Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

Warehouse Inventory Control

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Warehousing

Warehouse inventory control is an important aspect of a business’s supply chain. This week’s blog will determine how making small changes to develop your warehouse inventory control will result in improved warehouse efficiency in three key areas. These areas include; reducing the time spent physically looking for inventory, increasing inventory turnover, and warehouse capacity.

Locator System

The implementation of an accurate system that keeps a record of items that were ordered, received, put away, picked and shipped greatly improves your ability to manage your inventory. This will also aid in locating items, as well as, fulfilling orders in a timely manner. Below are a number of methods that will help in tracking your stock.


It is common for warehouses to start with storing product and keeping track of it by memory.


• Flexible storage system
• Low capital outlay


• This is inefficient in the circumstance of an absent employee, or in an employee’s resignation, as they take with them the knowledge of what is located where
• Inventory may dramatically increase to a level that no one can humanly keep track of it all

Fixed Location

Having fixed inventory locations within your warehouse allows you to have designated areas for certain groups of inventory. With every product having a designated area, inventory location is simplified.


• You can map out your warehouse with designated areas for particular inventory
• Its ensures the warehouse is organised
• Storing by certain traits means product can be found quickly
• Training new employees to find particular products is simplified


• This is not necessarily efficient for space especially when a certain product is out of stock
• Restocking can be time consuming as a product has a predetermined location

Zoned Putaway

This strategy is a hybrid of both the memory function and fixed location. This is where a product is assigned to the general area and the material handler finds an open slot to put the pallet away.


• This method has the flexibility of the memory storage method but is easier for locating a product


• This system still relies on memory
• When a storage slot is not available in a zone, an alternative location must be selected
• Searching for an empty location and a missing pallet can be inefficient when it comes to time and productivity

Random Putaway (Locator)

Similar to a memory storage system, however software is used to remember locations of inventory.


• Space is maximised
• Time spent searching for inventory is reduced
• Inventory management is a lot more efficient
• Maintain a balance between too much and too little inventory
• Control product obsolescence and spoilage


• Data entry hours are required
• Expensive to implement
• Complexity – new systems must be learnt in order to put it to use