As your business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult, if not entirely impossible, to manage your inventory manually. It’s critically important that items are listed and priced accurately so that shipments can continue moving through your distribution process and customers can continue to receive orders on time. Unfortunately, without the right tools in place, backordered items can lead to missed sales opportunities, customers buy items that you don’t actually have in stock, and warehouse staff start to feel the pressure of manually inputting inventory data into spreadsheets no one ever looks at. Enter: automated inventory control.
Automated inventory management systems use specialized software and technology to help you manage your entire stock in real-time while minimizing the effort necessary on the part of your employees. Originally used by retailers and distributors with big budgets, automated inventory technology has quickly become much more accessible for medium-sized supply chains in virtually every industry.
WHAT DOES AUTOMATED INVENTORY CONTROL LOOK LIKE?
Essential for many supply chain and warehouse operations, from product reordering and order processing to internal transfers and supplier relationship management, automated inventory control is now used to:
- Automatically determine reorder points and facilitate replenishment
- Collect and maintain records of stock transfers and order cycles
- Provide notifications and alerts about the dispatch of goods to and from multiple warehouse locations
- Generate documentation for any type of order, both international and domestic
- Determine the most cost-effective shipping rates and save time processing customer order deliveries
- Perform real-time inventory tracking tasks
Voice-directed picking, RFID and barcoding systems are still some of the most commonly used automated systems today. RFID in particular facilitates the verification of item identification information and enables shipping status, order fulfillment and other inventory updates. Additionally, conveyor systems are very effective at keeping products flowing throughout the warehouse without interruptions to picking, packing or shipping operations.
We’re also starting to see more advanced technologies integrated within warehouse management systems. These include solutions like robotics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). AI and machine learning are used for autonomous production planning, advanced data analytics is used for greater reporting transparency, and smart sensors present in location-based modules help with order tracking.
BENEFITS OF AUTOMATED INVENTORY CONTROL
Automation gives you the ability to gather more information faster and make smarter decisions for the future of your business. By getting rid of manual data entry and analysis altogether, you can also cut out all those phone calls and emails to staff to clarify missing or inaccurate data. And when it comes to dealing with raw materials, automatic stock replenishment limits waste so you no longer have to worry about expired goods or supply surpluses taking up valuable space on your shelves.
Automated inventory software should be able to integrate with your current ERP, point-of-sale, and other established systems, updating inventory levels at regular intervals and syncing orders with inventory data from every sales channel. For enhanced warehouse control, automated inventory management software can track your inventory in multiple locations — such as warehouses and store locations — at any point in your supply chain. This all adds up to greater growth potential and scalability.
HELP YOUR HUMAN TEAM
Minimize human intervention and errors and free up your human team for more important warehouse management tasks by automating many of the tedious, labor-intensive warehouse inventory processes. While physical inventory counting can still be done, ideally, they would have a secondary loss-prevention as opposed to the primary method of inventory control.
GREATER REAL-TIME DATA VISIBILITY
Inventory automation software will maintain a centralized data source containing all of your key inventory metrics and KPIs for more efficient data exchange with virtually zero data discrepancies. It sends/receives instant messaging notifications within the warehouse for stock level alerts and it can analyze sales data to help your team see which items are selling well and which items are clogging up your warehouse shelves.
HOW DATASCOPE WMS INCORPORATES AUTOMATED INVENTORY CONTROL
Whether your inventory consists of raw materials, finished products or work-in-progress (WIP) goods awaiting quality control, inventory automation software should integrate with all of your existing systems. DATASCOPE WMS software’s cloud-based, end-to-end software functionality allows manufacturers to have full control over their entire inventory, from the raw material receipts to the picking, packing and shipping of finished goods.
Our user-friendly, highly visual inventory control solution features comprehensive support for all types of barcodes, purchase order history tracking, and detailed management of bill of materials, product expiration dates and customer contacts. On top of that, the software contains dozens of inventory control modules, including:
- Inbound modules for inbound receiving, quality control, and supply chain transfers
- Outbound modules for picking, packing and checkout strategies, as well as stock reservation, invoicing and load planning
- Work-in-Progress (WIP) for job labeling, release, picking and receipting
- Stock taking, cycle counting and other warehouse transactions/movements
- Advanced reporting and a comprehensive instant messaging notification system for use within the warehouse
- RFID control in Kanban stock management environments
DATASCOPE WMS’s state-of-the-art software was made specifically for manufacturers and distributors. With customizable VB scripting for a number of fields, buttons and triggers, the additional functionality allows users to automate many of the inventory-related business processes, including label printing, pop-up warnings, automated emails to team members and customers, and much more.
DATASCOPE WMS is the foundation of any data-centric supply chain. To see how you can implement our inventory automation solutions in your supply chain, schedule a demo today.