Warehouse and Inventory Transfer 101: Definition & How-to

When an online business matures, it’s not unusual for inventory to be transferred from one location to another in order to meet demand.

It’s impossible to overstate the significance of warehouse management in e-commerce fulfillment. Warehouse management is crucial because it assures that products leave your distribution centers on time, reach customers when they need them, and are delivered at the right moment.

If not done correctly, transferring goods between warehouses may leave a warehouse management team overwhelmed. And while inventory transfers are helpful in managing storage and demand, there are methods to avoid them for a more efficient supply chain.

We’ll take a look at what inventory transfers entail, when they’re appropriate, and how to go about conducting one in order to minimize fulfillment delays in this post.

What is an inventory transfer?

To put it another way, an inventory transfer entails moving products from one place to another, whether it’s a rented warehouse, a distribution center, or a fulfillment facility managed by a 3PL partner.

To boost on-hand amounts at shops with high demand, many companies execute inventory transfers to make sure orders are delivered quickly and affordably to consumers.

How to transfer inventory in 5 steps

E-commerce firms frequently split inventory across numerous fulfillment centers to expand their market and serve more customers.

Even if you have two warehouses, you’ll almost certainly need to manage inventory transfers. Fortunately, it’s a simple procedure that only takes five steps.

1. Plan your inventory transfer

The first step is to recognize when a transfer of inventory makes the most sense.

Here are some reasons: 

  • In a certain area, the inventory levels are low or out of stock
  • At a certain place, demand is anticipated to increase
  • The channel needs to be changed in order for you to sell your inventory on that channel
  • A warehouse closure is either temporary or permanent

Then, after you’ve established your shipping schedule, get started on inventory planning by counting the things and quantities that need to be sent.

When all is said and done, you’ve got an excellent foundation for a more fantastic inventory management program.

2. Inventory transfer request

After the transfer is authorized, you must submit a formal request to the inventory manager at the new warehouse. You are almost certainly in command of deciding what goods will be kept where if you hire a warehouse.

However, in most circumstances, you’ll probably hire a 3PL to handle several warehouses. This allows you to send a comprehensive list of all the material and equipment that will be required for your job. You’ll need to deliver an inventory, certification of origin, packing slip, purchase order or invoice from the 3PL company (if applicable) with your shipment documents.

Whatever the case may be, you must ensure that there is adequate storage space at the alternate location to fulfill your needs.

The inventory transfer may take place at any time, day or night. The following are some of the factors to consider when performing an inventory transfer:

  • Source warehouse information
  • The destination warehouse
  • Item names and SKU numbers
  • Unit of measure (UOM)
  • Quantities that need to be transferred
  • Stock request number

3. Execute transfer

The picking team in the receiving location will start searching for your items as soon as they receive the transfer request approval. The inventory scanner is used to read the serial numbers of the products after they’ve been picked.

By now, the sending warehouse’s inventory of inventory units has been depleted.

After that, the goods is packed and sent to the recipient via internal transportation, a shipping carrier, or freight partner.

To guarantee that the products in transit arrive on time, UPS Tracking is also accessible.

4. Receive and store product

The staff at the final fulfillment center will verify that the delivered goods are correct based on the information contained in the delivery slip. This is standard procedure for any warehouse receiving process, whether it’s inventory from a vendor or an internal stock transfer.

When the cargo is scanned, a receipt is issued, and the items are properly stored away, it’s done.

The physical stock will be stored in bins, shelves, and racks based on an inventory storage system that is appropriate for your company.

If your inventory management system is linked to your warehouse management system, you should be able to tell when items are ready to be delivered.

5. Always double check

To complete a successful inventory transfer, it’s critical to have good visibility on the stock. Confirm the following:

  • Did the correct warehouse location receive products?
  • Is this the correct number of transactions?
  • Were any of the products damaged when they were delivered?

The easiest approach to verify whether a transfer of inventory was successful is to keep track of the movement and use inventory management software to automate this process.