Inventory management is the process of overseeing and planning the constant flow of materials and product going in and out of a facility. Managing inventory includes monitoring stock levels, reorder points, replenishment lead times, and ensuring that adequate inventory exists to meet customer demand.
Excess inventory can cause increased storage costs, waste, and underpriced selloffs to free up space and resources. Understocking, on the other hand, can create stockouts, lost sales, and reduced customer satisfaction. Effective inventory management ensures that the right stock is always available for customers to purchase. With supply chains constantly evolving and becoming more complicated, real-time inventory visibility adds high value to inventory management.
For example, when an order arrives at a small manufacturing company, real-time inventory visibility helps determine whether to accept or decline the order based on stock availability. Small companies often have unnoticed inventory sitting at a warehouse, resulting in lost sales or unnecessary stock purchases.
Large companies also benefit from real-time inventory visibility. Imagine a company with five warehouses distributed around the country. When an order comes in, staff can determine which location with available stock is closest to the destination to reduce shipping time and costs, providing an optimal customer experience.
Real-time inventory visibility begins with properly tracking inventory every time it is moved in, out, or within a facility. Today, companies use warehouse management systems or mobility solutions integrated with legacy inventory management systems.
What differentiates these two solution options? While warehouse management systems offer functionality other than real-time inventory tracking, mobility solutions are intended to only provide real-time inventory tracking in conjunction with existing software. This way, companies don’t need to purchase a complete WMS to enjoy mobility benefits if they already have a mobility system in place.
Mobility solutions represent an easy option for adding real-time inventory visibility and scalability. Mobility includes a scan feature to capture inventory data using mobile devices like RF scanners, smartphones, and tablets.
Users can navigate to forms that can be customized to include fields like item name, origin, destination, and quantity. After a form is completed via scanning or user entry, it is submitted, and data is automatically synced with other systems to provide real-time inventory visibility. Mobility solutions maintains real-time inventory view even when employees are on the move.
Reduce cycle-counting time
ABC classification is a cycle-counting method used to categorize inventory items based on their business importance. Mobility solutions allow an operator to scan, enter, and classify inventory items while walking around a facility, reducing cycle counting times from weeks to hours or days, depending on warehouse size.
Preventive understock measures
Real-time inventory visibility supported by mobility solutions can help identify and prevent potential understocks by communicating directly with a WMS. Mobility keeps inventory in a WMS current so users can set up an alert in the WMS to automate a replenishment order for specific stock levels. By leveraging mobility, companies are able to proactively take action to avoid stockouts and lost sales.
Adjust production and delivery time
Real-time access to inventory data can be shared across teams, for instance, between sales, procurement, and warehousing, to allow for efficient collaboration. Real-time data sharing reduces errors and miscommunication. By clearly understanding inventory levels, suppliers and vendors can adjust their production and delivery schedules to ensure timely product delivery.
Streamline receiving, put-away, and picking
As covered above, one mobility feature is the capability to capture any warehouse transaction on the go, removing the need for paper processes and for operators to leave the warehouse floor to enter data into a computer before moving to the next inventory item. Mobility solutions streamline receiving goods, put-away, and picking. Warehouses and distribution centers simply scan a QR code, enter inventory data into a form, and save. The information is instantly shown in the system, saving hours of running back and forth and reducing errors cause by manual processes.
Mobility solutions are typically user-based apps that connect to one platform. With mobility, companies can create reports at a company, warehouse, or individual level, track performance, and set realistic goals to allocate resources properly when managing stock.
Mobility adds real-time inventory visibility, reduces errors, and increases operations efficiency. Connect with us today to schedule a demo and add real-time inventory visibility through mobility.