Improve Inventory Locations With Effective Labeling


Proper inventory management depends on knowing the best place to put inventory, and being able to easily locate it.  Far too many businesses deposit their inventory in places that are inadequately labeled, or lack clear means of identification. This is especially unfortunate since labeling inventory locations can be done quite easily, with a little proper planning and the use of labels.

Inventory Storage Areas: Knowing What Goes Where

Location names don’t need to be (and indeed should not be) complicated.  Planning out how to name inventory locations takes into account existing factors in the facility, such as physical structure, layout, and conventions that are already in use.  When coming up with the proper designation for inventory locations, here are a few general factors to consider:

  • Provide location names to as many physical spaces in the facility as possible, even those that are unoccupied or not in use.  In fact, whenever possible, every location in the establishment should be provided with proper labeling.
  • Make use of unique names or terms. No two locations should be referred to by the same terms.
  • Location labels should display the full name of the location, with arrows pointing in the direction of that area.

Group Locations Accordingly.  Inventory operations that involve large and/or several facilities would require adequate grouping or zoning conventions for quality control. Managing large or multiple storage areas will require dividing the location into smaller spaces, which will then be labeled accordingly.  These areas should be labeled in ascending numerical order, starting from the uppermost area going down to the lowest, moving from left to right.

It is key to match the labeling scheme with how inventory reports print out, with the data including both inventory locations and the items that need to be stored in those areas. With this scheme, individuals tasked with inventory checks and maintenance can perform their tasks in a single, orderly fashion.

Section Labels. Break down specific locations further into sections. Maintain a consistent method of designating these sections, to ensure that they can be located quickly and easily.

Detailed Location Names. It is a good practice to name locations within a section using numbers.  Again, follow an ascending numerical order starting at the highest location (the top most shelf, for instance), going down towards the floor.

Provide Clear, Easy-to-Read Labels.  Make sure to use labels that are easy to distinguish and identify.  Labels that don’t clearly state which location they’re referring to (no arrows when they are needed), or with poorly-printed letters (too small, do not contrast against backgrounds, etc) defeat the purpose of using of labels in the first place. Instead of simplifying day-to-day tasks, inadequate labels will slow down operations and cause shipping delays and errors.  These in turn will result in wasted time and effort as well as loss of revenue.

Locations in a facility should be properly designated and appropriately labeled. The potential cost of labeling is quite small compared to what can happen when items are lost as a result of mix-ups.  Using the proper labels for identifying inventory locations saves time, streamlines inventory management, and improves overall business procedures.

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