Improving Inventory Oversight with Data Collection Software

Dustin Caudell
Thu, Jul 18, 2013

U.S. manufacturers have recently displayed signs that the struggling industry may be in the midst of a recovery. The Federal Reserve announced that manufacturing production increased over the past two months, The Associated Press reported. Manufacturing output across the nation has risen 1.8 percent during the last year. Although these marginal gains have not undone the damage wrought by a sluggish global economy and dwindling demand for American exports, the news outlet suggested that manufacturing production could continue its upward trajectory through the second half of 2013.

As production ramps up and inventories bulge, manufacturers will need to deploy reliable warehouse management systems to retain oversight across the supply chain. Barcode technology expert and Industrial Distribution magazine contributor Brian Sutter recently outlined the issues that can arise if a manufacturer fails to implement sound inventory management solutions, which included operational downtime, dissatisfied clients or consumers and wasted resources. Many of these costly consequences can be avoided by leveraging a barcode data collection system, as warehouse managers would then be able to monitor inventory and shipments with greater accuracy.

The Cost of Inventory Count Discrepancies
According to Sutter, inaccurate inventory levels present additional costs beyond the lost materials or products. For instance, if a manufacturing company does not have a sophisticated warehouse management program in place, employees will be forced to comb through inventory and manually catalog it. This would be an exceptionally time-consuming process, very likely requiring staff members to work overtime and causing payroll budgets to skyrocket. Furthermore, employees tasked with manual inventory management may not be able to focus appropriately on mission-critical duties, potentially resulting in operational inefficiencies and other performance issues.

This time-sink can be further exacerbated if personnel is asked to comb through warehouses to search for the lost inventory. It is entirely possible, however, for a count discrepancy to occur due to an employee mistakenly entering in a higher inventory count than what is actually present. Such a scenario would lead to business leaders wasting time and resources, tasking their employees to search for inventory that never existed in the first place. By deploying barcode data collection software, manufacturers can maintain an accurate count of their inventory levels and track the movement of individual units as they progress through the supply chain.

Sutter also argued that a robust warehouse management system can help organizations reduce unexpected costs resulting from overstocking products and wares. A state-of-the-art inventory software program will allow executives to look at past performance levels and determine the ideal number of materials or units needed to meet consumer or client demand. This way, manufacturers can eliminate their unnecessary inventory and free up warehouse storage space.

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