- Regular warehouse audits are important for ensuring optimal operations as well as safety.
- The warehouse audit checklist includes safety protocol, inventory, receiving, shipping, and storage.
- Following up on the findings and recommendations from the audit is essential for implementing improvements and achieving better results.
A warehouse is a center of constant activity, bustling with inventory, shipments, warehouse managers, and staff moving all around. As there is so much going on, inefficiencies or hazards may go unnoticed at times, leading to potential losses and even accidents. As per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were around 5,333 workplace fatalities in 2019 in the US. Hence, warehouse audits play an important role in the retail industry.
But first, you should get ready with the checklist while conducting a warehouse audit. How? This blog will help you understand various warehouse audits with the checklist and templates. It will help you understand how you can conduct the audits and improve your overall warehouse operations by making the necessary implementations. So, let’s dive deep into this topic.
Table of Content
What are Warehouse Audits?
A warehouse audit is a detailed inspection of the stockroom’s physical and systematic operations. The audit is launched to identify issues with compliance, potential risks, and inefficiencies. Auditing the facility is essential as it helps ensure smooth operation and proper organization of the warehouse.
Warehouse Audit Checklist: 7 Main Things That can’t be Missed
As there are so many methods you can use to audit your warehouse, you must not miss out on the main checklist. The below steps and key points will help you perform the audit correctly:
1. Gather audit requirements
The primary focus of auditing a warehouse may differ based on your company’s goals and needs. A business that sells big, bulky items may prioritize optimizing their warehouse design and material handling. Whereas, a company selling perishable goods will focus on auditing temperature and storage conditions in their warehouse.
2. Monitor warehouse operations
You must keep an eye on the warehouse employees, order fulfillment, inventory procedures, quality control, and other warehouse equipment like forklifts. This will help you ensure safety compliance standards and highest efficiency of your systems. You must also ensure that you stay alert about OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations. Safety warehouse processes should always be your priority.
3. Maintain inventory count
Accurate inventory count is important to ensure a smooth running of the inventory system. You can audit warehouse inventory by matching the available quantities with the mentioned in your inventory management software. You can track any discrepancies in your inventory with this inventory tracking analysis. These inventory records will help you investigate any related issues further.
4. Interact with staff members
Your warehouse employees are the key to any information regarding inefficiencies, as they are running daily operations in your warehouse. So, you should utilize your time in interacting with them as much as possible. You may find many answers about any policies not being followed and make continuous improvement with the available data.
5. Analyze inventory data
A warehouse management system will help you manage your routine operations and conduct inventory data checks. Make sure that you use these properly to analyze wastage, fraud, regular transactions, and customer feedback. Checking these details is necessary for your audit and helps you remain clear about any issues arising in your warehouse.
6. Work on audit results
After completing your audits, you can use the data to identify the operations and policies that need changes within your warehouse space. Moreover, warehouse managers can use the data to make relevant improvement suggestions that can boost productivity and efficiency. Working with the analysts will help you evaluate results and present the data to key stakeholders.
7. Fix the recurring problems
After you have carried out the above checks and collected all the data, you must formulate a plan to implement the changes. Discuss with your team and make the changes. The first part of the transition is noting down the concerning areas and problems that need fixing. Next, you can start resolving these issues by taking the required permissions from your stakeholders.
Now, as you know warehouse audits are required on a weekly basis, you should perform it after a few weeks or months. To reduce your workload, we have a checklist template ready in the next section.
Examples of Audit Checklist Templates
We have shared warehouse audit example templates you can use in your audit to make it easier for you. To be clear, you can keep multiple choice answers as below:
Q. Are inventory security measures properly followed?Yes No ______
You can use the below templates in your warehouse audits. Feel free to change them or add new ones as per your requirement.
Questions regarding inventory audit:
- Is the inventory management system working precisely?
- How is the inventory organized and labeled?
- Are proper procedures followed for inventory count?
- Are there any expired or damaged items in the inventory?
Additional warehouse related questions:
- Is the warehouse space effectively utilized?
- Are the housekeeping standards properly met?
- Is the staff conducting regular equipment inspections?
- Is there enough supply of personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Are all the training materials and manuals up-to-date?
- How is equipment handling and storage evaluated?
Safety compliance protocols:
- How is the compliance with OSHA regulations analyzed?
- Is the warehouse adhering all the local, state, and federal laws?
- How is the compliance evaluated for industry-specific standards?
- Is the team following environmental regulations?
- What is the evaluation process for safety protocols and signage?
Other operational questions:
- Are employee skills and training sessions reviewed regularly?
- Are all the staff members following the company policies and guidelines?
- Are the employees following the appropriate communication standards?
- How are the receiving and shipping processes evaluated?
- Is the order tracking and fulfillment process accurate?
- Is the warehouse management system (WMS) properly functioning?
Upper – A Compatible Software for Managing Your Warehouse Operations
To take your warehouse management a notch higher, you must automate your route planning tasks. Thankfully, we have Upper Route Planner, a powerful software that helps schedule driver routes quickly. If you are handling last mile delivery, Upper is right here to create the fastest delivery routes so that your drivers can reach their destinations on time.
As a warehouse manager, it is also important to keep record of all the operations for future reference or make improvements. With the help of “Analytics and Reports,” you can analyze your delivery drivers’ performance to ensure your delivery operations are running smoothly. You will also be able to download a PDF version of the report to track driver KPIs and train them if required.
Moreover, with Upper’s advanced route scheduling, you not only improve outbound logistics processes, but also get best routes ready for your drivers so that they won’t waste time on the road. Even you can also prioritize deliveries, manage service time windows, and set driving preferences.
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It depends on many factors such as inventory volume, size of warehouse, and the frequency of transporting goods. Usually, you should run a warehouse audit on a quarterly basis. This will allow enough time to collect the data required to analyze performance and make improvements.
Here are some points that define warehouse audit benefits.
- Ensure that your warehouse is more sustainable
- Have the relevant data on various operations
- Minimize costs and streamline processes
- Avoid or resolve issues with equipment or other operations
Anyone from the internal staff including warehouse managers, safety officers, or quality control managers can conduct a warehouse audit. Alternatively, you can also hire a third-party professional with the right expertise to conduct the audit.
Some commonly found safety hazards that are observed during a warehouse audit are:
- Improperly stacked items
- Unsecured loads
- Obstructed aisles
- Inadequate lighting
- Missing safety equipment
The time duration of finishing a warehouse audit varies as per the warehouse size, the complexity of inventory, and how it is done. Normally, a detailed audit takes a couple of days to be completed.
We understood that doing regular warehouse audits helps us identify the areas of improvement and ensure smooth running of operations. By focusing on your requirements and following the above guidelines, you will be able to perform warehouse audits easily. Beside audits, you must take care of your daily warehouse operation. In this case, there is no better way to do so than using the advanced software.
Relieve your burden and get a competitive edge with the help of a smart route planner like Upper. The route planner is capable of blowing away your routing hassles with its array of routing features. It lets you analyze the delivery performance via summary reports as well. The reports can then be utilized to analyze your crew performance for transporting goods from warehouse to end users. Impressive! Isn’t it? Try our 7-day free trial to get firsthand experience.