Gone are the days when companies were forced to rely on paper-based methods, spreadsheets, and inflexible enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to manage their inventory. As businesses across industries look to upgrade their supply chain technology, Cloud Inventory®, a leader in Mobile-First Inventory SolutionsTM, is providing breakthrough inventory control from the cloud.
Inventory management involves tracking and controlling the flow of inventory throughout the supply chain, from its entry in a warehouse to its delivery to a customer. A streamlined approach to this process can help businesses stop profit leaks and save thousands, as they avoid problems like manufacturing bottlenecks, overstocks, shipping delays, and inaccurate order fulfillment.
Trying to streamline inventory management using manual processes and siloed legacy systems in an increasingly complex and data-reliant global supply chain simply isn’t feasible, though. Manual systems and monolithic, outdated ERPs lack the flexibility to make quick adjustments to supply chain disruptions. They cannot efficiently capture and communicate information about inventory in transport or in low- to no-connectivity environments. And they are subject to human input error at several important points in the supply chain.
Cloud Inventory is solving these and other inventory-related problems with powerful inventory solutions that utilize the cloud to provide real-time visibility and control. In this article, we’ll explore Cloud Inventory’s Mobile-First Inventory Solutions in depth, and outline how these solutions improve inventory control in three key areas: Manufacturing MaterialsTM, Warehouse InventoryTM, and Field InventoryTM.
What Is Cloud Inventory?
Cloud Inventory’s Mobile-First Inventory Solutionsenable businesses to monitor the state, location, and authenticity of inventory across the entire supply chain. This technology allows users to control inventory and streamline supply chain operations based on end-to-end visibility.
Two innovative technologies are particularly important to Cloud Inventory’s approach to inventory control:
Cloud Inventory’s technology utilizes the cloud to provide scalable, mobile solutions. The platform can operate as a stand-alone solution, or Cloud Inventory applications can be easily integrated with existing ERPs. These mobile-first solutions can function without relying on an on-site server in a central physical location. This means they can be deployed to achieve real-time inventory accuracy and control at any point in the supply chain, both within the four walls of a warehouse and in field environments with low to no connectivity.
Low-code software empowers citizen developers to create and reconfigure apps without the need for complex coding or third-party developers. This means a business doesn’t need to rely on IT to conduct costly and time-consuming overhauls of legacy systems. Instead, a low-code platform enables business analysts and supply chain personnel to quickly build and deploy personalized software solutions based on their unique process expertise and organizational roles. Using an intuitive drag-and-drop, flowchart-like interface, personnel reconfigure low-code apps on the fly for an agile response to changing supply chain conditions and business-specific compliance needs.
Now that we have a basic understanding of the technology that powers Cloud Inventory, we can take a closer look at how these highly configurable, mobile-first solutions benefit companies with a variety of inventory needs.
A productive supply chain needs to run on real-time accurate monitoring of the flow of inventory. Time spent waiting for inventory or looking around a warehouse for the right materials results in drops in production and costly delays that ripple across the supply chain.
Cloud Inventory increases productivity by facilitating the capture and communication of information both inside and outside the warehouse, using accurate inventory data to eliminate inefficiencies in workflows. Mobile technologies such as barcode scanners and tablets capture high-resolution data at the point of activity, and automated scheduling ensures that inventory gets where it needs to be when it needs to be there. The low-code platform enables personnel to maximize productivity by building personalized apps that increase the efficiency of their role in the supply chain.
To navigate increasingly complex and dynamic compliance requirements, businesses need extensive access to inventory data. They also need the flexibility to adapt as compliance rules change.
Cloud Inventory enables businesses to automate compliance-related activities, eliminating the potential for human error that comes with expecting employees to remember to adhere to shifting regulations. And Cloud Inventory apps can be tailored to focus on business- or industry-specific compliance tasks. For example, companies that handle lot-controlled items with expiration dates, such as pharmaceuticals or foods and beverages, can utilize Cloud Inventory’s lot-tracking capabilities and automated scheduling to ensure these items are shipped by the appropriate dates.
Inventory optimization means that a business has balanced its supply of stock with demand. The goal is to avoid both overstocks and stockouts, while continuing to make on-time, in-full (OTIF) deliveries.
Cloud Inventory solutions optimize inventory by ensuring real-time accurate inventory counts and end-to-end tracking, and by enabling personnel to communicate inventory needs across a supply chain using mobile devices. In addition, automated production and delivery scheduling prevents stockouts and bottlenecks caused by human input error when tracking inventory levels.
Increased productivity and inventory accuracy naturally lead to revenue generation.
Cloud Inventory provides inventory accuracy that eliminates unnecessary costs, including the costs of carrying too much inventory and the cost of lost orders caused by stockouts. Inventory optimization improves productivity and ensures OTIF deliveries, which in turn improves customer satisfaction and generates revenue. And with low-code software, personnel can apply their expertise to design creative business-specific supply chain applications that reduce costs and improve time to value.
Cloud Inventory solutions are designed to help organizations realize these key benefits in terms of their unique business needs, whether their inventory is on the production line, in the warehouse, in the field, or on the last mile to the end customer. To do so, it offers products that enable businesses to control inventory and related processes in three essential areas.
Cloud Inventory’s Manufacturing Materials solutions are built to help companies boost production volumes and improve operational efficiency. These solutions provide real-time visibility and control of everything from raw materials to finished goods. The goal is to streamline manufacturing workflows, avoid downtimes, and utilize automation to optimize inventory.
Using Cloud Inventory’s mobile-first applications, manufacturers can determine the location of inventory, tools, and personnel as need arises and deliver the precise quantity of materials needed. An inventory-first data model keeps production lines moving based on accurate data on the availability and usage of production materials and accurate counts of finished goods.
When there is an immediate need to adjust supply chain strategy, low-code flexibility provides manufacturing personnel with the agility to reconfigure on the fly while avoiding downtimes.
Automated scheduling capabilities ensure the shop floor is properly fed while maintaining cost-efficient stock levels. Cloud Inventory’s Kanban applications provide a self-regulating inventory replenishment system for a lean manufacturing strategy with shorter lead times and reduced inventory levels.
Cloud Inventory’s Warehouse Inventory solutions are focused on reducing inventory discrepancy and warehouse stockouts, increasing order accuracy, and ensuring efficient and timely order fulfillment.
The mobile-first capabilities of Cloud Inventory solutions increase user adoption throughout the warehouse. Mobile applications and scanners can be adopted by a broader range of workers who handle inventory, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of inventory levels and efficient communication that optimizes inventory turns. Warehouse personnel can capture high-resolution data on the state, location, and authenticity of inventory using tablets and scanners with item- and lot-tracking capabilities.
The low-code platform enables personnel to configure applications to fit the specific needs of their role in the warehouse, including picking, packing, and shipping. A low-code approach streamlines warehouse workflows for a variety of personnel by allowing them to eliminate the inefficiencies of sorting through data they don’t need.
Finally, Warehouse Inventory solutions can use automation and real-time data capture to identify shortages of specific pieces of inventory, provide highly accurate counts and schedules of arrivals and shipments, and adjust daily processes and staffing plans to handle fluctuating inventories or delays.
Inventory often exists in nontraditional, non-fixed, and difficult-to-control environments with limited connectivity. Some examples include trunk stock, inventory lockers, or tools and supplies on a construction site or other jobsite. Businesses are also increasingly relying on consigned or vendor-managed inventory outside of their warehouses.
Historically, this Inventory in the WildTM, which exists in low- to no-connectivity environments, has been difficult to manage. But Cloud Inventory’s Field Inventory solutions utilize the cloud and offline capabilities to provide real-time accurate visibility in environments with limited connectivity.
Field Inventory offers pre-built ERP integrations and can be quickly installed to provide consumer-grade interfaces on the mobile devices that users prefer, including smartphones and tablets. Using these mobile devices, personnel in the field manage inventory at the point of activity, so businesses do not have to rely on after-the-fact assessments on paper or in spreadsheets.
Personnel in the field can track the state and location of project materials, medical devices, industrial tools, construction equipment, and other supplies in real time. This means that any necessary inventory adjustments are identified and carried out based on up-to-date inventory records straight from the field. In addition, field technicians can record and request inventory and complete invoices for service requests using tablets rather than paper-based processes.
Cloud Inventory Powers Breakthrough Visibility and Control
Inventory is constantly moving across the supply chain in today’s fast-paced economy, making real-time accuracy and control a challenge. Traditional approaches that rely on paper, spreadsheets, and outdated legacy systems are not suited to this environment.
Just-in-time inventory is being redefined as enterprises work to quickly scale up and down and adjust on the fly. Cloud Inventory solutions are built to meet the challenges of this dynamic supply chain environment, empowering businesses with the inventory flexibility, visibility, and control they need to succeed.