Businesses face several inventory-related challenges, such as – having excess stock, running out of stock, or spoilage of stock. All these problems arise due to poor inventory management. Smart inventory management systems can help businesses stay on top of things by streamlining the inventory management process throughout the sales cycle of a product. Read on to find out how businesses can improve their operations and provide customers with a better shopping experience using the smart inventory system.
What is a smart inventory management system?
Smart inventory management is a novel way to manage and control inventory and costs using powerful software and data. It consists of modern technology solutions such as smart inventory management software, autonomous inventory robots, RFID, smart shelves, etc., to improve inefficiencies while syncing the inventory across channels to improve business operations and maximize profit. It eliminates all the guesswork and helps retailers anticipate changes so they can use it to their advantage.
Here’s how a smart inventory management system is helping businesses
It provides real-time data for better inventory management
Smart inventory management systems help retailers become more operationally efficient and reduce shrinkage. It enables them to make informed decisions with the help of real-time inventory data.
The need for accurate data has become more important than ever as the retail market has shifted towards cross-selling and omnichannel selling. A smart inventory management system uses data to control costs and operations and minimize inefficiencies.
Traditionally, the inventory was managed manually, which was not just costly and time-consuming but also prone to human error. Using automation and inventory management software, all the challenges of traditional inventory management can be easily overcome. It is because of these benefits; it is estimated that in the next two years, the global retail automation market will reach US$19.
Robotics help streamline inventory management processes
In today’s smart inventory management systems, specialized software, automated systems, and robotics are used to increase productivity, accuracy, and operational efficiency. They help retailers automate the inventory process and provide a plethora of valuable data.
For example, the Stockpot created by Pal Robotics is a robot equipped with RFID and a vision camera that tracks inventory for retail. The robot autonomously moves around and performs inventory while the shop is fully functioning. It also gathers valuable data for the retailers to make informed inventory decisions, thus positively influencing the customers’ in-shop experience and boosting brand reputation.
Smart Shelves for Real-time Stock Information
Using RFID technology, smart shelves automatically track inventory in retail stores. Weight sensors are used within or beneath the shelves to track the amount of inventory present on the shelves, which means:
- Retailers know when a product goes out-of-stock.
- They are alerted if theft occurs.
- They can also measure customer interest and use that data to enhance their in-store shopping experience.
Amazon recently launched its Dash Smart Shelf, which has a built-in scale that automatically places orders with Amazon when supplies are low. Another company using smart shelf technology is Kroger, the US’s largest supermarket chain, which has partnered with Microsoft to develop its EDGE smart shelf. Powered by Azure and connected with IoT devices, EDGE connects to the customers’ shopping list on their smartphones and highlights similar items on the shelf.
Better forecasting decisions using data
Fulfilling increasing demands is a big part of inventory management. Smart Inventory Management System uses powerful software and data to enable businesses to make better and more efficient forecasting decisions. Using advanced reporting technology, it automatically pulls data from sales to produce a fully customizable and thorough data report, enabling businesses to make better use of their warehouse space and overall time.
Overselling means selling products that are no longer available. Inventory management software acts as a central repository for retail stock, reducing the occurrence of overselling by updating the retailers of the available stock levels in real-time.
Informed promotional and pricing strategies
Having reported on individual inventory item performance can enable businesses to stay on top of stock replenishment and make more informed merchandising and purchasing decisions. For example, stocking goods that are not much in demand can increase inventory carrying costs and reduce profit margins. On the other hand, more stock of popular items could equate to more sales opportunities. By gaining visibility into their inventory and channel performance using smart software and data, businesses can make informed decisions on stock replenishment and make better promotional and pricing strategies based on demand, thus maximizing sales and business profit.
There are several benefits of retail inventory management software and other smart technologies. They help businesses control costs and fuel growth using data and software and fulfill the ever-increasing customer demand with the available inventory. Smart technology allows businesses to fill the gaps of their current system and start reaping the benefits of intelligent decision-making fueled by data and automation.