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Top Warehouse Management Problems

Warehouse management is the backbone of the supply chain which in turn is the backbone of any business. Efficient warehouse management ensures that the product flow is regulated and under control across the system. Warehouse management ensures that there are no shortages and the movement of goods as well as raw materials is smooth.

While appearing seemingly simple from outside, warehouse management is a complicated process. Across industries, warehouse management is the key that keeps the production running and ensures timely delivery of the products to the end consumer. Inefficient warehouse management can result in uncertain conditions for various stakeholders within the organization. Poor management could lead to external stakeholders such as distributors or consumers losing faith in the organization. So, what are the key processes of warehouse management, and what are the top problems that need to be identified?

Processes Involved in Warehouse Management

Before discussing details, let’s understand the basic processes performed at a warehouse level.
Receiving step: This is the first step when the goods reach the warehouse. It is important for the warehouse to ensure that the products delivered are the right ones before accepting them. This could be verified by the information received in advance from previous stakeholders in the supply chain.
Put-away: When the goods are received at the warehouse, the next step is to allocate an optimal location. This location needs to be selected in such a way that it does not use a lot of space and does not damage the existing goods. Apart from this, an accessible location for the employees to handle the goods quickly needs to be considered.
Storage: The goods need to be stored only after considering the nature of the goods. The step should be implemented, ensuring that the available space in the warehouse is optimally utilized. It should ensure labor efficiency and make things quicker for the workforce.
Picking: This is the step when the goods are selected to be shipped, and hence accuracy in this step is absolutely essential. One wrong delivery could hamper the reputation of the organization.
Packaging: The main aim of packaging is to keep the product safe when it leaves the warehouse and ensure that the products are delivered in their original state without any damage. The packaging also needs to be light so as to ensure that the overall weight of the goods does not increase much.
Shipping: Dispatching the consignment to the right customer and verifying the barcode/QR code attached is the final stage before the products leave the warehouse. Delivering to the right customer and on time is important to gain customer loyalty.

Top Warehouse Management Problems

1. No inventory accuracy in the warehouse

When goods are brought in the warehouse, they cannot be seen or counted manually because of its packaging unless relevant printed information is marked on the stock. Once accepted, the responsibility of handling the goods is transferred to the warehouse and hence, while receiving the delivery damaged goods need to be filtered out and returned to the supplier. A failure to build a computerized network to track the inflow and outflow of stocks may create gaps either for delivery or production. This further adds up to the unbalanced ratio of demand and supply.

2. Inventory location and layout

A convenient and accessible inventory location increases the overall efficiency. Hence, compromising on this and structuring unorganized inventory without any systematic layout may result in difficulties for the workers which, in turn, may increase the loading time and delay the delivery process. Imperfectly configured layout compromises with the total usage potential of the available space and leads to shrinking profits as latent space becomes unused.

3. Utilization of space

Failing to utilize every corner of the warehouse effectively limits the storage capacity and thus increases the cost. Developing faulty design patterns to store the products and inexplicit parking facility of the vehicles does nothing but escalate work and labor efforts. Inadequacy in mapping the utilization of space whether floor or vertical may restrict warehouse management from utilizing it to its full potential. Inaccessibility for the labor to reach the stock or wastage of space considering the vertical parameters needs to be avoided.

4. Faulty picking process

The paper-based or manual mode of entering each data could lead to human errors. Handling the entire process of picking the product until it is loaded is a tedious task. It involves a lot of information about the consignment and the consignee being transferred. Errors in this step lead to wrong shipment being delivered which increases the cost of re-processing the shipment. Exceptions may occur at times for a wrong order being delivered or for a substitute to be shipped. Keeping track of such intricate information manually often results in human error.

5. Fluctuations due to seasonality

As the demand does not remain constant throughout the year, re-arranging the stock according to the need is essential. Administering seasonality of demand requires an updated and precise flow of information. Imprecision in demand forecasting is one of the major reasons for inefficiency in handling the goods. Negligence or wrong entry in regards to the arrangement of goods leads to mismanagement of the entire stock resulting in loss of goods, the burden of which is again borne by the organization.

Warehouse management assists the firms in meeting the productivity goals by providing efficiency in the flow of goods required in the manufacturing or the production process as well as in the delivery of finished products to the right consumer. Effectiveness and efficiency in this chain fuel the overall functioning of the organization. By providing the right stock at the right time, warehouse management brings value to the entire logistics system and helps in achieving the organization’s goals. With technology changing the expectations of the end-user and the functioning of warehouse management, organizations need to adopt newer technologies to remain efficient and stay at the top of the game.

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Failing Traditional Anti-Counterfeit Tools

The fight against counterfeit products is a global challenge with companies across industries implementing tools to create a robust supply chain. Yet, everyday counterfeit goods worth millions of dollars enter the supply chain and reach unsuspecting customers. This not only leads to loss of revenue, but it also ends up hurting the brand image. If the customer receives a sub-standard product under a brand name, it is unlikely that they will ever purchase the product again.
According to the Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018, the value of global counterfeiting will reach USD 1.82 Trillion by 2020. In 2017 alone, online counterfeiting led to a total loss of USD 323 Billion across the globe. This is just the stats for modern trade which comprises a single digital market share in developing countries such as India, the extent of counterfeiting activities is anticipated to be way much bigger than imagined. As a consequence, it becomes important to understand that companies are making a fatal mistake of relying on age-old traditional anti-counterfeit tools which are totally ineffective in the present age. These anti-counterfeit tools were aimed at helping the government, agencies, and regulators eliminate counterfeit products from the supply chain.
So, why are these tools not working anymore? Let us look at some of these tools and understand why one should immediately stop using them for anti-counterfeit measures.

1. Tamper Evident or Tamper Proof Packaging

This has been one of the most widely used technique to protect the original packaging and the product within. However, some basic skills and patience are enough to get-around tamper-evident or tamper-proof packaging. The unsuspecting customer never even realizes that the original product was tampered with or replaced. A few of the reasons leading to the failure of this tool have been the unimaginative and inexpensive design, limited vulnerability testing, and the intention of ensuring that anyone can easily open the packaging.

2. Holograms

Usage of Holograms is again one of the widely used practices to curb counterfeiting of products in several industries. These holograms which are made using polyester film base can be viewed via naked eyes when titled in light. Holograms are designed to provide customers with a simple tool to ensure brand authentication. However, holograms do not capture any data, nor can they be tracked and besides, it is naive to assume that someone who could duplicate an entire product will not be able to create a fake hologram.

3. Optically Variable Features

Using the same technology behind holograms, some companies prefer implementing optically variable features. This technology is usually seen on banknotes, credit cards, passports, etc. A latent image formation is printed such that it exhibits different patterns which are visually recognizable. While this technology has several benefits, it is not entirely immune to being manipulated. Considering the fact that even counterfeit currencies are developed which replicate the original optical variable feature, it should be hardly surprising that the same is done with the products.

4. Digital Watermarks

Digital watermarks encode UPC data invisibly and repeatedly over the entire surface of packages. These watermarks are invisible to the naked eye and have been used by banks to prevent counterfeiting. These digital watermarks save time, enable consumers to scan the product and ensure product authenticity. While the technology is undoubtedly promising, companies have to make substantial initial investments towards new hardware and software.

5. The Trusted Mechanism

While several technologies are available to prevent counterfeit products from entering the supply chain, nothing beats the traditional trust mechanism that most people share with the “around the corner” retail shop owner. It could work to an extent, but with advancing counterfeit mechanisms, even the shop owner may not be aware of the fake products they are selling. It is quite possible that some bad actors in the supply chain may have introduced a fake product that will end up being sold to unsuspecting customers who trust the person selling it. This again not only results in loss of revenue for a company but also ends up hurting your brand image due to a negative experience that might arise from the counterfeit product.

What Could be the Ideal Practice for Tackling Counterfeit Menace?

So, if the traditional methods are not useful and are being used only for imaginative self-satisfaction, what should be done to tackle the counterfeit menace rampant across industries? As the counterfeit industry grows and fraudsters improve counterfeiting techniques, established brands, as well as startups, are facing a daunting challenge in tackling the situation. If advancement in technology has led to massive counterfeiting, then technology itself is capable of solving this grave problem.
O4S offers product serialization and product verification tools that help secure your supply chain. The unique ID is similar to the Aadhaar code, empower companies to track the product movement across the supply chain and consumers to validate the authenticity of their purchased products. Using a simple app, SMS or web widget, the end-users are delighted to find out that they are purchasing an original product through the unique code.
Counterfeiting will definitely not be solved in a day and will require sustained efforts from all stakeholders in the downstream supply chain over a period of time. This could mean doing everything from following good practices and professional ethics within the company to using the latest available technological solutions to ensure strong anti-counterfeit measures. Please get in touch with our executive to know more about our latest offerings that can put you a step ahead of the counterfeiters. Dial 1800–123–208–208 or email your queries at For more details, you can website our website


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