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Increasing efficiency of the dispatching process

Efficient workers dispatching warehouse goods

The process of dispatching goods from the warehouse can be long and laborious with many individual tasks involved. Turning this operation into an efficient and streamlined system will help free-up time, and increase warehouse capacity.

There are a variety of ways in which warehouses can streamline the dispatching process, with four key areas identified below:

1. Utilising technology 
Technology is a key factor of business success, as it can help develop a competitive advantage. In terms of dispatching, implementing a warehouse management system that supports the use of barcodes and scanners, and automated the more monotonous tasks can effectively decrease downtime. Using scanners to pick and dispatch stock against sales orders, and automatically printing dispatch notes can save significant amounts of time, whilst also reducing human error.

2. Breaking down the process 
Having a process is highly important for the effective management of dispatching. Breaking down the operation into key stages will avoid staff confusion, keep tasks manageable, and help to identify any potential problem areas; whether certain tasks are taking longer than expected, or more mistakes are being made in others. Having well-defined steps within a process will increase productivity and efficiency, but only as long as staff are suitably trained.

3. Prioritising customers 
By determining the customers that need or have paid for a quicker delivery, they can more easily be kept happy. Implementing a system that ensures there is a dedicated team to fill priority orders allows warehouse operatives see which stock items are more time-sensitive, making it easier for teams working on dispatching stock by streamlining the process even further.

4. Route optimisation 
When delivering goods to customers, it is often easier said than done. Whilst mapping out the shortest routes possible based on distance may seem like a good idea at the time, these routes may be prone to high levels of traffic or be unsuitable for lorries. Trusting mainstream map applications such as Google Maps may also end up being more of a hinderance than a help as they can often have a significant delay in reporting accidents or congestion. Employing intelligent software that understands the route options available to a delivery driver, and which route is the most cost-effective without the potential of causing a delay to delivery times, will help increase the efficiency of the dispatching process.

If your looking to increase the efficiency of your business’s dispatching process, but not quite sure where to start, feel free to contact our team at Bit Systems. With our many years’ experience providing intelligent software and support to warehousing businesses, we understand the struggles faced to streamline warehouse operations. You can call us on 03300 245 452 or email info@bitsystemsltd.co.uk.

NEW! Increased batch traceability functionality in Bit Inventory

Warehouse worker picking stock in warehouse

 

What is batch and serial traceability?
Batch and serial number traceability is a function that allows warehouse staff to track batch information (batch number/expiry dates) and serial numbers through the warehouse, helping them to understand where specific stock is located at any given time. Here at Bit Systems, we can help automate this using our Bit Inventory software and barcode scanners. The benefits of this mean that a significant amount of time is saved as team members will have all the necessary stock information on their handheld scanners, with no need to check for this information elsewhere. This can also help with customer service, because stock can be traced by warehouse staff to where that inventory came from, so if any problems were to arise, the situation can be rectified quickly.

New functionality for Bit Inventory 50 
Bit Inventory 50 has been updated to allow for more information to be held within the barcode scanners to increase efficiency when picking and dispatching stock. This additional information, including expiry dates of perishable goods, helps warehouse operatives identify which stock is the oldest in the warehouse. The operative can also identify batch and serial numbers at the moment they are processed in the scanner.

Benefits of advanced traceability functionality 
There are several benefits to having this additional information available at hand on the warehouse floor;

  • Better stock rotation
    Picking the oldest stock first means that inventory is better rotated, and older items aren’t left to gather dust or perish in the warehouse.
  • Less wastage of perishable goods 
    Understanding the expiry dates of stock allows for the produce closest to its expiry date to be dispatched first, leading to less wastage because of consistent rotation.
  • Better informed warehouse operatives 
    Having the information on the handheld scanners helps warehouse operatives make quick decisions on which stock to pick to go out to the customer.
  • Quicker processes 
    With no need to rectify incorrect batch/serial numbers later, there’s no more delay for dispatch paperwork. If an incorrect batch or serial number is flagged within Bit Inventory, it can be changed there and then, pro-actively on the warehouse floor, saving time and money.
  • Improved customer service
    With very little chance of customers being sent months or years old stock that has gathered dust and is potentially faulty, they will be much happier receiving consistently good quality stock. This will lead to a higher level of customer satisfaction, and retention.

To understand more about these new features of Bit Inventory and how they can help streamline your warehouse processes, please contact us by calling 03300 245452 or email info@bitsystemsltd.co.uk.

How to solve common supply-chain challenges

Transportation and logistics within supply-chain

With many supply-chain issues being out of the hands of warehousing businesses, it’s important to understand the potential challenges that can be dealt with to streamline the process as much as possible.

Building strong relationships with key stakeholders
Building strong relationships with key stakeholders in the supply-chain is a crucial factor in the success of your warehouse. Although it will be the contracts and SLA’s that formally regulate the arrangements between the parties involved in the supply-chain, communicating regularly with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors etc. will improve relationships and help to rectify any issues more efficiently. Close collaboration with each organisation involved within the supply-chain can allow businesses to create contingency plans if any potential barriers are anticipated.

Breaking down processes 
Having clear processes is highly important for effective management through the supply-chain. Breaking down key operations into individual tasks will help to avoid staff confusion, keep a manageable workload, and identify any potential problem areas. Having well-defined steps within a process will increase communication, productivity, and efficiency, but only as long as staff are suitably trained.

Integrating GPS tracking 
GPS and tracking technology can hugely benefit the transportation and logistics divisions of the supply-chain. With the sophistication of today’s technologies, GPS can extend much further than simply navigating drivers to and from locations. More advanced GPS tracking technologies can monitor traffic, calculate estimated delivery times, and let necessary team members know the whereabouts of any vehicles at any given time, reducing the number of calls drivers receive regarding where they are or why they’re delayed, improving the safety of journeys and streamlining deliveries. Also with more sophisticated software, live driver feeds can be viewed by customers to track their own delivery and get a more accurate estimated delivery time, decreasing the number of customer calls, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Identifying trends and forecasting 
Warehouse management software (WMS) can offer in-depth reports of your stock, recording buying and selling patterns, giving real-time insights and helping your business to plan ahead. WMS with stock control and reporting capabilities will mean you no longer have to spend time searching for data across multiple business platforms and departments. Through integrations between WMS and accounts software, business plans and future investments can be initiated from the comprehensive data of relevant departments, including sales, accounts, and operations.

Contingency planning 
Creating a backup plan is a necessary action for effective supply-chain management. Organising contingencies like backup suppliers, backup manufacturers, additional storage solutions, and alternative despatching plans, will help reduce the negative affects if part of the supply-chain couldn’t deliver the services they’re expected to. By prioritising risks to the supply-chain based on likelihood and level of impact, it will help you plan for worst-case scenarios, reducing high-level risks and protecting your business.

Bit Systems has a wealth of knowledge in this area, so if you’d like any help or advice regarding supply-chain or warehouse management, please call us on 03300 245452 or email info@bitsystemsltd.co.uk.

How to increase accuracy of goods received

Worker taking warehouse delivery

The tasks involved in the goods received process can often lead to inaccuracies elsewhere within the warehouse if not completed properly. Streamlining these tasks through the use of intelligent software can help reduce (or even eliminate) the number of inaccuracies and inefficiencies.

What is meant by goods received? 
Goods received (or goods receiving) is the process of checking the delivery of goods into the warehouse. This process involves several steps:

  1. Matching goods to the purchase order
  2. Checking goods aren’t damaged
  3. Logging received items into the warehouse management system
  4. Getting the new stock unpacked and organised within the warehouse
  5. Forwarding the consignment note to accounts payable

Following a process helps maintain an efficient warehouse whilst identifying any potential issues with suppliers. However, as a business grows, so do the challenges it faces, and these processes can become more and more time consuming, resulting in slower lead times.

How can software increase accuracy of goods received? 
Using inventory management software for goods received can significantly improve the accuracy and efficiency of this critical business process. Booking stock into the warehouse using a handheld scanner isn’t only a much smoother process than manually writing down information and then also updating a financial back office, it’s also incredibly accurate and less prone to human error.

More sophisticated inventory management software packages can also offer product location tracking to help with a more efficient put away process. This is done by presenting the product’s location on the scanner, so that even new or temporary staff get their tasks completed in good time by having the right information in front of them.

Serial/batch information can also be tracked accurately at the goods received stage so that if there are any issues, perishable stock can be tracked back to the day it was delivered and the supplier it was delivered too, to help with supplier returns.

Creating additional processes 
Creating additional processes for tasks within the goods received process can also help towards increasing accuracy and efficiency. An example of this could be establishing measures to ensure warehouse deliveries are scheduled at different times, so they don’t turn up all at once and cost valuable resources. Within this, unpacking deadlines should be based on the number of items being delivered, rather than having a blanket deadline across all deliveries coming into the warehouse, otherwise mistakes can be made from teams feeling rushed.

Goods received with damages or unreadable labels can also cause issues within the process of taking delivery of items. Creating steps to reduce downtime in solving these issues can greatly improve efficiency of the goods received process. Capturing information including proof of damage, and storing damaged goods in a designated area of the warehouse, will help make the return of goods more streamlined. In cases of unreadable labels, if it’s a regular occurrence, having a chosen point of contact with the supplier to share frustrations will improve communications. There are also some warehouse management systems that can record items as received without the use of scanners.

The future of receiving goods into the warehouse 
With the rate of technological advancements increasing exponentially year on year, there is no doubt warehouses will continue to see the benefits of this for a long time ahead. Specifically in the case of the goods received process, it has been speculated that technologies including artificial intelligent (AI) and drones with optical sensors could be used in future to streamline processes even further.

If you would like more information about how warehouse and inventory management processes can be streamlined by technology, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 03300 245452.

How to Streamline Order Processing

 

How to Streamline Order Processing

Order processing can be laborious, and while it’s essential for faultless communication between each stage of the process, that’s easier said than done. There is one key way order processing can be streamlined into a more efficient operation, and this involves clever pieces of software.

What is order processing?
Order processing is the method of getting a product out for delivery once it has been ordered. There are several stages involved in the process including picking, sorting and packing, and depending on the size of the business, this can be done by one person or a group of people.

How can software streamline order processing?
Order processing that is conducted manually using pen and paper is often open to mistakes being made by human error. A growing business will also likely grow in the complexity of its operations, and so the manual processing of orders will become a much slower task that will result in unhappy and unimpressed customers. This is where using warehouse management software for order processing can be hugely beneficial for businesses looking to become much more efficient in their operations.

Generally speaking, warehouse management software can store and share the data of items, including understanding stock levels of specific products, where those products are located in the warehouse, and knowing what stock has been ordered and where it’s going. Having all of this information in one place can help ensure orders are fulfilled efficiently and accurately. It also means any potential delays of incoming stock can be quickly communicated to customers for better customer service.

With a warehouse management system, barcodes can be used to follow items throughout their journey in the warehouse, helping pickers find specific products to fulfil orders that bit more efficiently. Scanning barcodes can also save time and increase accuracy as manually writing product codes is a much slower process, and can be open to error if a wrong number or letter is written, or if the handwriting isn’t easily understandable.

Another benefit of using a warehouse management system is that it can unify all warehouse related tasks into a single orchestrated platform, not just order processing. By having all processes integrated, with information being sent between them, communication can be significantly improved not only between staff, but also to customers.

The future of order processing
With technological advancements moving faster than ever before, warehousing businesses will need to keep up to speed in order to stay competitive and meet growing demand. The likelihood is that businesses still using manual order processing methods in 5/10 years-time will become obsolete, as more businesses move towards offering next day (or even same-day) deliveries thanks to Amazon. Whilst implementing a more efficient order processing method may be more expensive in the short-term (training and set-up costs), implementing a technological solution sooner rather than later means that money can be saved in the longer-term from reduced errors, higher warehouse capacity, and happy customers.

Serial/Batch Tracking with Bit Inventory 50

Tracing stock throughout the warehouse can be a confusing and time-consuming task, particularly if it has to be done manually. Having the capability to monitor inventory using barcodes and intelligent software designed to make these processes simpler, will help improve efficiency and streamline processes within the warehouse.

What is serial/batch tracking?

Serial or batch tracking is a method of monitoring stock throughout the warehouse by assigning serial, batch or lot numbers against items. These numbers can then be used to search for the locations of specific products within the warehouse.

How does serial/batch tracking work in Bit Inventory 50?

Bit Inventory 50 has been designed to make inventory management a much more accurate and efficient process through its integration with Sage 50.

Serial/batch tracking works in Bit Inventory 50 by having specific numbers assigned against products. When a product is placed in a certain location within the warehouse, this information gets inputted into the Bit Inventory 50 software. When a specific product code is then searched, the location it has been referenced in will be brought up, along with the locations it has previously been placed, giving a full view of that products journey through the warehouse.

 

The Bit Inventory 50 software allows for items to be more easily monitored and found, saving warehouse staff valuable time when picking customer orders. This allows businesses using the software to meet customer needs more efficiently, leading to an increased capacity within the warehouse. Bit Inventory 50 is also GS1 compliant, holding all the necessary data for pharmaceutical products within one barcode.

Summary

Serial/batch tracking in Bit Inventory 50 is a simple process of monitoring specific products on their journey through the warehouse, making sure they’re placed in the correct locations ready for picking customer orders. A full history of an item’s journey through the warehouse can also be seen, which can be useful, for example, if a perishable good had been stored in the wrong location and has therefore spoiled.

For more information about how Bit Inventory 50 can help streamline your warehouse processes, contact us today.

Key features of Bit Inventory 50

The key Features of Bit Inventory 50

 

What is Bit Inventory 50?

Bit Inventory 50 (or Bit 50) is an inventory management solution that uses barcoding software to help manage, track and control stock through integrations with Sage 50. Improving accuracy and efficiency, Bit 50 uses advanced technology to streamline processes throughout the warehouse (or warehouses), offering a full scope of information to relevant teams in order to increase productivity. It has been created with flexibility and scalability in mind, to grow with businesses as they develop.

 

What are the merits of Bit Inventory 50?

Order Processing

Bit 50 significantly saves time and reduces errors when processing orders. This is because the software allows users to create purchase orders and sales orders, and post them directly to Sage at the click of a button. This means the systems can be fully automated from receiving the order to picking goods, saving on paperwork.

Goods Received

Purchase orders are automatically sent to scanners, ready to be picked up at any time for deliveries. With the use of modern handheld scanners, stock deliveries can be received in the warehouse with goods-in information automatically updating in Sage. There’s no need for manual data inputs, ensuring the process of receiving goods is much more accurate and efficient.

Despatching

The handheld scanners can be used to pick and despatch items against sales orders, with the ability to automatically print despatch notes. Orders can also be locked when picking, so there’s no more risk of orders being double picked, improving accuracy and efficiency.

Stock Taking

With Bit 50, there’s no need for manual stock takes as the handheld scanners can be used to count stock, whether it’s scheduled or on an ad hoc basis, and inputs the information directly into Sage. This process removes the need for paperwork, and as fewer people are involved, the likelihood of human error is reduced considerably. Comparisons of stock that has been counted vs stock that is featured in Sage can be viewed to identify any potential anomalies, and with the ability to tag transactions to users, any staff members involved in stock takes can be easily found, allowing for any irregularities to be rectified promptly.

 

Summary of Features

Bit 50 has several key features that will help make every stage of processing stock throughout the warehouse significantly more efficient. With the use of modern handheld scanners, order processing, receiving goods, despatching, and stock-taking are all much more accurate compared with manual methods. This efficiency will help businesses meet customer needs as their expectations grow, and increase capacity as goods can be moved through the warehouse more rapidly.

Efficient Warehouse Management with Barcoding Inventory

What is barcoding inventory?

Barcoding inventory is a process that uses barcodes assigned to items to help take stock and track products as they move through the warehouse. A barcode scanner (or RF machine) is used to catalogue and trace stock as it enters and leaves the warehouse, minimising manual processes.

With technological advancements increasing rapidly, customer expectations are also changing. Slow operations that take up too much time processing orders are no longer tolerated, especially in the age of one-click ordering and next-day deliveries. It’s essential that businesses find more efficient ways to operate, and barcoding inventory can help do just that.

How does barcoding inventory increase warehouse efficiency?

There are several ways in which barcoding inventory can increase warehouse efficiency:

  • Simplifying processes
  • Increasing accuracy
  • Optimising operations

Firstly, barcoding inventory can help businesses simplify their processes. By keeping track of stock electronically, there are fewer manual stages in the process of moving goods through the warehouse. This saves valuable time and helps ensure employees understand each stage clearly, leading to a reduced risk of errors.

Following on from above, barcoding inventory helps increase accuracy. With no need for pen and paper, and minimising data entry, the best barcoding inventory management systems hold all the information required to process stock from delivery of items through to stock movements, sale, and distribution. With little-to-no room for costly human errors, business owners, warehouse managers, and their teams can rest assured that the stock information held in these systems are accurate and up-to-date.

With minimal risk of errors and simplified processes, operations throughout the warehouse are optimised and more efficient, leading to the ability to meet customer needs more quickly. This rise in efficiency can help warehouses increase capacity and grow business opportunities further.

Barcode Inventory Management Systems

Implementing a barcode Inventory management system is key to the success of barcoding inventory, as the best systems integrate with existing accounting software to keep track of all the necessary data as well as raise and process purchase orders when needed. With all of the information in one place, businesses can drive efficiency and performance.

Bit Inventory for Sage 50 manages, tracks and controls stock from the point of receiving a delivery to the point of dispatch. By integrating Bit Inventory with Sage, your teams will be able to capture stock transactions through a handheld, modern android scanner in real-time, automatically updating Sage to drive efficiency and eliminating count time by 90%.

Benefits of Barcode Inventory Systems

Barcodes have been part of our lives since 1974 and are now not only used by retailers to organise stock but also by many other industries including aerospace and manufacturing, for a variety of different reasons.

What is a Barcode Inventory System?

Barcode inventory systems are pretty much what the name describes. They are systems that allow you to manage stock in a much more accurate and efficient way using barcodes. The system can help you track and follow items as they move through your warehouse (or warehouses). If you choose the right solution and implement it correctly, it can automate processes to save even more time and transform your business for the better.

 

What are the Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System?

 

The barcode was designed for a reason – to make life easier for retailers, but now, with technology advancing quicker than ever before, there are several key benefits that make life easier for the industries that implement barcode inventory technology.

 

Accuracy

Utilising a barcoding system with inventory management can significantly increase accuracy compared to manual inventory management. By mitigating the risks of human error, barcoding will not only save time for your business but will also offer peace of mind.

 

Efficiency

Implementing a barcode inventory system will significantly increase the efficiency of your processes, allowing you to redistribute the saved time throughout different areas of the business. Making processes more efficient then helps you satisfy your customer’s needs more quickly, which is particularly important nowadays when customers have expectations of immediacy and customers can access products at the click of a button.

 

Simplicity

A barcoding inventory management system will help you keep track of all stock movements electronically. The best systems will also help you keep track of stock even if you have multiple warehouses in more than one location. This helps you simplify your processes as there is less need for manual interference, speeding up your operations without compromising on service delivered.

 

Traceability

The ability to trace stock is a crucial aspect of managing a warehouse. Offering your business functionality including multi-location, batch/serial number tracking, and expiry dates to keep track of perishable products, barcode inventory management systems are designed to make your life easier by helping to create a more agile and efficient business.

 

Summary

To summarise the benefits of barcoding inventory systems, this technology provides four key advantages that include accuracy, efficiency, simplicity, and traceability, with each going hand-in-hand to optimise processes, creating a much more agile business. With a reduced risk of human error, barcoding inventory systems also offer peace of mind that operations run smoothly.

Improve your cash flow by managing your stock efficiently with inventory management software

 

It’s challenging to grow a business without a healthy cash flow. Especially if you have customers or sales channels that are slow to pay, you will be required to pay your own suppliers and employees regardless of whether your customers have paid or not.

One of the tools available to a business to achieve a good cash flow is inventory management. Managing your stock to be able to fulfil orders without holding an excessive amount of inventory allows you to keep your finances liquid.

In this article, we are going to be exploring stock management and cash flow and discussing the role of inventory management software. If it’s not something you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, it might be worth delving a little deeper, because, for many companies, it directly contributes to their ability to grow as a business.

What Is Healthy Cash Flow?

“Cash flow is the amount of money being transferred in and out of a business. It’s usually calculated and presented on a budget sheet that identifies a company’s inflow and expenditures.”

Simply put, when you have more money flowing into your business than flowing out, you have positive cash flow. This should always be an objective for most businesses because by accumulating the net cash flow surplus, you have the resources to scale operations.

Naturally, there is more to finance than just cash flow. You also have to assess a company’s debt, profitability, and other factors to ensure the financial stability of your business. However, if you are ever looking for a snapshot of your financial position as a business, your cash flow is a really good indicator.

How Inventory Affects Your Cash Flow

Most traditional businesses follow a similar model. They buy inventory, which they then hold as stock whilst they try to sell it. When the inventory gets sold, it converts that stock into cash, giving the company the resources to purchase more inventory and repeat the cycle.

However, buying too much stock can impact your cash flow and worse still, it can lead to waste.

Stocking your supply

Poor visibility of inventory can often lead to miscalculating supply. If you don’t have the ability to properly track the supply and demand of your inventory, you can’t predict how much stock you need to hold at any one time. These stocking issues can become even more prevalent if you are in a seasonal industry where sales can swing drastically depending on the time of year.

For example, without accurate stock reporting and analysis, if your predicted supply is significantly too high, your cash flow can be damaged through increasing expenditures. Your cost of goods increase, as well as the costs associated with carrying your inventory and the demand for your goods, isn’t high enough to satisfy the supply amount you’ve purchased.

In contrast, if your predicted supply is too low, decreasing revenue can also dent your cash flow. If you only have a small amount of stock to sell, you might not be able to keep up with demand. In most industries, if you don’t have the stock available to supply to your customers, they will be buying from your competitors.

 

Inventory Tips to Improve Your Cash Flow

The ability to control your cash flow demands forward-thinking. The best way to achieve this is to employ technology, which can track your inventory trends helping to predict the flow of your cash and avoid costly mistakes.

Track your Inventory Trends

Keeping meticulous records of the quantity of products ordered and sold helps your business to forecast demand and supply. Bit Systems inventory management software simplifies inventory tracking to provide insights into whether you are overstocking or understocking. In creating greater visibility, you can better regulate orders and continually meet customer demand.

 

  • Continual tracking allows you to measure seasonal changes.
  • Adjust supply orders to accommodate demand fluctuations.

 

In precisely measuring inventory flow, you will be better able to match your supply to the demand. You maximise your revenue by meeting customer demand and not tying up cash in additional stock.

 

Summary – cash flow management

Managing your cash flow is essential for any business wanting to scale for two primary reasons. Firstly, available capital provides opportunities for companies to expand into new areas and scale their operations. Secondly, by having visibility over cash flow and stock quantities, you are better able to meet the consumer’s demand and predict future demand patterns. The absence of technology would make the task of managing inventory extremely labour intensive and leave a huge margin for human error, neither of which are useful to a growing company. Bit Inventory management software automates stock control to enable your business to grow through improved cash flow.