You likely already know how complicated Inventory management can be. Stock has to be ordered, organized, and kept track of as it moves through the system. If a company maintains one or more large warehouses, there may be many products to take care of. Keeping control of an operation like this can feel like a superhuman effort, which is why automated inventory management systems (IMS) have become widely adopted.
However, technology, like everything else, advances and improves, and better ways of doing the same things become a new norm. This is the case with inventory management. The new technological advancement is mobile inventory management.
In this blog, we’re going to explore this innovative mobile system and examine how switching up can streamline your business even more.
Explaining mobile inventory management
Mobile inventory management puts all the information related to inventory management on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets via an app. This includes details on the stock a company is holding, where it’s located, when it’s sold, and its progress through any fulfillment process. With the app, anyone who has it installed, management or employee, has access in real time all the time to all inventory data, and they can use the app to update and record any changes. Additionally, because smart devices have cameras, the app can be used as a scanner on barcodes, SKUs and other identification tags. Being able to keep track of inventory from mobile devices streamlines and increases efficiency.
The key features of a mobile inventory-management system
Because the mobile inventory-management app can turn a mobile device into a scanner, reading and recording barcodes to track stock as it moves through the system is simple, quick, and accurate. Every time an item is scanned and recorded on a mobile device, its description and information about where it is in the fulfillment cycle is instantly available on that device and those of everyone else in the network.
Better access to analytics and reporting
The mobile app can gather and record multiple streams of information, from real-time product status and driver position to order status and shipment. This ability simply means that anyone in the loop can get at-a-glance updates at any time from wherever they are. Together with the data that’s stored, these updates can be configured into reports and analytics that help identify potential problems and offer up solutions.
For those times when the Internet is unavailable, mobile inventory apps have an offline storage feature that allows completed transactions to be stored until the connection is back up again. At that point, the transactions can be synced with the ERP. This feature is also helpful when a server is slow, and a user is trying to carry out more than one Internet operation at a time. In those instances, while the online action is being carried out, data can be stored. It’s an amazing feature, especially when you consider that a two-second delay in data reporting can affect the bottom line.
As with any inventory management system, the mobile system keeps track of stock levels and can be programmed to give alerts when they’re running low. Should that happen and an alert be sent out, purchase orders can be issued for more. These alerts are programmed to go off when a predetermined level of stock has been reached. It’s a great feature that’s available in most systems, and it can be found in the mobile version as well. The same goes for emails, but the mobile can also send and receive SMS messages. SMS messages can come in very handy during an emergency. Say, for instance, there’s a delay in a shipment and a driver is on the road. While there might not be a laptop or computer terminal nearby, a cellphone will usually be at hand.
Security and data backup
Strong security layers designed to guard against hacking are built into most inventory management systems, especially mobile ones. These cloud-based systems give you the power to track and manage inventory while ensuring data safety. For complete and total security, there’s a backup to guard against a breach, should that occur.
The benefits of a mobile inventory app
It saves time and money
Before mobile, keeping up-to-date on technology meant having to buy specialized software and hardware, having trained tech people install and maintain it, and training employees to use it.
Apps have made mobile inventory management much more convenient and easy to use. To start, they’re easy to open and are laid out in an accessible, user-friendly way, so there’s practically no learning curve needed. Plus, any updates are installed automatically.
A mobile system does more than speed up the processes involved in inventory management, it helps them run more efficiently. Put these two improvements together and you get a third: productivity. This is all possible because of the simplification a mobile system creates.
Productivity is also enhanced by the fact that all the workers along the process have access to the same information individually, and they’re instantly informed of any updates and changes. It all adds up to a system running effortlessly and seamlessly, and when you have that, you’re laying the path for increased productivity.
State-of-the-art mobile apps guarantee accuracy by scanning and registering inventory in real time.
Mobile inventory management systems should make your system run better, for less outlay. Of course, in our tech-driven world where mobile devices are used for everything, these systems are increasing in popularity. If you’ve not yet automated, or if you’ve automated but are using centralized computer terminals for your inventory management, now is a great time to take the next step and adopt a mobile system.
Take your inventory management to the next level by calling one of our experts today.