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  • Electrical   |  Barcoding   |  Inventory Management
  • Enhancing Inventory Visibility for the Electrical and Electronics Manufacturing Industry

    Written by Dustin Caudell
    Wed, May 06, 2020

    Overview

    • Many companies in the industry rely on unsustainable, manual data collection processes, creating a gap in inventory visibility.
    • Modern automation technologies, like mobile barcoding, are necessary to create real-time material visibility and control.
    • With mobile barcoding, companies can overcome challenges in distribution, manufacturing and compliancy.

    Companies in the electrical and electronics manufacturing industry need to replace unsustainable manual processes to stay competitive in today’s climate.
    Companies in the electrical and electronics manufacturing industry need to replace unsustainable manual processes to stay competitive in today’s climate.

    Electrical components permeate our modern lives. From the cell phone we carry, to the computer we work on, to the microwave we heat our lunch in—even if the average person only sees the device itself and not the complicated, tiny network of electrical parts supporting it.

    While commonplace in their use, keeping track of these high value, small electrical components can be an inventory management nightmare. Repeated errors can result in serious overhead costs, production delays and lost revenue. Many of these products are also used for other industries such as aerospace and defense, communications and high tech, which have strict traceability requirements.

    In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, electronic manufacturers, like others, need to boost under-staffed workforces with greater efficiency and productivity while reducing operating costs.

    To meet these challenges of today and stay profitable into the future, manufacturers must automate outdated inventory processes with technologies like mobile barcoding or risk getting left behind.

    The Problem: Lack of Inventory Visibility

    Using outdated methods to track your inventory through your enterprise keeps your team in the dark about crucial information and is time-intensive to manage. Inevitable human error and a lack of timeliness in recording and communicating data frustrates team members and reduces inventory visibility.

    On a global scale, the availability of 5G networks is spreading and in conjunction, our ability to support more IoT devices. As a result, the global manufacturing services market is expected to grow by $118.49-Billion from 2020-2024.

    This advancement will be supported by the electrical and electronics manufacturing industry.

    Challenges in Distribution and Manufacturing        

    High value, tiny electrical components need enhanced oversight measures to reduce overhead costs.
    High value, tiny electrical components need enhanced oversight measures to reduce overhead costs.

    Managers must be able to find and move inventory before it becomes a write-off. Electrical parts tend to be both high-value and time sensitive. Inventory starts depreciating soon after it comes off the production line, so it is important to ship it out quickly. For every minute, hour or day it sits on a warehouse shelf, your inventory is devaluing and your company is losing money.

    Some companies employ inventory management methods, such as FIFO or LIFO, to ship out or put into production the most sensitive items first and reduce depreciation costs. But even these methods are difficult to enforce manually, especially at fast-moving, high-volume operations.

    This can result in a snowball of inefficiencies and incurred costs, including:

    • Increased labor costs to validate stock levels with manual recounts.
    • Lost or misplaced inventory, causing production delays and depreciating stock.
    • Rushed shipping to replace out-of-stock inventory, driving up costs.
    • Customer orders shipped late or with inaccurate invoices, eroding profit margins and customer service.

    Challenges in Government and Contractual Compliance

    Electrical and electronics manufacturing cross over into other industries, such as aerospace and defense, communications and high tech. These industries tend to be highly-regulated, requiring granular oversight 365/24/7. But manual data entry and paper tickets can’t provide the high-quality data and end-to-end traceability this necessitates, risking contract cancellation or removal from consideration for renewal.

    The Solution: Modernize with Real-Time Inventory Tracking

    This inability to achieve the necessary and complete visibility into inventory is the reason why many companies are starting to embrace technologies to solve these challenges.

    One such technology is mobile barcoding, which lets teams view accurate, live data about even the smallest, most sensitive materials.

    Why Mobile Barcoding?

    Built on supply chain best practices, mobile barcoding lets workers access crucial business data at their point-of-work and in real time.
    Built on supply chain best practices, mobile barcoding lets workers access crucial business data at their point-of-work and in real time.

    Built on mobile data collection best practices, mobile barcoding extends your ERP onto mobile devices using a combination of barcoding software, hardware and mobile apps to automate manual processes.

    Workers can now scan, create and print barcodes at their point-of-work to transact against your ERP in real time, maximizing accuracy for inbound and outbound processes. Higher accuracy means workers can easily locate the high value, small or sensitive parts that need to be shipped to customers or put into production first.

    Ensuring Compliance and Traceability

    Mobile barcoding increases traceability and visibility to meet regulatory requirements. Maintaining compliance protects contracts from non-compliance penalties, non-renewal and cancellation.

    Using mobile barcoding technology with handheld scanners, transactions automatically create traceability paths in your system of record. If you need to respond to an audit or trace a recalled item, the movements or location of the items can be found in minutes. Finding the same information in a paper-based system could take weeks or months—if it is located at all.

    Case in Action: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, Inc.

    Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is a leading manufacturer of aerospace cable and wire. Their reliance on manual warehouse transaction processing caused frequent errors. Since they couldn’t trust inventory counts, they employed more workers to complete manual recounts. As a government supplier, the company also lacked the real-time traceability they needed to remain contractually compliant.

    After overhauling manual processes with a mobile barcoding solution, they:

    • Realized a 30% gain in receiving efficiency
    • Achieved 40% faster issuing material to the floor
    • Achieved 99% accuracy for raw materials

    Continue Reading: How Carlisle Boosted their Workforce with Added Efficiency and Accuracy »

    Stay Ahead of Tomorrow’s Challenges

    Companies in the electrical and electronics manufacturing industry must start thinking about inventory visibility and control in order to stay ahead of tomorrow’s challenges.

    With high-value, time-sensitive component manufacturing and complex inventory management needs, you can’t afford to rely on outdated, error-prone manual processes. In an industry characterized by relentless invention, like the rise of additive manufacturing and increasing availability of 5G networks, even the smallest inefficiency can have major downstream effects throughout your business.

    With a mobile inventory solution built on barcoding software, your workers can automatically capture data and transact against your ERP in real-time, even across the most technical warehouse, using simple, validated steps and intuitive mobile apps.

    By modernizing and mobilizing your inventory processes, your company can ride the current wave of uncertainty and secure opportunities for future growth.

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