Inventory management is a process that involves the identification, ordering, storing, and selling of products. Traditionally, it has been one of the most time-consuming jobs, with painstakingly repetitive tasks done manually. Manual inventory management led to inaccurate results, slow processing, and a lack of real-time product information.
With technological advancement, companies prioritize integrating complex and high-tech inventory management systems to adapt to changing business needs. It streamlines the whole process and makes it error-free and efficient. Additionally, it allows product tracking to know exactly where the product is in the warehouse.
Updating inventory details in data network systems helps to prevent inaccurate records from leading to product shortage or oversupply. Moreover, it ensures timely and fast deliveries, keeping customers happy and satisfied.
Evolution of Inventory Management
Managing inventory is a tedious task for retailers. Before automation, they had to do everything manually, which presented various challenges. In addition to being cost and labor-intensive, manual processing leads to inaccuracy, lack of scalability, and centralization. With the development of technology, businesses can simplify these processes to a great extent. Let’s learn more about how technological evolution helps companies achieve their goals efficiently.
Technology completely transformed the inventory management process by efficiently managing mass production. Punch cards came into use to cater to businesses’ increasing demand to speed up the process. With the help of these cards, companies keep track of ordered inventory and record inventory and sales data based on the punch cards filled out by customers.
As technology improved, the barcode system took the place of punch cards. Scanning products replaced manual product tracking, which is in practice to date. Using an inventory scanner as an all-in-one solution helps keep things organized and much more manageable, from tracking inventory effortlessly to the scan-to-print feature. This barcode-based inventory system that is industry-specific and purpose-built for retail and commercial settings comes with a wireless barcode scanner designed to automate the processes, thereby streamlining all the steps involved.
An inventory scanner is worth the investment considering the benefits it offers. It reduces the time taken by checking the products manually, which is a lifesaver in case you are stocking countless products. You can also ensure more control by leveraging inventory scanning technology and knowing exactly how many products are left and when to reorder the inventory.
Radio Frequency Identification
RFID technology uses microchips to transmit information about the product to a data collection device. This means manual data entry is no longer required, with barcode readers to read and update the data instantly. It keeps vendors updated about the actual inventory number with access to real-time sales data.
Technology can be crucial in growing your business and staying ahead of competitors. Here are some ways to simplify processes and increase efficiency by leveling up technology in your inventory management system:
1.Intuitive inventory management
Intuitive inventory management needs automation, where software alerts if something wrong happens. These alerts are beneficial if customized to your particular needs. It helps to simplify complex processes based on predefined pointers through proper planning and implementation.
2. Better control over the product cycle
An inventory management system manages the entire product order cycle from order placement to order fulfillment efficiently and effectively. Creating packing slips and printing labels in your desired format, converting sales orders into invoices, sending them through email, and tracking the status without hassle are all possible with the assistance of technology. This control improves customer retention by meeting error-free and timely deliveries.
3. Multi-channel syncing
It allows updating inventory stocked across multiple channels controlling shortages or overstocks. This gives you control of your product list irrespective of the locations or number of warehouses from where you can operate. It helps you to track your inventory across multiple sites in real-time, which is the most significant advantage. This way, you can sell anywhere while keeping your stock levels up-to-date.
4. Accuracy and efficiency
Accuracy is essential when it comes to inventory management. A simple mistake in managing stock, be it forecasting, or an inaccurate record, leaves your business vulnerable. So, maintaining proper inventory levels by eliminating human error is crucial to your business’s success, which is made possible with the help of technology.
In today’s fast-paced business world, you need to optimize your processes with a hands-off approach. This is made possible by automating procurement, inventory tracking, order fulfillment, stock levels, submitting purchase orders, and alerts to replenish the stock when it reaches a certain threshold. This optimization can turn complicated tasks into efficient processes with minimum effort and help you save time and money.
5. Valuable insights and data analytics
A tech-savvy inventory system involves collecting and analyzing data at a broader level, which helps upscale the business. Detailed insights into the data about inventory management are essential for various purposes. This allows making informed decisions based on accurate, real-time reports on inventory audits, stocks, backorders, price history, purchase history, and stock movement summary.
Data analytics help eliminate guesswork about the information regarding what is in stock, where it is coming from, and where it is going. It gives information about projected shortages or surpluses, product successes or failures, and customer buying trends. These analytics can be used to devise appropriate strategies to maximize profits.
Forecasting is the backbone of the inventory system. It is beneficial for businesses facing an influx of orders. Failure to forecast accurately leads to the loss of the entire company, leading to refunds, customer complaints, and negative reviews. The efficient use of technology can easily and quickly resolve these problems. Automating the flow of raw materials from procurement to the finished stage keeps you abreast of stocks and avoids piling up excessive inventory, resulting in obsolete stock.
It wasn’t easier to keep pace with the technological advances earlier. But now things have changed. Technological advancements have gained momentum, making customizing the inventory management system as per the unique needs of businesses much more accessible. All small or big companies can grow and scale up their business with custom-built systems without prohibitive costs.
8. Collaboration and coordination
With the help of technology, it’s easier to centralize all the online and offline data of suppliers, inventory sites, and customers in one place. This centralization allows staff to work from any location. This enables information sharing among different departments, thereby boosting collaboration and coordination.
Linking your products, sales channels, stock locations, orders, and workflows through a single automated system gives personnel the right tools to work effectively across multiple channels.
9. In-depth reporting
Reporting is an essential feature to be able to manage inventory in a better way. These detailed analytics give a clear picture of how much stock is available, which products are selling fast, category performance, and which products are just getting obsolete, being in the warehouse for a long time. The reporting tool provides reports on inventory totals and comprehensive product summaries.
Inventory management has come a long way, from tracking the stocks manually to highly integrated cloud-based solutions. From streamlining workflows and making informed decisions to helping increase profitability, technology allows you to cut down on inventory management tasks and gives you ample time to focus on core business aspects. So, manage your inventory across multiple channels, gain real-time insights, and help your business grow by integrating technology into your inventory management system.