Decentralization optimizes supply chains and makes it easy to manage high-value inventory and control associated operating costs. Supply chains are faced with hassles like inefficient materials management and overly centralized storage; lack of reporting and minimal internal communication about real-time inventory status and usage; security against loss stemming from basic human errors and theft.
Regulatory compliance like the requirement of confidentiality in medical industry is a hassle. With no system integration and data availability throughout the supply chain, general costs of managing inventories are amplified. Without taking advantage of modern technologies, hassles of inventory controls, basic consignment and vendor management inventory are affected adversely.
The companies in lifestyle industries, dealing with medicines, devices, instruments and perishable biological items as well as mechanical parts inventory management via software is the best. Supply chain Management or SCM helps in effectively managing as well as in procuring, and storing the goods/products. It also helps supply chain managers to accurately take stocks, order and distribute inventories resulting in a commendable increase in the margins. Also contributing to an organization’s competitive advantage, SCM minimizes cost of production or service and delivery and maximizes output.
White Supply chain comprises of
- The upstream phase of supply chain that involves interface with outside resources to intake materials and goods necessary to deliver a product or service. Involving third party suppliers, it requires replenishment of materials with minimal waste
- The carrying phase that requires coordinating of physically stored products to the point of its point of use. Minimum stocks should be stored for quick and easy availability to supply it when needed. Reducing unnecessary costs to prevent losses, inventories must be stored safely and securely and requirements vary as per industries. Perishable goods like pharmaceutical and biological items with limited shelf life should be well stored. Carrying inventory is risky and hence a poor use of money
- Downstream phase involves ultimate delivery of the products to a customer. From consumers, business houses and third party distributors, the breakdown of previous chain of distributors has a detrimental effect on final delivery. In a timely, reliable manner customers/end users can be successfully managed.
From sourcing and receiving of materials to the forefront end of supply chain, to procuring stocks strategically as per the requirements and demands, things are reactive and every pros and cons should be well-considered. Strategic sourcing through higher value business decisions integrated with the company’s planning ensures optimum efficiency and can be connected to enterprise-level resource allocation. It is based on consumption/spending analysis and different planning methods required for robust data reporting for right strategic planning and implementation sourcing.
Procurement costs involves administrative activities like staff time, training for executive order processing, planning, resolving enquiries, shipping & handling as well as entire peripheral handling. Visits to restock materials and collect raw materials from suppliers too need to be considered.
Allocating strategies for storage inventory in warehouses or stock rooms over a period of time till its distributes/consumed/sold is identified as 25% – 35% of the total inventory value. Storing inventory more than what is required for adequate products lead to unnecessary increase in production and operation costs.
Ensuring efficiency methodologies like Lean Manufacturing ensures carrying of minimal amount of stock to provide acceptable level of certainty so as not to end up in short supply. The breakdown in costs can be guaranteed by minimizing cost of storage space to house inventory which requires one to lease, buy or build storage space facility or space; analyzing and reporting on an on-going basis, the administrative activities including tracking, extricating and disposing perishable stock which includes expired or quarantined medicines. This may result in potential loss and significant liability issues
Opportunity loss costs
Sales and revenue of an organization would not have achieved profits if not for the inventory available at the right time. With delayed shipment of goods to customers and cancelled orders or unnecessary costs incurring when skilled technicians sit idle, innumerable aspects lead to losses.
Security and confidentiality
During storage and dispensation of high-value stock security is critical as theft may incur. Organizations like hospitals need to secure and control medicines through regulatory compliances that mandates patient confidentiality. Usually the implications stemming from high-value inventory is quite high as the inventory is inherently expensive and unique.
Inventory management is not complete without integration and sharing of information with other business functions in an organization. Synergy with Enterprise-level Software or other internal systems ensures better management, forecasting and planning. Organizations needing supply chain requires overhauling and integration with the existing ERP software platforms.
Current solution: not optimized for high-value inventory
Hassles like inefficiency to errors, heightened operational costs, and problems in the supply chain are borne by the end customer indirectly. Point solutions are offered to tackle these.
Due to lack of automation necessities, reliance is more on human activities and their absence or late arrival result in an increased cost. Human errors like inaccurate reporting due to unused technology facilities and insufficient security for precious medicines, unmonitored checking of inventory and with no safeguarding provided, and current solutions are affected adversely. Lack of ability to monitor inventory solutions or lack of transparency too affects it negatively.
TechSync is the designer and manufacturer of industry’s leading automated storage and retrieval system’s software provider. They know the importance of high-value inventories and has the ability to decentralize, control and combine the automation and software driven management intelligence.
With a new supply chain called Distributed inventory, high-value products can be stored safely managed and securely distributed to the end customer. They decentralizes the supply chain through technology by extending security, automating and tracking storage capabilities to the point-of-use. With supply chain becoming more flexible, higher data reporting and transparency for improved efficiency, control and flexibility to meet the requirements are met. The inventory can be adopted to comprehensive management including granular, real time reporting and monitoring of inventory when used. Integrating benefits of intelligent automation and integrated auto-identification or Auto-ID tracking, the supply chain becomes an intelligent and adaptable network.
Distributed inventory helps in implementing and consigning of VMI model in applications previously impossible when reporting to the end user. The vendor with real-time monitoring on system-wide basis via internet or Cloud Computing ensures responsibility and ownership for the unused inventory. It remains with the supplying team, thereby decreasing liability and mitigating waste.
Consignment Model: Distributed inventory with VMI
The popular technology since 1980,VMI is relied on to move responsibility of stock levels to the supplier to leverage information about demand and inventory provided by the retailer. In the distributed inventory, the most robust reporting capabilities required for suppliers’ decision making to ensure its accuracy and real time audit of inventory levels are archived. While responsibility of owning and maintaining is transferred to the supply vendor, they have all the management functionality required to remotely manage inventory at the point of use. From remotely automating the management of re-orders, re-supply, multi-location inventory balancing and product expiration, the company and suppliers can share information via a single database updated for easy monitoring and tracking.
The capabilities mentioned above can be achieved through integration of storage / dispensation hardware and automatic identification or Auto-ID technology. The entire solution can be customized to the conditions required for specific applications in the industry. Distribution industry can be configured for remote systems replete with temperature controlled surroundings, clean-room control and different other applications. Distributed inventory can be relied on by inventory managers for accurate and comprehensive tracking, monitoring and dispensing high-value inventory in a controlled, automated and efficient manner. This reduces errors while mitigating efficiencies for moving inventories to and from centralized storage areas ensuring optimum security and accountability till the point of use.
Portable zone specific hardware guarantees secure and monitored storage and dispensation. Using intelligent software and remote tracking, appropriate levels of inventory can be balanced and distributed in the organization as per real-time assessment of local needs. With portability, inventories like narcotics in hospital pharmacy, medical devices with an OR, antibiotics at relief stations or spare parts warehouse in military stations are brought closer.
User experience ensured is commendable with a software driven intelligent, robust, web based reporting of distributed inventory systems that allow users or vendors or staff to control and monitor inventory levels in real time. It supports strategic procurement of ideal practices to mitigate waste and save on costs.
Efficiency (automation and auto ID)
With distributed inventory relying on advanced technology to automate processes like controlled dispensation and data capture, autonomous inventory management using Auto-ID technology can minimize reliance on human input on data, ensuring optimum accuracy
Easier system integration
Enabling easy integration into existing ERP platforms, Ware House Control System or WCS, collaborative planning/forecasting/replenishment or CPFR applications and less expansive applications or function-specific software systems can be utilized by the organization with distributed inventory software.
Working of distributed inventory
Integration of supply chain logistics hardware, software and Auto ID technology ensures smooth inventory distribution.
For enabling communications required for a responsive, transparent and secure supply chain, reliable and intuitive software is inevitable. TechSync carousels accessed and monitored via GPRS, Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections help in monitoring the inventory, at the point of use. It can be remotely managed via Web browser through advanced Genesis Software.
The users can monitor and report on inventory levels, stock access, usage and replenishment. Through remote access, materials departments as well as supply chains get the entire picture replete with inventory in real time and individual locations for centrally monitoring or managing at the point of use.
Companies require a distributed inventory supply model and the inventory management software needs to be powerful yet flexible, robust and easy to use. It should be fast and accurate facilitating automated reporting directly at the point of use or through a remote, easily configurable ERP or Web Mapping Interface or WMI.
While stock is held in a secure location, management server and terminals sync data at frequent intervals to transmit all transaction activities through a portal, in Distributed Inventory. Communication can be enhanced through a direct link, WiFi, GSM or GPRS technologies. The software can monitor inventory levels locally and through portals replete with real-time inventory information.
When the operator selects or scans the required items, and enters the picked item quantities in the terminal, the software immediately transacted item details and user information. These details are transferred in real-time through the portal. It also allows the operator to minimize, maximize or re-order as well as alert the vendor or user of any items that requires to be re-stocked or are about to expire. This reduces administrative time and inventory verification is made easier.
Inventory supply chain requires gathering accurate real-time data about organization’s inventory. To ensure efficiency and accuracy, the automated process that enables wireless tracking, robust security and real time monitoring of inventory using bar codes is recommended. However for optimum accuracy levels, companies can resort to Radio Frequency Identification or RFID.
RFID is a system with a small chip and antenna based electronic tags that transmit inventory data through Radio signals to RFID readers and hardware/software management infrastructure. The information collected on the tags is read as they pass the reader and it can be used for management processes. As per the application requirements, this information in transmitters can be placed on individual items or a consolidated volume of items.
RFID technology banishes the need to manually scan items as they are entered or removed from the warehouse or storage hardware. This is an excellent option to save money and time especially when dealing with large amounts as errors due to unreliability of manual scanning is prevented. Reducing inventory reporting errors and minimizing labor costs in labor applications, RFID auto scanning is integral to improve supply chain control and efficiency as well as to implement and distribute inventory. With expensive management and theft-prone stock of all sorts, it can be cost-effectively raised to a sophisticated and efficient manner.
Operation inefficiencies and costs are reduced while addressing the surrounding areas through distributed inventory.
- Robust report and monitoring: ensuring informed planning/procurement, usage and monitoring stocks is made easier through tracking
- Adopting automation, remote monitoring and auto-scanning helps minimize staff time requirements while increasing accuracy and enhancing supply chain transparency
- Security for both point-of-use and dispensation to safeguard at-point-of-use for trustworthy decentralization of high value inventory all through the organization
- Ability to adapt to a VMI model
- Ability to adapt with ERP or other software functions to bring synergy to operations and enhance supply chain ties with enterprise-level business operations and decision making.
With hardware/software and Auto-ID system that can be customized and designed into existing systems, Distributed Inventory Solutions helps in easily monitoring the ups and downs as TechSync handles many kinds of inventories to cater to the needs of various industries.