The thing about warehouses in the modern day is that they may not always be in the same place, and they may not hold still long enough for you to really keep track of them.

For many industries that require small parts to get their job done, or for travelling salesmen that still keep their inventory at different locations (or even in the van itself), mobile inventory can be a pain to keep track of and count effectively.

With the right system in place and a little foresight, you can get around these inventory problems. Check out our tips for easily managing inventory across multiple locations:

 

Understand the needs of your business

While this should easily be Step 1 for any inventory plan, it goes double for businesses across multiple locations. The needs of a business that uses different warehouses to store products are going to be a lot different from the needs of a business that uses mobile salesman or installation teams to track their products, and vice versa.

Think about what your business does and go from there—are you a contract worker such as a plumber or an A/V equipment installer who needs to bring their inventory with them everywhere, or are you a smaller distribution company that stores different products at different locations? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before trying to find an inventory solution.

 

Optimize the first destination for your products

No matter how your business utilizes the inventory you get, the first step is to figure out how to optimize where the products get shipped to. Do they arrive at one central destination before getting distributed out to other locations or independent vehicles, or are they sent directly to their end destination?

Once you figure out where they’re going, see what you can do to make it easier when they arrive. Provide additional pallet racks and warehouse shelves to help keep products organized and ready to go, and review your tracking methods as needed to ensure all your products are getting where they need to be on time.

 

Provide better tracking at their destination

Of course, when it comes to mobile inventory, most of your products can’t be expected to hold still and wait to be counted. As products move between destinations, you should provide your staff with easier ways to manage and track their on-hand inventory to make sure everything is counted and used properly.

Since a lot of mobile installation/delivery services don’t actually track the amount of goods sold (and bill the client later, in most cases), you should provide your team with on-hand mobile inventory tracking for small parts so they always know how much of something they have on-hand. Particularly in cases like cable/internet installation or mobile plumbing services, finding a mobile device to track barcodes will help everyone stay on the same page even if your billing process typically prohibits charging for individual items until the whole job is done.

 

Optimize storage across each location

Finally, even if they have easy ways of tracking the goods, knowing where they are is a different story in itself. Provide enough wire shelving or metal shelving at each different warehouse, distribution center, or even mobile distributor you have for everyone to organize, label, and track each item, and make sure your barcodes and/or RFID tracking are uniform across each location to prevent confusion or miscounts.

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