How Audits Can Help with Warehouse Inventory Management and More
Logistics managers have to account for a large list of variables to maintain efficient and compliant operations. With an ever-changing collage of incoming and outgoing shipments, few things are more important for these managers than warehouse inventory management and risk mitigation; especially with those companies that warehouse regulated materials like food ingredients or pharmaceuticals. But with the complexity of modern logistics businesses, it can be difficult to know what’s happening within your company and what can be done to improve upon existing processes. That’s why internal audits can be incredibly useful.
An internal audit, whether conducted by an employee of the company or a third-party provider, can help glean data and insights that inform better and more effective decisions. It can also help reveal organizational weaknesses and non-compliant practices, which can make all the difference when preparing for external audits. Regulations are constantly being introduced, modified and updated, which means it’s more important than ever to remain up-to-date.
Here are a few things an internal audit can help with:
- Monitoring inventory: Warehouse inventory management is a crucial part of any logistics business. An audit can help assess existing inventory and examine what’s available, what can be used and what needs to be removed. It can also assist with inventory tracking, ensuring first-in-first-out processes are in place and providing managers with crucial insights as to where products are coming from, where they’re being sent and how long they’re taking to reach their end destinations.
- Documentation Compliance: In nearly all materials storage, documentation requirements are becoming more and more important to ensure compliance and validate best practices are in place. An internal audit will help to ensure that documentation is in place, is adequate, and corrections are employed when and where needed.
- Protecting data: While audits can assess a company’s physical workspace, they can also be immensely valuable for understanding the digital space. A cybersecurity audit can help make sure your systems are fortified against threats and properly protecting sensitive customer and inventory data. Cyber attacks are costly affairs, often totaling in the millions for larger companies. The more you can do to avoid a data breach, the better.
- Assessing third-party vendors: Are your contractors up to par? Are they delivering the quality of work they promised at a rate consistent with the market? Logistics organizations often deal with dozens of outside vendors, which can result in a complicated web of invoices, reports and communications. Audits are useful for assessing which partners are performing well, in addition to whether they comply with audit schematics, government regulations and your company’s policies. Working with a noncompliant vendor could compromise the integrity of your products, or worse, the safety of your employees.
- Managing pests: Speaking of compromised products, nothing causes managers a headache quite like a pest infestation. Stored product pests are of great concern, since they can infiltrate packaging and cause contamination on a mass scale. Luckily, an auditor can look at combined data over a period of time to see where pests are showing up. This allows managers to make informed decisions about “problem areas” and act accordingly to stop pests in their tracks. Talk to your pest management provider to discuss the best ways to collect data and act upon it.
When it comes to running the most effective logistics operation possible, internal audits can be magnificent tools. Managers should consider implementing a regular audit to help keep up with warehouse inventory management, data protection, vendor assessment, managing pests and any other ongoing concerns.