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Understanding the Difference Between Warehouse and Inventory Management

Understanding the Difference Between Warehouse and Inventory Management

Though similar, inventory and warehouse management present subtle yet important differences that can benefit your operations. By understanding the differences, you can leverage both systems to expand crucial operational visibility for current demand and future changes. That’s why we’ve taken the time to explore the benefits of each.

What is Inventory Management?

Inventory Management

Inventory management involves regulating stock levels to meet customer demands.

Inventory management involves regulating stock levels to meet customer demands. Focused more on inbound stock, inventory management helps your team track and sort materials to drive down storage costs and maximize inventory turnover. 

Compared to warehouse management, inventory management is simpler to operate since it focuses on one part of your overall warehouse operations. A quality inventory management system combines both adaptable hardware and intelligent software to:

  • Verify received stock
  • Conduct inventory control
  • Perform cycle counts and price checks 
  • Prevent surprise out-of-stocks
  • Notify if and when items are in stock

While inventory management doesn’t inherently require digitization, automated data capture can help preserve accuracy within your system. To eliminate manual data entry, ValuTrack recommends enterprise-grade handheld devices such as Zebra’s rugged scanners, which can connect to your inventory management system while capturing multiple codes at once. To explore Zebra’s complete family of rugged scanners, download our brochure here.

What is Warehouse Management?

Warehouse Management

Unlike inventory management, warehouse management involves large-scale oversight of your whole warehouse

Unlike inventory management, warehouse management involves large-scale oversight of your whole warehouse operation from inventory, to workforce productivity, to supply chain communication, and beyond.  As a result, warehouse management focuses on outbound transactions to keep products moving smoothly down the supply chain. 

As a more complex system, warehouse management normally requires both hardware and software to yield noticeable results, yet when implemented successfully, it can:

  • Locate inventory within the warehouse for faster order fulfillment
  • Connect to your ERP and reporting systems 
  • Provide specific data into inventory status (storage temp, demand, price fluctuations)
  • Diffuse actionable insight throughout your workforce to better respond to sudden changes

To help limit the number of mobile devices your workforce carries, ValuTrack recommends streamlining key functionalities such as WMS accessibility, scanning, and workforce connectivity through one mobile device. Rugged mobile computers like the MC9300 allow your workforce to interact with your warehouse management system in real-time while merging data capture and connectivity onto a user-friendly interface to preserve worker comfort. 

Which one should I optimize first?

Inventory Optimization

Which Inventory Optimization is best for you?

Since inventory management fits within your warehouse management system, it makes sense to revisit this tool first; however, for issues unrelated to inventory, revising your warehouse management system may be more applicable. To see how you can modernize your operations, contact us today for a free assessment of your workflows. For more information on the differences and benefits, reach out to us at 877-484-8187 or [email protected].