Times are changing and everyone is talking about the digital revolution. From automated processes to advanced algorithms and everything in between, technology is the new ‘thing’ in inventory management and if you’re not on board with it, you might get left behind.
Inventory management can be simplified to mean managing stock levels, sourcing materials, and finished goods. It involves a precise balance of housing the right stock and the right levels to fulfill orders while limiting extra costs. Inventory management software revolutionized how businesses could improve stock level accuracy and create work orders, bill of materials, and other production documents.
Many businesses store inventory, whether its parts or finished goods, at different warehouses. Managing inventory levels and determining the most effective location for the items is complicated. Inventory is an asset too, so it has to be valued and recorded accurately on a balance sheet. Compliance issues also play a role in inventory management for public companies. Public companies have an added pressure of full transparency of their inventory management efforts, including compliance documentation and inventory transaction disclosures.
Thousands of unique parts. Quote-to-order processes. Lead time management. The manufacturing or assembly process. Shipping considerations. When you consider that inventory management must account for so many areas of a company, it’s understandable that manual processes quickly became a challenge to scale a business.
Upgrading your inventory management system does not have to be difficult or expensive.
These simple steps will help you hone in on what matters to your organization, what value a new system will deliver, and how to calculate ROI.
SCANNING TECHNOLOGY MEANS FASTER ENTRY AND MORE ACCURATE DATA
Barcode technology transformed inventory management efforts in the 1970s, and technology continues to accelerate processes even further. The newest breakthrough in inventory management? Mobile apps that turn a smartphone or tablet into a scanning device. Before mobile scanning, items would be entered into paperwork, verified, and then left on the desk of the person who entered these receipts into a system – sometimes days later. Paperwork could be easily lost or misfiled, contributing to the out-of-date inventory numbers present in the software system. Now mobile apps eliminate the need for multiple scanners and put the power of data into the hands of shop floor employees. Mobile scanning also creates a live inventory count.
GLOBAL MARKETS BOOST ECOMMERCE
The pandemic fueled a huge increase in eCommerce, which led to more shipping and a need for higher outputs from manufacturers. This boost in buying spurred growth among many manufacturing companies, and such growth has necessitated new system implementations, system upgrades, and tools that help manage inventory. As businesses struggle to scale to meet capacity, managing parts and shop floor processes become vital to profitability. Sustaining greater output and strong profit margins is essential to positive economic growth. Many manufacturing companies are looking at their growth projections and realizing that prioritizing projects based on real-time inventory data achieves the best results.
THE FUTURE IS DIGITAL
In this new technological age, known by some as the fourth industrial revolution, data and analytics are becoming essential tools. Machine learning models, fueled by historical data, can identify buying patterns, anomalies, and other behaviors. As more data is added and evaluated, these smart functions become even more accurate.
With remote work becoming a new reality, accessing data outside of the office is vital to keeping forecasting estimates up to date. With more of the workforce moving to remote or hybrid business models, greater amounts of work are completed off-site than ever before.
HOW TO CHOOSE A SYSTEM
Choosing the right inventory management systems depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. You can define your business needs, set a budget, and work with a few companies to gather quotes. Implementation and the training offered is also an area that needs to be looked at. If your current staff is not technologically savvy, they may need additional help and most companies can accommodate extra training.
BEZLIO HELPS PRIORITIZE PROJECTS AND KEEP MANUFACTURERS MANUFACTURING
Manufacturing companies know the value of keeping their machines running to optimize output. Therefore, prioritization of manufacturing projects has to be based on accurate, real-time data in order to be effective. Companies are driven to keep costs down and project capacity levels high. Supply chain status, cash management, defect identification, and mature products all need to be taken into consideration when prioritizing projects. But data is the key component to visualizing all of these factors at once.
Bezlio is a company that not only adds mobile capabilities to mid-sized manufacturing companies, but also covers warehouse management capabilities to increase inventory accuracy. Bezlio’s products enable faster transaction entry and simplify cycle counts resulting in more accurate forecasting, better inventory planning, and cost containment. Additionally, Bezlio records transactions like material movements, material-to-work orders, receiving purchase orders, and receiving finished goods into real-time inventory. Using barcode scanning, Bezlio products record these transactions in real-time using a smartphone or tablet as a scanning device, which speeds up the process and ensures better accuracy by removing accidental keystrokes.
Technology advances led to better inventory management system capabilities resulting in faster data entry, better quality control, and more precise inventory tracking. Additionally, features have been added to many inventory management systems that also allow for mobile access to data in remote locations. What this means is field teams, buyers, and salespeople within your organization can access inventory data in the field. Mobile solutions help remote teams close deals faster and with greater transparency with reliable delivery dates.
Bezlio collects data via two-way integration and adds drop-in solutions, providing increased speed and accuracy.
Cycle counts benefit from real-time data and automation delivered with inventory management systems. The cycle count process has always been extremely manual leaving room for a lot of errors. Barcode technology removes the human error factor and builds quality, real-time data that can be used for project prioritization. Bezlio uses a simple interface that speeds up the cycle count process and automates many of the functions. For example, with Bezlio, users open the cycle count bezl from a phone or tablet, click “new count” or a “recount” and then enter the count ID corresponding to the one set up in their ERP data. If you barcode, employees scan the code to begin – much less room for error, much faster, and your data is captured in real-time.
Next, employees scan the product ID from the barcode displayed on the rack system, shelving or other location. Then it’s a simple matter of counting the items and entering the result in the app. When all lines in the count have been scanned, hitting “submit” pushes the information to the Epicor system automatically, no manual keying into the ERP required. Not only does that process involve fewer steps, but most of them deliver significant efficiency improvements, like barcode scanning. Each step takes less time than it does when working with paper and the results are more accurate. win-win.
Do your field teams need better access to ERP data? Contact Bezlio today and we can begin customizing a mobile ERP solution to address your business challenges. You can also visit the Resource tab on our website to see how Bezlio is already adding value to companies like yours.