Skip to content


Try as we might, every warehouse makes mistakes sometimes.

Technology issues, equipment malfunctions, and simply human error can all come together to create inventory issues at every step of the supply chain. While many of these issues might not seem too major when they first happen, over time they can add up to cost your warehouse a lot – both financially and in productivity, too.

Each warehouse faces its own unique set of problems, challenges, and potential errors to overcome, but many of these issues stem from a series of similar root causes – and luckily, each of these issues can be diminished or prevented with a little forethought and planning.


Common Warehouse Inventory Problems: Causes & Solutions

Item Mispicks


From clothing to toys to computer parts and everything in between, mispicks are a common sight. “Mispicks” are defined as any time the wrong item is sent in shipment, whether you’re sending the wrong item to a customer to fulfill an order, or sending the incorrect item to another warehouse farther down the supply chain. 

The causes of these mispicks are fairly consistent across any number of warehouses: incorrectly-labeled SKUs, incorrect inventory information in your WMS, or too many items on the same shelf (which can be doubly-difficult if the items are similar in appearance, like different shades of the same pants). 

This can lead to a lot of frustration both on the part of your employees and your customers, as well as the increased expenses of needing to ship an order twice and/or refunding the error order. Over time, this can lead to missed sales opportunities, particularly if the mispicks are causing inaccurate totals in your inventory. 

The Solution: Luckily, with a careful eye, the risk of mispicks can be greatly reduced. Start by using warehouse shelf labels to easily identify and display the SKU of any given product, to make sure it can be referenced using scanners when it comes time to pick an item. Additionally, make sure you’re not mixing too many SKUs in the same area – even if two different items are only different by their size, a lot of issues can arise by them being stored in the same warehouse storage bins, for example.

Overstocks Of Unsold Inventory


We’ve all been there –  certain items just don’t move as quickly as others, and over time they can start to pile up. Especially if your warehouse/retailer doesn’t frequently engage in clearance items or closeout sales of inventory, this deadstock can start to pile up and create issues with the location and picking of new items that are moving faster.

The Solution: By performing more frequent stock audits, you can better identify which items are moving more slowly, or tend to only sell during certain times of the year. These items can then safely be relocated elsewhere in the warehouse, to prevent them from getting in the way of the goods that need to be picked on a more frequent basis.

Too Much Safety Stock


“Safety stock” is a blessing for any items that need it – but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Thanks to the various supply chain anxieties brought on by the pandemic era, a lot of warehouses tend to rely on safety stock for items that, in hindsight, might not need it too much. This can contribute to a number of issues, including mispicks, a lack of space for more popular items, and confusion on the consumer’s part. 

The Solution: Nobody wants to hear it, but there is such a thing as too much safety stock. Review the sales levels of any product you have an abundance of, and work to determine how much of it you actually need. By selling off or relocating the slower-selling items, you can free up space for the goods you might actually need to dip into the safety stock for, and reduce the chances of a needed item getting mispicked or tossed to the side due to a lack of space.

Inefficient Use of Warehouse Space


Finally, one of the most commonly seen issues with warehousing is a poor use of space and resources. No matter how well-labeled your product SKUs may be, it’s not going to do anyone a world of good if they can’t actually find the items they need when picking goods or doing inventory counts again. 

The Solution: It might be easier said than done, but making sure you’re using all of your space effectively is key to making sure your inventory is handled the way it needs to be. The easiest way to do this is to check for wasted space – make sure there’s no empty pallet racks, and avoid cramming too many items into one area (even if they’re similar enough to warrant keeping them in the same storage). This will have the dual benefit of helping your inventory be stored in a way that makes more sense, and optimize any of the items you might have too many (or too little) of.


Comments are closed.

Back to top