Most modern businesses understand that accurate inventory management is key to operating a successful business, with customer satisfaction and delivery times reliant on efficient stock control.
In the past few years, online inventory management has been the predominant trend in the inventory management space, offering better forecasts reflecting past sales trends, real-time product tracking, and integration with other technologies. Online inventory management can reduce the time spent on manual stock takes and offer more accurate data.
But what’s next for cutting-edge businesses? Let’s look at some of the technologies that are expected to continue the disruption in the inventory management space.
Machine learning and ‘smart’ inventory
Along with improved cloud-based tracking, the development of artificial intelligence for business tasks is another key resource that will be widely available in the future. Using AI to assist with inventory control will save time and money and allow staff to be assigned a more beneficial role. AI development will offer instant and accurate breakdowns of business data as well as offering solutions for more efficient management. Over the next decade, AI is predicted to be able to offer solutions to space utilisation issues, offer in-depth analysis of inventory needs, and suggest where costs can be reduced. Along with this, human error during stocktaking will be minimised, and repetitive inventory control requirements such as lifting, counting, and moving can all be automated
Machine learning in AI means the machines build frameworks of understanding as they work. This means that the longer they are employed and the more data they collect, the more accurate and reliable the data analysis and sales forecasts will be. Using complicated algorithms to understand your business trends is just one of the ways upcoming technology can improve inventory control and ensure the efficient running of a business.
Integrating mobile tools
While barcode tracking isn’t a new technology, the use of mobile devices to aid the stocktaking process is the future of inventory control. Using an online inventory management system, mobile scanning tools can automatically upload data to a cloud-based storage system, meaning more accurate data is collected. This also pushes a business towards real-time inventory information and therefore improves delivery time. This technology is simple to operate, meaning little time is spent on training, and with the process being automated, the task of stocktaking is minimised. Along with this, online inventory management can be accessed from any location, meaning facilities with multiple storage warehouses can operate on the same system, allowing for synchronisation and better logistical control.
Fewer errors and faster stock takes
For businesses relying on manual stocktaking, chances are the accuracy and up-to-date nature of the data isn’t adequate, affecting your ability to fulfil demand in a timely fashion. Using an online inventory management system with tools such as scanners and barcodes minimises the risk of human error and can allow for faster stock takes. Used effectively, this technique can result in real-time, accurate data and can provide forecasts based on past trends.
What can online inventory management offer us in the future?
As technology for businesses is rapidly improving, the use of online inventory management techniques, artificial intelligence, and mobile devices will inevitably become the norm. These tools enable more efficient and accurate stock management data, and with machine learning capabilities, can offer improved data with time. This new technology will offer real-time inventory information, cut stocktaking time, and produce accurate forecasts to make the inventory management process easier.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.