Managing auto parts can be an uphill climb for many warehouses, manufacturers and suppliers. Every car or accessory is made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of different parts and components, many of which may look nearly identical. A single car has about 30,000 parts, including everything all the way down to the smallest screws.
As the owner or manager of an auto parts facility, you should regularly update and inspect your inventory to make sure you have an accurate count. From product pulling to counting and quality assurance, use these tips to improve your approach to auto parts inventory management:
Focus on Proper Training
Your facility is only as good as its employees. Your workers should be able to find what they need as quickly as possible when locating items on the shelf. Labeling and product tagging can help with product identification, but it’s usually faster to have your workers recognize the product using their eyes. They should be able to distinguish similar looking products, such as screws, caps, nozzles, cables and other essential components, without second-guessing themselves.
Focus on training new personnel on the subtleties of these products. Point out identifying features that they can use to quickly recognize products on the shelf.
Keep Inventory Visible
Your workers can’t identify the products on the shelf unless they are in full view. That’s why it’s best to use containers that keep your inventory as visible as possible without putting them in harm’s way. Utilize industrial wire baskets with openings on the sides, so your workers can easily see the contents. They also come with wheels, which makes it easy to cart them around. Your team can use them to put misplaced items back on the shelf for a more accurate count.
Wire baskets will help you save time when conducting walk-throughs and inspecting your inventory. Workers can quickly count the contents and inspect goods for damage as they make their rounds.
You can also use plastic totes and shelves with drop-down openings to store small items, such as screws, bolts and nuts. Stack these totes on top of each other for better space utilization. Try propping up inventory to keep it within view.
Distinguish Your Inventory
Visibility matters but that doesn’t mean you have to put all your inventory in the same kind of container. If all your containers look alike, your workers may have trouble distinguishing one product from another. Use different colored totes and containers to help your team visually navigate the workplace. You can assign certain colors to different types of products for faster retrieval times and less confusion.
Keep Inventory Secure
Having an accurate count doesn’t matter if some of your goods are damaged. Your facility should do everything it can to protect these parts and components from everyday wear and tear, including leaks, sudden changes in temperature, dust and other potential hazards. Most modern vehicles include sophisticated technology, including semiconductors, sensors, cameras and built-in computers.
Use metal storage bins to keep metal and sensitive parts safe from harm. You can ship and store these parts for long periods of time without worrying about damaging your inventory. Fill containers to the brim to prevent items from moving around during transit.
Avoid Costly Delays When Shipping
Your facility is just one piece of the global automotive supply chain. Every company relies on suppliers and retailers when moving their inventory. Your inventory management will suffer if some of your products are delayed.
Use heat treated wooden crates to keep your inventory secure on the road. They provide the maximum protection while fitting to exact dimensions of your inventory. Heat gets rid of wood-borne pests that can lead to infestation. The crates are designed to move seamlessly through customs and inspections so your goods are delivered on time.
Use These Tips to Keep Track
There are so many auto parts moving around in today’s automotive industry. Use these tips to make sure you always know how many items you have in stock.