The Next Big Thing in Retail: Automation in Inventory Management
As more and more people turn to omnichannel shopping, something as simple as maintaining inventory has become more difficult for companies. The silver lining is that along with consumer purchasing preferences, the technology required to conduct an efficient business has also evolved leading to digitization and automation of processes including inventory management.
Manual vs Automated Inventory Management
A labor-intensive process, manual inventory management heavily relied on people’s ability to consistently perform at their best. This was also a time-consuming job that rarely offered a comprehensive picture of a company’s inventory in real-time. It involved counting, aggregating, and calculating data at every step. Even the smallest errors could have a grave impact in the long run.
An automated system makes these processes simpler, reducing the amount of human intervention and involvement by providing each SKU with a serial number or a barcode. It presents various insights and access to warehouse/operation-wide data easily. This means all information becomes readily available, movement of the product can be followed, and there are fewer discrepancies.
Considering an increasing number of companies are opting for an omnichannel approach, the lack of a cohesive selling and stocking strategy can translate to significant losses. If you are considering moving your business operations to an automated inventory management system, here are some benefits –
- Stock visibility –There is 100% inventory exposure, across all sale channels at the same time. Real-time inventory-order sync increases the chances of sales and minimizes order cancellation due to overbooking.
- No “lost” stock – Once a product is assigned a serial number and scanned into the automated inventory management system, the chances of getting misplaced or lost are close to zero.
- Minimizing manual errors – An automated system reduces the number of human errors.
- Analytics & Insights – Stocks can be redirected where there is higher demand, and prices can be changed depending on the trends which are showcased by the automated inventory management system.
- Scalability – The biggest benefit of implementing an automated inventory management system is the ability to grow and expand faster and quicker.
Automation in Inventory Management at Stores
An automated system such as Increff Merchandising Solution can efficiently manage the following functions increasing sales, productivity, and overall performance of a store.
- Assortment planning and buying – Using algorithm-driven data, an automated inventory management system can analyze the demand and help in product planning for the store. This tool takes into consideration real-time data regarding sales, revenue, discounts, size cuts, stock-outs, etc. These factors can determine buying and assortment planning tool as the tool analyses 17 levels of product attributes, providing accurate insights for informed decision making.
- Restocking – As this merchandising solution keeps track of stock, there are automated alerts to ensure that the store has enough stock to match demand at all times. It becomes possible to automate the re-ordering process with proper checks and balances to keep your stores running smoothly.
- Replacements and replenishment – Once any of the bestseller stock gets sold out, it is prudent to have them restocked as soon as possible as it can affect the cash flow. Increff Merchandising solution identifies bestsellers as well as low-selling stocks. Having this information means that a store can always have its bestsellers in stock while moving its low-selling items through various promotions to avoid deadstock at the end of the season.
- Inter-store transfers – A unique feature of Increff Merchandising solution is showcasing trends in purchase which can help retailers to move stock between stores if there is a demand mismatch. This helps in utilizing the stock while avoiding losses.
Automation in Inventory Management at Warehouses
Automation in inventory management at the warehouses can be beneficial in preventing human errors. An automated system can also increase efficiency and reduce losses due to such errors and oversight.
Increff’s WMS solution automates processes in the warehouse by using inventory serialization which can properly track SKUs and facilitate better space utilization. This enables faster picking and packing at warehouses, reducing the turnaround time for completing orders. Each time a product barcode is scanned, all of its details including a picture are displayed to ensure zero errors while packing a product. This WMS has a simple and friendly user interface to make sure that all warehouse workers can be quickly and easily trained to use this software.
The overall benefits of using automation in inventory management increase as your business grows and expands. The transformative powers of automation are many and the need to integrate automation into your business is more evident than ever as the world itself goes through a transformative time. Based on your business needs and goals, choose an automation solution that works the best for you.