Firearms inventory accuracy is a necessity for firearms manufacturers and distributors. Not only can mistakes be costly, but inventory errors can mean ATF noncompliance.
These five tips can help you improve profitability and ATF compliance:
Tip #1: Automate your warehouse.
Automated warehouses use barcode scanners, warehouse management systems, and other tools to log goods into the warehouse and log them out again during fulfillment. Such systems reduce the amount of manual errors that can occur by failing to count items, mistaken counts, and mistakes during data entry.
Tip #2: Add structure to the process.
If your warehouse doesn’t have a structured process for receiving orders, picking, packing, and shipping, you are leaving your inventory process to chance. You can reduce mistakes and close gaps in the system by creating a structure and process that details each step for your employees. Make sure that the process is in writing, and train your employees on each step in the process. Don’t leave it to your employees to create the steps in the process or you will end up with many, perhaps competing, processes in place.
Tip #3: Reduce the number of steps in order fulfillment.
Another area that can be problematic for many companies is that the number of steps it takes to fulfill orders is so lengthy and complicated that employees can’t remember them easily. Any process with more than a handful of steps is open to mistakes. Spend some time in the warehouse working alongside your team to actually see what’s working and what isn’t. Then, update the process, reducing redundant steps and making it simple and effective.
Tip #4: Set a baseline to measure improvement.
You may have heard from employees that there are “many” mistakes being made in the shipping process. Just how many mistakes qualify as “many?”’ Whenever you can, quantify the situation and set a baseline so that you will know for certain whether improvements you make are having the desired effect.
Tip #5: Integrate your inventory system with electronic bound book software.
FFL’s have the additional burden of keeping track of acquisitions and dispositions in an ATF bound book. When you use electronic bound book software, like Easy Bound Book, that is integrated with your inventory system, you can eliminate the need for data entry. Seamless inventory and customer information between the systems will minimize errors.