Serialized Inventory Provides 5 Key Benefits
When you’re running a busy warehouse, organization is king. You’ve got to know what you have, where it is, and whether or not it’s spoken for at all times. If you don’t, you risk losing inventory, overstocking, overselling, and much more. In short, it’s a recipe for disaster. Serialized inventory, though, might be just the remedy you need to prevent your three-tiered cake of a warehouse from collapsing.
There’s more to a smartly organized warehouse than tidy aisles and bins or color-coded through lanes. A warehouse reaching for the stars also has its digital housekeeping in order. This means that the warehouse is running the optimal software program or programs, and is taking full advantage of the tools those programs offer.
Use Serialized Inventory in These 5 Ways
One of the most powerful tools in a warehouse’s digital arsenal is serial item numbers. When utilized correctly, they pack a really powerful inventory management punch. We’re going to focus on five pieces of functionality that we believe are some of the best ways to take advantage of this technology.
1. Gain Complete Visibility from Start to Finish
Visibility is the star of the show when it comes to item serial numbers. By assigning serial numbers to your items, you’re ensuring that you always know exactly what’s happening with that item at any point in time. All you have to do is look it up in your ERP solution. Couple those serial numbers with some top-notch barcoding functionality, and you’ve got a warehouse that holds no secrets.
2. Trace Costs and Customers with Ease
How easy is it for you to determine the precise cost associated with an individual piece of inventory? If you use serialized inventory, the answer is likely, “It couldn’t be easier!” (And if it isn’t…you might want to look into your software.)
When your inventory has serial numbers attached, you’re able to easily find out exactly how much money went into acquiring, storing, and selling that item. What’s more, you know exactly who bought it and when, which can be critical information, should the worst happen — more on that later.
3. Employ Multiple Serial Numbers for an Extra Kick
What many people don’t realize is that the best ERP solutions out there give you the option to utilize multiple serial numbers on your items.
If you’re dealing with inventory that’s worthy of being serialized, you’re likely purchasing it from a manufacturer who already assigned a serial number to that item. In general, you want to keep using that serial number throughout the life of the inventory, but there are certain situations where assigning your own serial number also makes sense. For example, if you want to create your own warranty in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, multiple serial numbers would streamline that process.
With the right ERP solution in place, you can utilize multiple serial numbers without missing a beat. Such innovative thinking gives you an edge on the competition — don’t hesitate to take advantage!
4. Handle Recalls with Aplomb
Remember our earlier point about how serial numbers allow you to know exactly who bought your product and when? Well, here’s where that comes into play. The dreaded recall.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions and efforts, we’ve got to issue recalls. They’re no fun for anyone, and they’re a hotbed of customer frustration and bad reviews. It’s of utmost importance, then, that you provide a smooth experience for your disappointed customer. Having accurate information at your fingertips is the first step in doing just that.
5. Build a Killer Inventory Database
Depending on the nature of what you sell, your inventory database could be vast. And just like the vast, seemingly tranquil sea, a large catalog of inventory can get out of hand quickly.
When you assign inventory numbers manually or, even worse, name items according to physical description, you run the risk of input errors or the frustration of creating a unique identifier — plus you waste a bunch of time.
Serial item numbers, however, transform an otherwise unruly inventory database into a powerful tool that gives you unfettered access to your inventory data.
Take TKO Electronics, a technology equipment distributor and SalesPad customer, as an example. They work with approximately 400,000 SKUs. Talk about a large database!
Because of the nature of their work, TKO deals with inventory that is new, refurbished, remanufactured, as-is, and more. SalesPad is able to deal with the complexity of their inventory needs through warehouse setup, utilizing multiple locations and bins within those locations, and through, you guessed it — serial numbers. Without serialized inventory, TKO Electronics wouldn’t have nearly as much control over their inventory as they currently enjoy.
There’s a lot more to TKO’s story than serial numbers and warehouse setup. Read the complete case study to learn about the other improvements they were able to achieve, and SalesPad’s part in making their goals a reality.