• Inventory/Warehouse
  • Manufacturing

It’s Time to Digitally Transform Your Manufacturing Inventory Processes

Written by Michael Clark
January 24, 2019

In today’s fast-moving global economy, the ability to track inventory at scale in real time has never been more critical to operational and competitive success. Despite this, many companies are still leaning on outdated manual processes and legacy technology systems to track and manage materials.

Digitizing core manufacturing processes such as inventory control (materials management) helps maximize the productivity and efficiency of your workers.

Paper systems and spreadsheets leave room for errors in tracking and recording, and can result in either overproduction of product, missing material needed for a work order, or employee hours wasted tallying inventory when those same hours could be used on more rewarding tasks.

Technologies that help you manage materials accurately, efficiently and for pennies on the dollar are widely available. So what is holding your organization back from digitizing?

In this article, we’ll examine some of the challenges to digital transformation and look at what software can provide the solution.

Digital Inventory Management is Key to Digital Transformation

Nick Finhill, senior analyst at ABI Research, summed up the importance of digital inventory management and its role in manufacturing execution in an interview with MHL News. MHL used the fashion industry as an example.

Stores which have limited intelligence on the location and quantity of stock at the individual item level cannot expect to adequately serve their customers or successfully execute a competitive omnichannel retail strategy.

Digitizing inventory processes enable quantities and allocations to be managed in real time.

MHL discusses how inventory accuracy of fashion retailers can fall to around 65%. That translates to lost sales, lost revenue, and more costly returns from unsatisfied customers—not to mention damage to the brand that can follow. In stores, unsold product gets stored, taking up energy and requiring maintenance, and warehouses face the same problem on a much larger scale.

MHL goes on to say that using real-time tracking technologies like RFID to streamline warehouse management can reduce that gap and actually increase revenue by up to three percent annually. Warehouses can track the path of manufacturing inventory across the globe, and retailers can keep tabs on their own inventory, corresponding with warehouses to update stock tallies electronically.

When powered by mobile inventory control or warehouse management software, such as RFgen, accuracy and efficiency in regard to materials management can soar.

VIDEO: How one manufacturer digitally transformed inventory control »


Obstacles to Digitizing

According to Tech Target, there are five main challenges to digitizing a business:

  • People, systems, and databases have to be in sync. They have to “talk” to each other and be able to instantly update information. This increases traceability.
  • People must be trained to anticipate demand and use new software.
  • The old analog ways can be hard to leave behind for some. After all, change is hard.
  • Data must be standardized across the board, without multiple definitions for the same type of data.
  • You need to choose the right software for your business. It should be easy to use, easy to implement, and adhere to government compliance standards.

To overcome these obstacles, look for a technology platform than can communicate bi-directionally with your ERP, database, and other software systems. That will help ensure uniformity of data, reduce the need for training staff on more systems than necessary, and make it easy to standard your business processes and workflows.

With the right software solution to help you manage raw materials, WIP inventory, finished product and fixed assets on the shop floor and across your enterprise, you can help your organization cut away challenges and accelerate daily operations.

A Simple Way to Digitally Transform Manufacturing Inventory Processes

Taking on a new technology solution can be daunting. Finding a solution provider that can work with you to understand your challenges, needs and the best way to approach those issues is essential.

For example, the team at RFgen works with manufacturers to determine the best way to solve challenges such as track and trace for ingredients, parts and raw materials to maintain compliance and contain potential impact from recalls. Instead of burdening your operation with a cumbersome, expensive software solution that takes months or years to implement, RFgen is easy to deploy, requires just days of training and lets you take the reins to continue development in-house without restrictions.

RFgen doesn’t just provide software, but an entire ecosystem of software, mobile devices and data connections that ensure uniformity of data that updates in real-time. The RFgen can grow with you as you expand or scale your operations.

Increase shop floor execution, decrease excess inventory, and maximize efficiency, all with one software solution that addresses each of the five challenges listed above.