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How Inventory Management Solutions Build a Better Supply Chain August 8th, 2022

How Inventory Management Solutions Build a Better Supply Chain
Explore how inventory data can impact efficiency throughout a supply chain operation.  

Shortages and delays have always been concerns for supply chain operators. Of course, companies want to get their products from point A to point B with little or no disruption. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, disruptions, delays, and shortages have become the rule rather than the exception in many industries and on several levels, making inventory management solutions a necessity.  

The “State of the European Supply Chain: Logistics, Sustainability and Visibility Report 2022” has pinpointed several pain points magnified in recent years. Among the 450 European organizations surveyed in the report, concerns include the continued threat of COVID-19, labor shortages, port disruptions, and big changes in demand and capacity. Furthermore, although half of these organizations already use supply chain visibility solutions, 33 percent report that they don’t provide good insights into operations or labor or the ability to forecast accurately. The report concludes that the industry is shifting to end-to-end supply chain visibility, enabling proactive risk management and reactive problem-solving.  

What Inventory Management Solutions Can Do for The Supply Chain 22-Zebra-Warehouse-Q2C1-eBook_Mockup-(EN)

A primary function of an inventory management solution is to track inventory from the manufacturer to the warehouse and from the warehouse to the retailer or customer. But when faced with current challenges, supply chain partners need more visibility to get the right product to the right place at the right time.  

That’s why cutting-edge inventory management solutions are vital to the health of supply chains. With inventory management, organizations gain real-time track and trace capabilities to know where products and materials are at any given time. Integration and collaboration with other supply chain partners are essential. Breaking down silos throughout the supply chain with inventory management solutions is invaluable, empowering supply chain partners to make more informed decisions based on data and predictive analysis.  

How Inventory Management Benefits Labor Management 

Although an inventory management system doesn’t manage labor directly, it provides insights that managers can use to optimize schedules. While labor shortages continue and wages increase, scheduling employees at the right time and avoiding overtime are crucial.  

An inventory management solution can provide key insights into when labor is needed to move goods along more quickly. Likewise, managers can adjust schedules and avoid overtime when inventory isn’t ready to move. All supply chain partners can then access this information to make informed decisions based on real-time schedule and route changes. Benefits of informing scheduling decisions with inventory data include cost savings and navigating labor shortages more easily, highlighting that an integrated, end-to-end solution will provide enterprises with the most value.  

How to Deliver Deeper Insights with Inventory Management Solutions 

When you’re providing inventory management solutions, factor in inputs and desired outputs. In addition to data via integration with supply chain partners, technology solution providers (TSPs) can help enterprises identify and collect additional data, leading to greater visibility and smarter decision-making.  

Consider augmenting data collection via barcode scanning or RFID with Internet of Things (IoT) technology. IoT devices and22-Honeywell-Warehouse-Q2C1-Downloadable-(EN) sensors provide additional data, such as real-time location and environmental conditions during shipping and storage. Furthermore, combining IoT technology with artificial intelligence (AI) leads to real-time insights that lay the foundation for automating processes, such as adjusting the temperature in a cold chain or rerouting shipments to avoid delays. Due to the current supply chain environment, contingency plans are more of a priority. When an inventory management solution can increase awareness of inventory on hand and shipment status with IoT and AI, enterprises can build more effective backup plans to mitigate risks.  

Solutions for Today and Tomorrow 

The world will eventually see supply chain disruptions ease. However, the inventory management solutions that enterprises deploy now will continue to provide value long after, giving operators the visibility and data-based insights they need to address supply chain delays and uncertainty when it occurs. 

Help your clients make smart investments in inventory management solutions and other technology that will help them through the current supply chain crisis and position them for effective operations in the future. 

SAMANTHA KALANY

Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation. Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.

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