In our last blog, we talked about how automated inventory management can lead to increased profits. Let’s take a closer look at how warehouse automation can improve inventory management.
Inventory management is a straightforward, simple process. You mark goods in your warehouse and cross them off when they leave. Well, it would be simple if you had one product, only a few customers and nothing ever changed. Today, your warehouse may consist of thousands of SKUSs, multiple bin locations and hundreds of orders per day.
In fact, inventory management can be a very complex job. That’s why a good warehouse management system needs to start with the best data and smoothest process possible. Warehouse automation will ease the pain of complex systems and help you improve your business.
Inventory Management Married to Big Data Equals Smart Business Planning
Once you have your inventory data, it’s of no use to anyone unless it’s married to other data streams. These data inputs, when run through an ERP system like Sage 100 can provide you with actionable insights that you can use to build your business.
Some insights that you can gain from better data management and inventory data include:
- Improved inventory accuracy by reducing manual data input and updating stock counts automatically
- Elimination of redundant orders
- Reduction in excess inventory
- Proactive planning to reduce overstocks and shortages
- Improved demand forecasting
- Reduction in “stale” or old inventory, especially in industries in which FIFO is important.
Steps to Improve Inventory Management
There are four simple yet proven methods of better inventory management that you can use to increase profits and reduce costs. These include:
- Maintain accurate and timely records: Both accuracy and immediacy are necessary for manufacturers to control inventory costs. You need to know your stock count now, not yesterday or last week, in order to provide accurate information to customers and suppliers. Automating your warehouse processes and data retrieval can enhance both accuracy and timeliness of data.
- Proactive planning: Once you have inventory data, you can begin to see patterns and trends that lead to better predictive ordering. The better you get at proactive planning, the better you can fulfill orders and keep customers satisfied.
- System improvements: It’s not a “once and done” process. ERP systems and inventory management together can help you spot areas for improvement. Steady, incremental improvement makes your business more competitive and effective.
- Reducing fixed overhead costs: Maintaining warehouse space can be expensive. Between leases, building maintenance, energy costs and more, the fewer you need, the better. When you can predict inventory levels with greater accuracy, and process your inventory more efficiently, you no longer need to keep as many items in stock. You can reduce the amount of inventory space needed and save on fixed costs.
The more complex your warehousing needs, the more complex the inventory control and ERP system requirements. But implementing one or both can, in the long run, save your company a great deal of time and effort while improving profitability. As your company becomes more efficient, the cost savings can be channeled into other projects that can grow your business.
Sage 100 Warehouse Automation Tools from Scanco
Better inventory management requires better data. Better data comes from efficient and accurate data collection and inventory tracking systems. Warehouse automation using handheld mobile devices that can be used on the warehouse floor increase efficiency. With these mobile devices, you can automatically enter new inventory, direct picking efforts, count inventory, prepare shipping labels and more. Seamless integration with your ERP removes error-prone data entry and saves time.