How can you help your inventory team improve using digital technology? When it comes down to it, we should all focus on one question: How much inventory do we truly need to keep on the books to run a successful business?
An inventory team works best when it can ensure that they can find accuracy in the information and that they can adequately keep inventory that you need—in stock—when it’s needed. That means we are always trying to maintain a better quality of customer service, and make sure that we have enough raw materials to meet the needs of production.
Digital technologies include everything from a back-end record-keeping system to the barcode-scanning technology that identifies products. What we’re excited about is AI and predictive analytics. When it comes to reordering points with inventory, finding the correct answer is key. Inventory truth means that no matter what, you have a full 360-view of what’s available at any given time.
If done correctly, digital technology can also reduce the cost of labor, saving you a couple of hundreds on paper throughout the process, shoring up mistakes, as well as lowering costs for materials across the board.
The beauty of technology is, it helps to augment the operators in a facility by driving less cumbersome calculations. Let’s keep people focused on what they need to do, and when it comes to inventory accuracy and improving that efficiency, let’s use the most efficient solution there is.
We’re here to make sure that inventory is tracked effectively. If we can build a better mousetrap without having to miss any steps accounting for materials going in or out of the facility, let’s build it. To do that, barcode scanning is almost a necessity.
Barcodes can be used for large chunks of inventory coming in through receiving by scanning license plates and using advanced ship notice technology. Everything is tracked out the door, ensuring that things are barcoded properly and scanned as they leave the facility.
Once you have accurate information, you can use technology to drive all kinds of processes. Where do you put the product as it’s coming in the door? Don’t sweat it. The best systems can place overstock, or even fill empty primary bin locations. The more trust you have in your system, the more efficient that system is going to improve the process and costs.
Another area companies can see big improvements in dealing with fast-paced responsiveness to primary pick requests. In essence, you can circumvent the priority list of pick requests, and throw the highest priority right to the top, so that it’s worked on immediately. We’ve all seen it, but if you’re handling your picking priority by paper or some other means of communication, it’s a lot more cumbersome and slow.
Know what you want.
Do you want a system that directs pickers to the correct location in real-time based on inventory levels? Who doesn’t? Systems can be set up where if the primary location for that product is depleted, it can immediately start driving traffic to the next available location for goods. Problems become a lot more manageable with the right solution.
When it comes to inventory optimization, your system should be able to look at reorder points, and determine the number of units needed to create and retrigger replenishment purchasing from vendors, and call it a day.
If you’re looking for the next best thing, a system should be able to understand order quantities and the number of units that should be reordered based on that reorder point and the amount of stock on hand, and the amount of stock that’s on order. At the same time, focusing on lead time and the number of units that will be sold during said lead time. The accuracy of forecasting is very important.
So to summarize, digital technology aims to improve the balance between too much—and too little inventory. It’s about tracking inventory the picking, and packing, and shipping. As goods are being transported between locations, receiving items into a location to ensure that people are aware of where that product just makes sense. Common sense. And when it’s available for fulfilling orders as soon as possible, of course, being able to accurately optimize that process using real-time records of inventory that are available.
Of course, keeping track of those sales and inventory levels means you can start to replenish and drive the analytics so that the technology makes the decisions to help maximize the efficiency of an inventory team. We’ve been building that tech. We’ve been making it better. We think you deserve it.
WithoutWire. Without question.
WithoutWire is a cloud-based inventory management service that brings science to barcode scanning for field techs, manufacturers, or warehouse pickers. Within minutes, you can set up your personalized environment.
With our embedded Microsoft Power BI and SQL reporting services, you’ll get views of your activity from nearly any device and form factor, including iOS or Android-based smartphones, tablets, and rugged purpose-built scanning devices.
WithoutWire Inventory Management solutions are without equal. Want to explore this topic further? Check out our related podcast!