Technology aids businesses of all types every single day in a wide variety of ways. If you run a retail or wholesale operation or another type of business that needs to stock significant amounts of inventory, you should find that technology can help you to cut costs and save time and create other benefits for your organization.
Why not look for ways to use some or all of the technological tools and processes mentioned below?
Accessing Real-Time Data
With data such a critical tool today, it’s helpful to access plenty of real-time information about and to better inventory management. Having instant access to data about stock availability helps retailers and wholesalers manage inventory levels more closely and ensures that businesses have the details they need to keep their customers updated.
You can also use technology to collate to-the-minute information from multiple sales points in your organization. This will give you and your team better insights into consumer buying patterns and how they differ across your various brands, product categories, and distribution sites. This data will help you avoid buying too much of goods that don’t sell well or not increasing stock levels of popular items before stores run out. It also makes it quicker and easier to determine how much of each line to send to each location.
When you use real-time data in your business, you don’t have to constantly rely on time-consuming manual stocktakes, either, and you should find that auditing is less of a hassle. If you have a click-and-collect feature, you’ll also notice that picking and packing stock is more efficient because your systems and staff can see, ASAP, which location to source stock from to fulfill orders.
An essential part of inventory management is shipping goods, whether to you or from your warehouses or stores, etc. Happily, shipping is improving with the use of technology, so this side of the equation continues to become more manageable. For example, there’s less waiting around to get updates on where packages are and when items will arrive at your locations or a customer’s doorstep. Today, logistics vehicles get outfitted with gps tracking tools that improve routing and reduce the time it takes to get to destinations.
Also, inventory needs to arrive in the condition in which it left its departure point, no matter where it’s being sent. You might like to use impact record tech tools to alert drivers and other personnel to any changes in conditions that mean contents may be damaged or need more careful handling. Plus, comprehensive cold chain technologies are vital for food and drink, medications, and other items that must be kept within set temperature ranges. Temperature indicators help ensure that goods stay at the right temperature in transit, so you have less inventory wastage.
Tracking Items Via RFID
If you’re not already using radio frequency identification or RFID, as it is known, in your business to boost inventory management, you might want to change that. RFID tracking uses radio waves to transmit data about whatever item the microchip-fitted RFID tag is placed on, in conjunction with a reading device. The tag and reader don’t require a line of sight or physical contact, so data can be transmitted at a distance.
Today’s RFID tech is valuable because it helps businesses track the location of their inventory and other goods. Depending on your requirements, data can be a single serial number or multiple pages of information. You can then track parcels and identify them using model numbers, ID numbers, manufacturer identification, materials, ingredients, order numbers, and more.
Use the tech to find and monitor stock while it’s on shelves in your stores or warehouses, in transit, waiting to be loaded or unloaded or packed or unpacked, and at other times. Plus, when deliveries arrive, you can scan packages and get a read on which RFID tags are inside, thus reducing the amount of time it takes to check off goods against order paperwork. This tech makes finding items to pick and pack for orders quicker. Furthermore, you can locate pieces quickly if inventory happens to get stolen.
Robots are becoming more and more common in many settings around the world these days. In particular, though, increasing numbers of businesses use them in their warehouses to assist with inventory management. Autonomous robots can take over a lot of time-consuming and tedious functions, especially picking and packing ones, and leave more interesting and challenging tasks to human personnel.
Robots improve operational efficiency by transporting stock around locations and counting it for stocktakes. You don’t have to have a vast warehouse to make use of this type of product, either.
Robots are compact and can navigate small spaces well. They also operate effectively in extreme temperatures, often working in facilities that get as cold as minus 20- or 25-degree conditions, and thus save humans from shivering while working.
As you can see, it’s well worth using technology in your business to improve processes and cut costs. Test out which options work well for your organization, and keep updating your knowledge as technologies change.