, and even brick-and-mortar stores. Nowadays, it’s called omnichannel marketing. For you as a seller, it means getting more visibility for your products and getting your name out.

Cin7 Omni offers a comprehensive solution that automates the entire order process by seamlessly integrating with all sales channels, allowing you to conveniently manage your sales from one system. By connecting all of your sales channels in one place, Cin7 Omni enables you to easily collect information about which items are being purchased from which source. This eliminates the need to manually enter and manage orders from multiple channels, saving time and reducing potential errors.

4. Reverse logistics

Last but not least, businesses often have to deal with return requests due to late deliveries, delivery of wrong items, damaged products, and more. While this can cause short-term dissatisfaction, a displeased consumer could be placated with effective return management.

Cin7 Omni can boost customer loyalty with quicker and more efficient returns and replacement logistics. You can establish the return policy and eligibility and initiate client-specific return processing. Furthermore, depending on its condition, you can choose whether to refurbish, refill, or discard the returned item.


Upgrade your order management system to Cin7 Omni

An OMS is good for you and your customers, but management systems do more than just handle inventory and orders. They also connect with CRM, ERP, sales, service, and commerce systems and other software you use that impacts the purchasing process. The beauty of an OMS is that when all these systems are integrated, the information each holds is available on a single platform and can easily be accessed by employees.

If you’re looking for an order management system that can help you improve your customer experience, Cin7 Omni could be the way to go. Book a demo today to learn more and understand why Cin7 Omni is the right choice for you.

How Cin7 Omni’s order management system can be a game changer for wholesalers

Wholesalers stand between manufacturers and retailers, buying in great bulk from the first and selling in small quantities to the second. What these two sales entities have in common is inventory and the fact that they have to manage it well.

To do that, the right tools have to be in place. Today, these tools are the inventory control and order management systems. The functions carried out by these automated systems are the same for both entities, but for wholesalers, large quantities of goods have to be handled.

In this blog, we’re going to lay out the reasons why Cin7 Omni software is a good option for wholesalers when it comes to their inventory and order management.


How Cin7 Omni’s order management system helps a wholesaler

For a wholesaler, buying in bulk and selling in small quantities to several retailers involves everything that order management covers, from knowing what to buy from suppliers to delivering the items to retailers.

Cin7 Omni’s order management software takes care of every step in the process easily. That’s everything from tracking orders, invoices and purchase orders, to warehouse management, and shipping. Cin7 Omni also has integrations that will let a wholesaler track all its business transactions, minimize dead stock, use several different couriers for shipping, and accept payments in many currencies.

Here are some of the ways Cin7 Omni’s order management system can make a wholesale business run better:

1. Keep on top of sales to your retailers.

With Cin7 Omni, all your retail partners can be centralized on a single dashboard. Through this one hub, information about the goods ordered from manufacturing and importers on one side, and purchase orders received from retailers on the other can be recorded, tracked, and synced to inventory, all in real time.

Because this dashboard is the central control, it also displays the inventory in a warehouse. If there are several warehouses, the display makes it easy to move any of those goods from one facility to another with a few simple instructions. Knowing what’s in stock and where it’s stored at all times in real time will, in addition, prevent stockouts. As an added bonus, Cin7 Omni supports pre-orders and backorders.

2. Have all information about purchases and sales displayed in a simple format.

Any information Cin7 Omni is storing about inventory or order management can be brought up on the dashboard at any time, and it can be presented in as much or as little detail as is wanted. For instance, you could bring up everything about a particular order — order number, order date, name of retailer, payment method, shipping carrier, and so on — or you could bring up one or two of these identifiers. There’s also a filter that lets you display information in categories. These could be anything from outstanding invoices to unfilled purchase orders to what inventory is stored in a particular warehouse. If a category you want is missing, a custom feature that’s part of the system lets you add it.

In short, Cin7 Omni is a highly flexible system that puts you in the driving seat at all times, giving you the ability to pull up the data you want on the dashboard.

3. Speed up and simplify the order management process.

The mission-control dashboard that comes with Cin7 Omni does more than just display your data, it’s also the tool through which you can make additions or changes: Add details that help you identify orders like due dates, tags, comments, and instructions; confirm, cancel, export, and import bulk orders; create new orders and picklists; download and print invoices and shipping labels. Maybe most useful of all, with this system, you can process many different orders simultaneously.

4. Maintain total control of inventory.

Just as inventory is central to the wholesaler, inventory management keeps the business flowing smoothly and efficiently. An automated inventory management system will make sure you have the right amount of stock at all times for your company’s needs, doing this by setting triggers to go off at preset lows and sending out purchase orders for more when those levels are reached.

With Cin7 Omni, you can also handle any returns you may have. It can initiate a refund, if your returns policy allows for it, and can log the items back in your storage.

5. Sort out the best way to deliver your products.

When it comes time to ship out your retailers’ orders, Cin7 Omni has everything under control. Right from that same dashboard, you’re able to choose a delivery service that’s best for each company you’re delivering your products to, even if they’re in another country, and there are several courier services to choose from. Another feature of the automated system considers factors like price, discounts, package size, location, and delivery date.

6. Coordinate and communicate.

Keeping a good line of communication with the manufacturers and importers you deal with — your suppliers — is as important as maintaining inventory levels and getting orders out efficiently. Cin7 Omni lets you do that, giving real-time, up-to-date information on all your dealings with them as well as the other areas of your business. Because all this happens from your all-purpose dashboard, everything you do is coordinated and based on accurate information. It’s all designed to make your wholesale business run as smoothly and cost-efficiently as possible.

Wrapping up

We’ve shown how Cin7 Omni’s order management and inventory management systems can help you conduct your wholesale business at an optimum level.

To find out more, talk to one of our Cin7 Omni experts today.

Order tracking in ecommerce: It’s importance and good ways to implement it

Any customer buying online is taking a leap of faith. They’re trusting that the item they’re buying is everything they think it is, and they’re trusting that the website they’re buying from is honest.

As an ecommerce seller, the best way to assure customers that you won’t be running off with their money is to provide a window into your fulfillment process. Let your customers know at every step that their items are reliably on their way. This way, they will feel confident in their purchase and feel good about you as a seller. The window you provide is called order tracking.

We’re going to take a close look at order tracking: what it does, its benefits, and how to make the best use of it.


What order tracking software is and how it works

Order tracking software is part of, and runs in tandem with, an order management system (OMS). This software knows where an order is at every stage of the fulfillment process and can post that information for the buyer as, and when, requested.

Here’s basically what the order tracking software does:

  • As soon as an order has been placed, it will send the buyer an email confirming the order has been received. This email lists all the details of the order and gives it a tracking number.
  • This tracking number identifies the order through the picking/packing stages, and a notice on the website will let the buyer know their order is being processed.
  • The buyer can visit the website and enter the tracking number to check the live order status and expected delivery date.

All this reporting is in real time.

Reasons to have an order tracking feature

1. It builds trust.

Order tracking gives your company transparency. It’s like you’re opening your doors to your buyers and inviting them to see how you operate. And when you do that, there’s no reason for them to mistrust you.

Customer trust is the foundation of repeat business. While this maxim applies to all sales businesses, it’s especially true for ecommerce where there’s no personal connection and where products can only be seen in an image.

Being able to follow their orders through the system also gives buyers a sense of control, and that will leave them feeling that they’ve had a good shopping experience. It’s the kind of satisfaction that will also lead to repeat business; plus, it will give your buyers a reason to recommend you to their friends.

2. It frees up customer support staff.

Ecommerce sites that don’t have an order tracking feature will have to dedicate precious customer service hours to dealing with inquiries about order status. If your customer service staff have to spend all their time doing this, (a) they won’t be able to do anything else, and (b) you’re going to have to hire a lot of them.

With an order tracking feature your customers can use at any time, your customer support staff can focus on resolving those rare issues when things go wrong for the buyer. That, in turn, will make even those shoppers who’ve had complaints feel they’ve had a good experience with your company.

3. It helps you stay on top of your fulfillment process.

The order tracking software doesn’t just let buyers know the status of their orders, it tells you where every item is in the system. Monitoring in this way provides a valuable way for you to gauge how well your fulfillment process is working. It will tell you where bottlenecks are occurring and identify areas that aren’t running as efficiently as they could. With this information, you can make adjustments to smooth things out.


Ways to make the most of order tracking

1. Confirm you’ve received an order and provide a tracking number.

You have to keep your buyers in the loop at all times, and you have to do this from the minute they’ve placed an order to the minute it’s delivered to them. Start with an email that confirms you’ve received the order and have processed their payment. Use this email to let your buyers know that the order you have is correct by listing every item and all relevant information about those items. Then provide the tracking number you’ve assigned the order, explain what it is, and provide the URL of your site and the page they should open for tracking.

Make sure your tracking page is simple and easy to navigate.

2. Put all relevant information on your website’s tracking page.

The following, ideally, should be included:

  • Complete details of all the items in the order – size, color, quantity,
  • The stage of the process the order is in – being processed, being shipped, etc., and
  • Estimated date/time of delivery.

This information should be in real time.

3. Send frequent notifications to buyers.

In addition to posting up-to-date tracking information on your site, you could also update customers via email and text. It’s a simple enough thing to do with the software, and it tells your buyers you care about them.

4. Make recommendations for other purchases.

Since you know your buyers are going to visit your online tracking page regularly, it provides a great opportunity to upsell or cross-sell your other products.

5. Get feedback.

Don’t be shy about asking your customers to rate your performance as a company as well as giving an opinion on the products they’ve received. You can also ask them how they felt about the shipping company that delivered the goods. It’s information you can put to good use, and gives your customers more input into the process.


Cin7 Omni’s track order feature

Cin7 Omni can take care of all the aspects of order tracking described above and more. The perfect tool, it can accept orders from several different platforms, keeping them in their separate silos as the software logs and reports tracking details. These platforms include Amazon, Shopify and WooCommerce, as well as social media sites and your own website.

Call one of our experts today and book a free demo.

5 trends in 3PL to watch out for in 2023

Third-party logistics is a growing area, and expectations are that this upward trajectory will continue into 2023 and beyond. In fact, ReportLinker’s Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Global Market Report 2022 found that 3PL is expected to jump from a $906.98 billion USD valuation in 2021 to a $1,418.70 billion USD one in 2026 worldwide. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%.

This rosy outlook almost belies recent events that have affected trade everywhere. As we all know, the sharp bounceback from the Covid shutdowns created bottlenecks that resulted in inflation. Transportation costs shot up, packing costs shot up, and the high demand for almost everything produced shortages.

But let’s not forget that Covid was a boon to online sales. Shut indoors, consumers relied on ecommerce for almost all their needs, from goods to groceries. And this reliance has turned into a habit, a new way of shopping for almost everyone. Because of this, more and more companies are using online platforms to showcase and sell their offerings, and that means more business for those organizations that specialize in taking care of fulfilling these orders and shipping them out to the customers: the 3PL companies.

Given this increased focus on 3PL and its growing importance in the supply chain, we thought it would be interesting to jump ahead and take a look at trends that are expected to take hold in the space in 2023.


5 trends in 3PL to watch out for in 2023

NTT 2023 Third-Party Logistics Study reported that the most frequently outsourced activities are as listed below:

Activity Percentage of outsourcing
International transportation 52%
Warehouse operations 43%
Domestic transportation 69%
Freight forwarding 60%

Let’s use the NTT 2023 third-party logistics study as a basis to figure out X 3PL trends to watch out for in the coming year.

1. Success through synergy

71% of the shippers said partnering with a 3PL company contributes to improving customer satisfaction. Naturally, they plan on leveraging this partnership increasingly in the future.
The trend of consolidating the powers of shipping and 3PL providers is creating a synergy beneficial to every party involved – manufacturers, customers, shipping companies, and 3PL providers. This synergy not only improves the effectiveness of logistics but also cuts costs. This year might see more consolidations as both shippers and 3PL providers realize the power of synergy.

2. More reliance on IT capabilities

Shippers expect more technological advances from 3PL providers. They believe 3PL providers should not only provide shipping but should also give tactical advice on transportation management and potential improvements for their supply chains.

For 3PL providers, this means they should invest more in technological advances in 2023 to gain a better hold on the market. When shippers were asked about the IT capabilities expected in 3PL providers, they listed some of the execution and transaction-based technologies as crucial. Sixty-two percent of shippers believed 3PL providers could assist them in transportation management planning (an increase of 11% from the previous year), 57% said transportation management scheduling (an increase of 6% from the previous year), and 40% said warehouse automation (an increase of 23% from the previous year). Thus, if you’re a 3PL services provider, investing in these areas could reap huge benefits for your company and your clients.

3. Efforts to counteract labor shortages

Right now, there’s a shortage in labor. In fact, 78% of 3PL companies say they are short staffed.

In answer to this, we predict that while 3PL companies will be offering higher hourly rates to low-level staff like pickers, packers, and drivers, they will be more reliant on technology like robots and storage and retrieval systems. The stats are that 84% of 3PLs are either replacing workers with tech already or considering it. We expect this trend to expand.

4. Banking on reverse logistics

The reverse logistics market – or goods that are returned by the shopper – was valued at $635.6 billion USD in 2020 and is projected to reach $958.3 billion USD by 2028, which is a CAGR of 5.6%. In other words, it’s huge.

There’s a lot that has to be taken care of when goods are returned. They have to be checked out and the inventory has to be updated. Plus, some items may need to be repaired or have parts replaced. It’s a whole logistical process in itself, and it needs a dedicated staff and planning. All this can be costly, but it’s important to remember that freely accepting returns without question encourages customer loyalty.

With this in mind, we expect reverse logistics to take a bigger slice of the business 3PL companies handle in 2023, and we predict that that will grow even more.

5. There’ll be more emphasis on sustainability

The entire world is moving towards sustainable practices, and 3PLs are no exception. Consumers expect it, and it’s the right thing to do.
For 3PLs, sustainable practices mean using electric vehicles and products like cleaners that are recyclable. We expect this trend to continue and expand in 2023.



As the online-sales market grows, so will 3PL companies. In that regard, 2023 should be a challenging but exciting year for them.

In anticipation of that growth, if you’re part of a 3PL company, you should have a good automated system in place. We suggest our Cin7 Omni. To learn more about our software and the superior advantages it offers, click here to request a demo.

8 ways to get the best out of warehouse inventory management

A manufacturer’s inventory is its lifeblood, the basic ingredients for whatever is being made. When it comes to storing materials in the warehouse, there has to be enough materials on hand at all times, and they have to be in good condition. If these requirements aren’t fully met, a factory could shut down. Therefore, managing inventory in the warehouse well is incredibly important.

Warehouse inventory management is part and parcel of inventory management. Both involve overseeing and controlling stock and its levels, but whereas inventory management concerns the entire supply chain from ordering to delivering, warehouse management is about just the inventory in the warehouse. Let’s look at eight practices for streamlining inventory management in a warehouse.


8 practices to streamline inventory management in the warehouse

1 Have a floor plan that promotes efficiency.

The overall design of the storage facility is a critically important  factor. The layout will determine how staff and machinery maneuver the space, as well as how items are placed in, and removed from, storage. When the floor plan is a good one, inventory can be moved in, out, and around the area in a simple, free-flowing stream; when that isn’t the case, bottlenecks and errors can occur.

There are three basic designs for warehouse layouts:

  • L-shaped: Here, storage is on the long side while a loading/unloading dock is situated on the smaller adjacent side.
  • U-shaped: The ends of this shape are reserved for loading and unloading respectively, and the long curved area is used for storage.
  • I-shaped: Basically a long oblong, a loading and unloading dock is placed at one end and the rest is taken up with storage.

These three floor plans have come to be recognized as the ones that work best for warehouse design over time. This isn’t just because they’re good for flow; however, the efficiency they create is reflected in the bottom line.

2. Organize the storage space with flow in mind.

What we’re addressing here is the frequency with which items are needed, and using that measure to gauge where best to place them. You have:

  • Fast-moving items: These are the ones that are most in demand.
  • Slow-moving items: They’re used, but not very often.
  • Non-moving items: Rarely used, or no longer needed.

For the most efficient placement, fast-moving products should be placed near the front and be as easy to get to as possible, while those used but less in demand can be further back. High racks and difficult-to-access areas can be reserved for those non-moving items.

3. Track inventory accurately.

Knowing exactly what you have in storage is the core of good warehouse inventory management. While it’s relatively easy for small companies to keep on top of this, it becomes increasingly difficult for businesses as they grow. For them, technology is a necessity.

Inventory management systems (IMS) use barcodes and QR codes to track inventory. QR codes can hold much more information than barcodes. In addition to storing information about a product, QR codes know exactly where each item is stored, so they are much better for larger facilities. An inventory management software like Cin7 Omni, can maintain an accurate record of warehouse stock, letting you know exactly what’s there and tracking it as it moves in and out the storage area. This is the kind of information you need to manage the inventory on a daily basis.

4. Hire a warehouse manager you have confidence in.

The importance of the warehouse manager cannot be overstated. They don’t only oversee the pool of staff that works in the warehouse, they’re in charge of the inventory itself, making decisions every day about where to store it and when to move it. If they don’t do this in the most efficient way possible, goods can be damaged and extra costs can be incurred.

Warehouse managers should be tech-savvy. They need to be able to operate the software and handle all the automation and machinery that moves the inventory around from robots to forklifts.

5. Put a good workflow in place.

The workflow in a warehouse starts the instant inventory is brought into the building and ends the moment it leaves. It covers all the processes involved in moving the items around, including  administration. Individually, warehouse workflows depend on the design of the facility, the product, and frequency of its use. Warehouse flow is usually the province of the warehouse manager. He or she will make the decisions about how and where inventory is stored and when any of it should be moved.

A well-thought-out plan will ensure unheeded flow of the inventory and make the best use of workers’ time. Like any business plan, though, workflows should be revisited often so that updates and tweaks can be made in response to any changes.

6. Automate.

We’ve already discussed the benefits of using inventory management software to keep tabs on stock that’s in the warehouse and know at all times exactly what’s in storage. But these IMS systems can actually do much more. They can:

  • Register goods as they’re received,
  • Classify the goods,
  • Direct where the goods should be placed in warehouse,
  • Note where goods are stored and keep track of their quantity,
  • Instruct how to make the best use of the storage space,
  • Track the goods as they move around the warehouse,
  • Store and issue shipping instructions,

As mentioned, Cin7 Omni  is a good way to automate. As a complement to the functions listed here, the software will increase the speed, accuracy, and security of the inventory management process. It also reduces the employee workload, including that of the warehouse manager, leaving them free to take on other tasks.

7. Have visual oversight of the facility.

Theft, unfortunately, is a fact of life, and the possibility of it happening has to be taken into account when discussing inventory management in the warehouse. One way to stop theft is by putting up closed-circuit surveillance cameras and security systems like alarms. Letting only essential workers into the warehouse space and having them sign in and out when they report for work and go home can also be a help with this problem.

8. Carry out regular inventory audits.

Even when the inventory in your warehouse is automated, audits are necessary. In addition to checking to see that the information in your financial records tallies with the records you’re keeping on your storage space, audits are a great way to point out items you don’t need to keep any longer. These could include items that have been there for so long, they’ve gone out of style and can’t be used, or, for food, have passed their expiration dates. Apropos of #7, theft, an audit will also throw into sharp relief goods that may have “walked.”

A critical factor in warehouse inventory management, audits can be carried out internally by a member of management or externally by an outside agency. Either way, when conducted regularly they ensure that the records kept on inventory are as accurate as possible, and that, in and of itself, is a major cost saving for the company.


The bottom line

The way inventory is managed in the warehouse has repercussions both for the efficient handling and tracking of the stock and the bottom line of the company. We’ve laid out eight aspects of inventory management and have suggested measures that can be put in place to get the system working at its best. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful in streamlining your system.

We think you’ll find Cin7 Omni a good tool to achieve this. To find out more about how the software can improve inventory management in your warehouse, click here to book a demo.

How to identify bottlenecks in the supply chain, and ways to prevent them from happening

Any company aims to have their operation run so smoothly and efficiently that they’ll have minimal outlay and make maximum profit. Sadly, many fall short of that goal because of holdups along their internal supply chains. These holdups create bottlenecks, jams in the system that slow the process down at the point they’re happening and have a domino effect on everything that follows.

In this blog, we’re going to look at overarching causes of these bottlenecks and put forward ways to overcome them or, better yet, ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.


Bottlenecks defined and how to spot them

The term literally comes from the shape of a bottle, specifically the way the top of it – the neck –  is narrower than the bottom. As this shape restricts, or slows, the flow of liquid when it’s poured out, so, in a manufacturing process, a bottleneck is where there’s an obstruction that holds everything up.

It is, of course, essential for a manager to know where these bottlenecks are occurring, to find these obstructions, and the best way of doing this is to conduct a “bottleneck analysis.” That basically involves taking a close look at every step in the supply chain, from the beginning – receiving raw materials – to the end – the final product, and everything in between.


Common areas where bottlenecks happen

While individual companies will have bottlenecks in their supply chains that only apply to them, there are general areas common to all that can also cause obstructions in the workflow. These areas are:


It’s important to have the right amount of employees to carry out a particular task; too many or not enough and inefficiencies creep in. It’s equally important to assign tasks to those that have the right skill set for them; again the over- or under-qualified will slow operations down.

Typically, workers fall into four categories:

  • Unskilled,
  • Skilled,
  • Highly-skilled,
  • Professional.

Making the best use of the talent each worker brings isn’t the only consideration for management when it comes to labor. Employee morale is important too. Employees who feel valued and have job satisfaction work better. This includes making sure one department isn’t favored over another. Allowing that to happen could create interdepartmental rivalry and could lead to a bad working environment for all.

Misuse of labor in any of the ways described above will affect the speed of the workflow and be the reason for bottlenecks.


Capital for a business is divided into fixed and working. The former applies to permanent assets like factories, warehouses, and equipment, while the latter refers to liquid assets, those finances needed to run the company day to day like payroll, bills, and inventory.

While having enough capital is, of course, important, it’s also essential to use the money wisely. You should invest the right amount of it in those areas where it’s most needed, and have sufficient funds on hand to keep everything flowing. It goes against your interests to put a large chunk of your capital into a larger-than-you-need, state-of-the-art warehouse when you can’t afford to fill it with inventory, even if you are doing that with future expansion in mind.

While an expert will be able to do a thorough analysis of your use of capital and highlight those areas where you may be investing too much or not enough, it’s important to keep in mind that an imbalance will create bottlenecks. Not being able to afford an extra truck when orders spike, for instance, will result in your deliveries slowing down in a major way.


Here we’re talking about working out precisely what each employee, department, and division is responsible for and letting them know that. For example, if a production department goes directly to a supplier for new stock when they’re running low, bypassing the purchasing department, there could be confusion about who’s responsible for reordering next time. The result could be a stockout that might shut the whole operation down. To avoid a scenario like that, exact planning has to be in place, meaning that everyone has to be clear on their specific area of responsibility, and everyone in the company has to be aware of it.

If there’s any kind of confusion in your company about who’s responsible for what, automation could be a big help. An inventory management system (IMS) gives a clear picture of your entire operation, and that’s information you can use to set up those planning guidelines. Once they’re in place, your operation will run seamlessly, eliminating any bottlenecks you had before in that area.


Miscommunication can lead to all sorts of problems, each of which could be a potential bottleneck. To avoid this, the right information has to be given to the right person at the right time. It’s no good giving your supplier an order if you haven’t listed all the details they need or let them know exactly where they’re supposed to deliver the items to; and you’re not going to get the results you want if one of your departments doesn’t let every other one know when they have a problem that will affect the entire supply chain. Good communication is key to everything.

To ensure good communication, everyone has to know who they report to and when to report to them, and they should be responsible enough to pass on the correct information in an easily digestible way.


While most manufacturing and sales companies are automated now, some try to save money by sticking to old technology thinking that it’s good enough and works for them. But that’s probably not the case.

An older automated system might not integrate all departments, and it probably won’t be able to “speak” to systems used by outside suppliers and contractors. These capabilities are found in newer systems, and they are a great boon to a company’s operation because they help speed everything up and create smooth processes. When you have that, you’ve gone a long way to eliminating supply chain bottlenecks, especially those that are unique to your company.

If you’re in the market to upgrade your software, check to see that it’s compatible with your existing in-house applications; it’s also a good idea to verify that the system will communicate with the software used by the outside contractors you deal with.


Steps to identify and prevent bottlenecks

In addition to the overarching areas that can cause the bottlenecks listed above, there are blockages that are unique to every company. While it’s up to each of these companies to identify their individual holdups and rectify them, there are some preventative steps all managers can take:

Find out where bottlenecks are occurring.

It can be difficult to locate exactly where the bottlenecks are in a large, complex operation. Examining your supply chain from different perspectives in detail may give you answers, though if you’re going to do something as complicated as that it would be easier and quicker to have an expert take a look.

A better idea is to use your supply chain management system, which can highlight those areas that are not working as efficiently as they should – those bottlenecks. If you haven’t already automated your supply chain management, you should seriously consider doing so.

Carry out data analysis.

Your data can be a good friend when identifying and overcoming bottlenecks. While any automated system you use will produce a lot of data, you can sort the data to get pertinent information about what’s happening at every part of your supply chain.

A reliable software like Cin7 Omni, will give you data that can point out trends, which is another way of uncovering bottlenecks. You can discover these trends by comparing data produced over a period of time. For instance, your data may show that a supplier is taking longer and longer to ship your orders, something that may not be a problem right away, but which could be later on. With that information, you can address it.

Map out a detailed plan.

When the company doesn’t have a detailed plan, it is often observed that all the departments follow their own agenda rather than working collectively towards a common goal. This kind of erratic behavior will lead to several bottlenecks in the supply chain. The management must consider all the options before setting out a plan. This plan should be based on historical data and future predictions. Every department should follow this plan to achieve maximum success.

Moreover, the company management must analyze and revise the plan when the circumstances change. Continuously updating the plan can prevent bottlenecks in the process.

Automate the supply chain procedures.

Automating the supply chain procedures can help eliminate the bottlenecks arising from manual management. Cin7 Omni inventory management software can not only help you to manage your inventory but also to regularize the supply chain bottlenecks. In addition, it can also seamlessly integrate with supply chain planning software like StockTrim, Streamline, Health Check, and Toolio, among others.


In a nutshell

Bottlenecks slow down the supply chain and affect your bottom line, so it’s important to find them and put an end to them, or at least mitigate their effects. The best way to do that is by conducting regular analysis of your processes and operations, and the simplest way of doing that is with an automated system like inventory management. More than just being the most reliable way to identify and prevent bottlenecks, automation is a great way to improve your company’s operation all round.

To learn more about Cin7 Omni’s inventory management system and how you can use it to prevent bottlenecks in your supply chain, click on the link to request a demo.

How to manage inventory for planned and unplanned plant shutdowns

Although not very often, factory shutdowns happen. Whether planned or unplanned, shutdowns cause major disruptions and financial losses, and therefore, you must understand how to deal with them.

Planned plant closures are usually for maintenance purposes. Essential to keep machinery and equipment in good working order, they usually happen once or twice a year. During these inspections, repairs may be made, worn-out parts may be replaced, and upgrades or new machinery may be introduced.

Unplanned plant closures usually result from sudden power outages and machines breaking down. An unannounced strike is another reason. A drop in demand can also be a cause. And in a worst-case scenario, a production line will close down when the facility runs out of raw material — more on that later.

Knowing that a plant will shut down at some point means you can plan for the event, and with pre planning in place, negative impacts can be mitigated. The best pre planning involves inventory control, and that’s what we’re going to examine here.


Managing inventory to prevent or mitigate a shutdown

Here are things you can do:

Limit inventory before a planned shutdown

When you know you’re going to have to shut your operations down, either for scheduled maintenance, upgrades, or audits, you can ease the pain by reducing the level of stock you’re holding beforehand. Keeping inventory has its own costs: A workforce has to maintain it, and capital is tied up in it. So if you make sure you only have the least amount you can get away with, literally only what you need to restart, you’ll cut down on expenses and mitigate the losses the shutdown creates.

Prepare for unplanned shutdowns by limiting inventory

A good way of mitigating the effects of an unplanned closure is to have a lean inventory management system in place. As the name implies, this system is all about getting rid of waste, unneeded excess. For inventory specifically, it’s about having only as much as is needed at any given time. The system operates on the “pull” system where inventory is “pulled in” when needed, as opposed to the “push” system that always has more stock than is needed and “pushes” it out.

Introduced by Toyota in its manufacturing unit in 1950, and later explored in the book Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James Womack and Daniel Jones, lean inventory management keeps stock at minimal levels, so if an unplanned shutdown happens, the company is prepared and losses can be controlled.

Lean inventory management puts stock into three categories, A, B, and C, each one based on the items’ cumulative annual consumption value. The annual consumption value is arrived at by multiplying the number of units sold in a specified time, say a year, by the cost per unit. When that’s been worked out, a company will know exactly which items have the most value for them and can organize their storage and oversight appropriately.

  • Category A:  Pricier items. Though typically making up only 20% of a company’s stock, these more expensive items usually account for 70% of items used when the annual consumption value is applied.
  • Category B: Less pricey, the items here usually account for 25% of the total annual consumption value.
  • Category C: These least pricey items account for 5% of the annual consumption value.

Inventory management software like Cin7 can easily work out annual consumption values and do the categorization for you.

Prevent shutdowns caused by stockouts

It’s possible for raw materials to run out and cause a shutdown. Maybe an error was made in counting the number in storage; maybe a supplier didn’t deliver; maybe there was an issue with the supply chain. Whatever the reason, you can make sure you’ll be able to cover for these situations by having buffer stock. Buffer stock is a little bit extra for emergencies. The amount of buffer stock a company holds has to be carefully weighed. Too much and it’ll be a drag on company outlay; too little and it might not be enough to cover your needs. An inventory management system like Cin7 can solve this conundrum.


Reasons for shutdowns, and best ways to plan your inventory levels

Shutdowns are caused by specific events, and in order to plan your inventory levels, you have to have a good idea which ones are more likely to happen to you. Consider the following scenarios:

  • External factors: If a shutdown is likely to happen because of bad weather, a natural disaster, government regulations, or a strike, you should have buffer stock on hand.
  • Internal factors: Here we’re talking about a power outage or machines breaking down. For machine breakdowns, spare parts should be readily available at all times. For inventory, there has to be enough available to restart production.

Cin7 can analyze your data quickly and help identify which inventory control method is best for you.


The final analysis

Factory shutdowns, whether planned or unplanned, cause unwanted stoppages that will affect the bottom line. When it comes to inventory, there are ways to mitigate these losses and help you ride the closures out.

Cin7 is a good way to help you figure out the best way to manage your inventory. To find out more, click here to schedule a live demo with one of our experts.

Holiday inventory management: Don’t let stockouts ruin your holiday cheer

’Tis the season for joy, merriment, and giving. That last part is the important one for retailers everywhere. That’s because Christmas is the biggest shopping season of the year. Over the last five years, Christmas-season sales have averaged around 19% of total sales for the year, and that percentage can be higher for some retailers, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The NRF also predicts 2022 Christmas sales to exceed those of last year’s by between 6% and 8% and to bring in between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion – and sales in 2021 were pretty amazing.

To fill all these sales, retailers have to have large stocks of inventory and ramp up fulfillment, but preparing and coping with that presents huge challenges. To overcome them, having optimal inventory is vital, and automating with an inventory management system is essential.

In this blog, we’re going to explore how Cin7 can help you get the right level of inventory for the holiday season, and take a look at shortcomings you should try to avoid.

Inventory management problems to avoid during the holiday season:

1. Stockouts

The last thing any business wants to do is run out of stock during the holiday season. In fact, getting items to customers by Christmas Day is the most important thing they have to do at that time of year.

To make sure the level of stock at hand is at optimal levels to fill these orders, you have to anticipate the amount you’ll need and stock up ahead of time. This can’t be done without a complete understanding of the marketplace and consumer spending patterns. Complementing that is the importance of having real-time insights into inventory levels, complete oversight of its movement through the supply chain, and knowing what items are selling more and which less.

2. Shipping delays

While shipments can be affected by factors like extreme weather conditions that are outside the retailers’ control, every effort has to be made to get items to customers on time – meaning before Christmas Day. With the high increase in orders during this holiday period, additional planning and resources are a necessity. The right tools and technology can make this planning a lot easier.

3. Managing sales on multiple channels and venues

This year, customers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores. But that doesn’t mean they’ve left online behind. On the contrary, as Fit Small Business has shown, more than half of shoppers check items out online before buying in-store – or vice versa; and 47% of shoppers are more likely to buy online if they can return it to a physical store. Maybe a more important bit of data from that Fit Small Business survey is that retailers who sell on more than three channels increase their order rates by 494%.

The takeaway from this is that retailers and ecommerce companies not only have to sell on several channels — websites, online marketplaces, social media, and apps — they have to coordinate them. Shoppers have to be given a seamless experience, so that if they’re looking at something on one channel and they switch — like say from social media to a company’s site — the items they’re looking at will pop up. This multichannel, or omnichannel, selling can only be achieved with a robust automated system, and there’s no better time to get one than the holiday season when sales and orders spike.


Manage holiday inventory like a pro with Cin7

Cin7 is a fully-integrated cloud-based inventory and order management system equipped with all the features necessary to meet the increased demands of the Christmas season.

1. Say no to stock outs

As we’ve discussed, the best way to ensure you have the right level of inventory for the holiday season is to put good inventory planning in place.

Cin7 can help you with that. First, it creates detailed reports for your sales and inventory. These reports are in real time, and if you have multiple sales channels and warehouses, are individualized for each of them. Armed with this up-to-the-minute tool, you have an accurate picture of what’s selling well and where, information you can use to forecast your needs so you’ll get the right level of inventory in to meet them. What’s more, because the automated system is keeping accurate records of your inventory and its movement through your supply chain, noting each time something is removed from storage, you always know exactly what you have and where it is.

This ability to know what’s in storage leads to another benefit Cin7 gives you: keeping stock at constant levels. To enable this, the system can be programmed to register when these levels reach a predetermined low. When that happens, triggers will automatically send purchase orders (PO) to your supplier for more.

Stock transfer is another great capability of Cin7, one that can be especially useful during high-demand seasons like Christmas. What it does is arrange for items to be transferred from one warehouse to another. This is useful when, say, it makes sense to fill an order from one location rather than another, or — with the holiday season in mind — you need to take care of a bulk order.

2. Work hand in hand with your suppliers

Cin7 connects your suppliers, shipping partners, warehouses, stock locations, physical stores, and online sales channels, saving and constantly updating all information relating to them, and displaying this on a single, intuitive dashboard. This information includes everything from supplier details to POs and orders to payment terms to delivery locations.

While useful all-year round, during the high-demand holiday season when increased levels of inventory make it more likely for suppliers to get things wrong, having this information at your fingertips means that any mistakes in orders can be identified and corrected quickly and easily.

3. Sell on as many channels as you want, both online and offline

As mentioned, the Fit Small Business survey found that retailers who sell on more than three channels increase their order rates by 494%. That’s a whopping amount. Fortunately, a large number of retailers do use several channels both online and offline.

What’s needed, then, is a digital inventory management system that can keep track of all the channels and orders. In addition to coordinating online sales platforms like websites, social media, and apps and offline stores into a single system, Cin7 can incorporate dropshippers and online marketplaces like Amazon.

For the retailer this coordination allows you to connect your sales from these multiple outlets to your inventory, centralizing inventory management so you’ll always be on top of your needs. It’s worth noting here that ecommerce giants like Amazon may lower a seller’s ranking if it runs out of stock and can’t fill orders. All this means is that preventing stockouts is important on so many levels. Especially during the Christmas season, having a system like Cin7 to prevent stockouts is invaluable.


In conclusion

The spike in sales during the holiday shopping season creates challenges for retailers. While we’ve looked at these challenges for inventory, we haven’t explored other areas like expanded customer relations, added labor, and the need for more work and storage space. The thing is, when you have a feature-packed tool like Cin7 to take care of everything concerning inventory, you’re free to focus on those other areas.

To learn more about Cin7, call one of our experts today and arrange to be given a demo.

5 ecommerce order fulfillment pain points & tips to overcome them

In a way, customers are like golden geese: The fact that they buy your goods is the reason you have a business and are making profits, but they’re likely to fly away if you don’t give them a good shopping experience.

For a customer, this good buying experience comes down to finding the products they want easily, getting them for a good price, and, for online sales, getting them delivered quickly. That last part is the final stage of the whole order fulfillment process, the behind-the-scene activity that takes place between an online order being placed and the products being sent out. To get products to the customer as quickly as possible, order fulfillment has to be working at its best.


The ecommerce order fulfillment process explained

The order fulfillment process starts in the warehouse when goods are received from vendors, moves on to these items being sorted and stored, and goes through to them being picked for an order, packed, labeled, and sent out.

While this all seems simple enough, the vast number of items stored and the enormous number of orders to be filled, often coming in from several different sites, create challenges. There are five main challenges to overcome.


Ecommerce order fulfillment’s challenges

1. Managing inventory

If you don’t have a product a customer has ordered in stock, you may have to refund the customer’s money, and you could end up looking unreliable. In other words, you’ll lose the sale, the customer, and your reputation.

An inventory management system (IMS) is the best way to take care of these issues. A software that does all the hard work for you, an IMS gives you minute-by-minute information on your inventory, letting you know where every item is at any point of the fulfillment process and the number of items there are in the system. Plus, it does all this in real time.

To make things even easier, barcode scanners that record every item in your inventory are available. This significantly reduces the chances of stockouts and overstocking.

Sometimes, despite all the precautions you take, things happen and you run out of items that have been ordered. Maybe your supplier had a problem, or the goods are tied up in an overseas shipment. For cases like these, there’s backordering. It means you sell products even when they aren’t in stock and fulfill them as soon as you have them again. Cin7 handles this by sending timely alerts, so that you can create a backorder and avoid letting your customers down.

2. Monitoring orders from several online channels

Perhaps you have heard the expression: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” In general, the expression means to diversify. That way if something happens to one “basket” to destroy whatever is in it, you still have something — eggs, money, inventory — in another basket. Applied to ecommerce, it makes good business sense to sell your items on more than one marketplace and use other online possibilities like social media, so you open your business up to more customers, get more sales, and become a recognizable name.

However, while it’s easy to set these channels up, keeping all the orders that come through them in their separate silos, monitoring them, and turning them around quickly is a challenge.  An ecommerce order management system, like Cin7, is essential in this situation. The beauty of this software is that it puts all the channels you sell through onto a single platform. That’s how you’ll never overlook a sale, or deliver one through the wrong site. To simplify the process even more, this automated system lets you process items in bulk. Order management software cuts back several administrative tasks, streamlining your fulfillment as it saves you time and money.

3. Picking the right items from the warehouse

Knowing exactly where everything in a warehouse is stored and being able to map the best route to collect items for orders in the fastest way is important. Your employees shouldn’t have to search through every bin in every aisle to find each item. Thus, even before items arrive in the warehouse, decisions about where to place them have to be worked out, and those decisions have to be recorded so everyone is aware of them.

With this organization in place, items for orders can easily be found. They’re pulled from their storage spots by “pickers,” who work from “picklists,” which are lists of items for orders organized so that actual collecting takes the shortest route around the warehouse.

Creating picklists by hand can result in problems. It’s easy to leave an item off or get an item wrong, and if the warehouse is large and stores a lot of things, working out the best picking route to take is almost impossible. The easy answer to these pain points is to have a modern warehouse management system (WMS) installed. These automated systems generate flawless picklists, tell the picker exactly where each item is located, and list them in the quickest picking order. With Cin7, you can also create picklists from multiple orders in bulk.

As a complement to everything, and as a final way to make sure all the correct items have been collected, barcode scanners can do a final verification after the picking has been done.

4. Coping with returns

It’s your responsibility as a seller to make sure your buyers get exactly what they order, in good order, in good time. Your customers are trusting that you’ll deliver your goods as promised.

But however hard you try, and no matter how good an automated system you put in place to ensure accuracy, things can go wrong. An item may end up not being what the customer imagined, or they may have just made a mistake in selecting it. For cases like this, part of the trust you build with your buyers is giving them an easy way to return items and get their money back.

The best way to do this is with returns management. Cin7 software can process returns quickly and easily. It lets you approve the return, keeps customers in the loop by sharing status updates via phone and email, and arranges refund payments. For the returned items, you can decide which warehouse they should go back to, and log them back in the system if they’re in a good enough condition to be sold again.

5. Shipping orders quickly

In a world where giants like Amazon offer one-day shipping, the bar for delivery time has been raised for everyone. To keep up, you may want to contract with fulfillment services providers that offer an expedited service at affordable costs.

Cin7 offers third-party logistics that you should find helpful. Nearly 200 3PLs are integrated into the software, and more 3PLs are added monthly. This enables you to leverage local 3PL services to prevent slow delivery and guarantee that your clients always receive what they purchased.

To speed up the time between an order being placed online and the goods arriving at the customer’s address, getting the items sorted and packed needs to be as quick as possible. If you promise a three-day delivery and your warehouse operations take two days to prepare an order, for instance, your window to physically transport it will only be one day. With automated order routing, online orders can now go straight to your 3PL warehouses, ensuring that orders are shipped from the nearest location.


Making order fulfillment easy with Cin7

Cin7 can help you overcome or prevent altogether most of the order fulfillment pain points we’ve discussed in this blog. As a tool, it will give you the kind of accurate, real-time check on your inventory that will make sure you never run out of an item again or end up with too many of something you can’t sell. Cin7 can automate your purchase orders as well.

Our software can also present information from several sales platforms on a single dashboard. No matter how many online marketplaces or sites you advertise your products on, you’ll be able to take care of every sale from this one place. This centralized system also means that any changes you have to make on all these sales platforms, like updating product listings or prices, can also be taken care of from this single area.

When it comes to managing warehouses, Cin7 is there for you as well. On top of monitoring stock and making sure there’s enough of it on hand at all times, it will produce picklists and register barcode scanning to double check that the right items are being picked. Since Cin7 automatically generates packaging slips, it also makes that part of the process easy.

If you like what you’ve read about Cin7, you can book a demo with our experts today.

7 tips for warehouse safety

Warehouses can be hazardous. First, the items they hold are stacked high and close together to make the best use of space. Second, a lot of pickers and machinery are going back and forth between the aisles and up and down the storage bins all the time. If the items haven’t been stored properly, if a worker is careless, or if a machine malfunctions, an accident can happen.

To prevent this, there should be strong safety measures and procedures that everyone should follow, and they should be enforced. We’ve honed them down and categorized them into seven main areas.


7 measures to take to ensure safety in warehouses

#1 Keep all spaces clean and tidy.

Dirt, grease, or messes of any kind can be a hazard. Workers could slip on them, and machines could stumble. At the very least, if these obstacles don’t cause a bad accident, they could severely affect workflow in the warehouse.

It’s important, then, for floors and work areas to be kept as clean as possible, which means not just sweeping, but washing them frequently. Any spills should be swept or wiped up immediately; and if any of that spillage could be from harsh chemicals that are being stored, having a special spill kit that can deal with it on hand is imperative.

Hygiene is also a factor to take into account, especially when Covid is still around. Have hand sanitizer prominently placed in several areas, keep all equipment clean, and request that your employees stay home if they feel ill.

#2 Provide regular safety training.

While safety training for new employees happens frequently, it’s just as important for existing staff to review safety precautions regularly. Safety training should cover everything from ensuring work spaces and equipment are kept safe to instructions on actions to take when anything goes wrong or an unforeseen emergency happens. Providing training every three or four months is ideal. It’s also a good idea to distribute a safety manual to your workforce.

In addition to making everyone aware of safety in the warehouse, all employees should know what to do in an emergency like a fire or an earthquake. Training and drills should take place on a regular basis. It’s also important to have exit routes clearly marked and accessible at all times and to have enough of them in the building for the size of the space.

#3 Put up clear signage.

Signs that warn about potential hazards are essential. These signs should let employees know where dangerous or inflammable materials are stored, if heavy equipment is nearby, or even which items in storage are heavy. When it comes to the building itself, letting everyone know about design elements that could trip them up, like steps at the end of an aisle, is a good idea.

Since warehouses are more often than not huge spaces in which one section looks the same as another, finding your way can be a challenge in an emergency. To overcome this, there should be large signs with bold lettering that point to emergency exits.

#4 Have the right safety equipment.

Proper safety gear, like lifting belts, should be provided to ensure your employees’ well-being. Depending on the type of material your workforce has to handle or the conditions they’re working in, other forms of safety equipment, such as respirators or hearing protection, might be needed. Utility knives with protective sheathing and walkie talkies also come under this category, the latter being especially needed in ultra large warehouses.

On a wider level, fire and smoke alarms should be adequately placed, along with fire extinguishers. If your company handles hazardous materials, your fire extinguishers should be the right ones for whatever the materials are. And, of course, first aid kits should be available in easy-to-locate areas.

All safety equipment should be checked regularly.

#5 Give out protective clothing.

Here we include safety goggles, safety vests, safety gloves, hard hats and even steel-toe boots. Protective clothing should be a good fit for the individual worker. Loose clothing could get caught in machinery, and a badly fitting hard hat is no use to anyone.

#6  Ensure heavy equipment is used correctly.

Forklifts and pallet jacks could cause serious injury if not handled correctly or if someone gets in their way. Make sure heavy equipment is only operated by properly trained personnel, and that the equipment has its own pathways in the warehouse. Equipment should be restricted by a speed limit that is enforced.

#7 Store items properly.

Warehouses store items on high shelving where they are packed tightly together. To prevent anything from falling and causing injuries, everything should be placed with care, one thing stacked straight on top of another, and heavier pieces should be stored on lower shelves.


Make the most of your warehouse with Cin7

When you put recommended safety measures in place, you’re less likely to have downtime caused by injuries. Plus, your workforce will feel much safer.

To optimize warehouse operations even more, there are warehouse management systems (WMS) like Cin7.  This software helps organize your warehouse, which helps you maintain a safe working environment.

To find out more about Cin7’s WMS and how it can make your life as a warehouse manager easier, book a free consultation with one of our experts.