Guest Column | November 19, 2013

5 Ways Technology Simplifies "Taking Inventory"

By Brian Sutter, Director of Marketing, Wasp Barcode Technologies

At least once per day, 64 percent of businesses conduct manual searches to locate inventory and assets. So, it’s no wonder that businesses without an inventory tracking solution can spend approximately 16 hours managing inventory and lose $437,000 annually as a result of lost inventory and assets. In order to combat the significant loss of money and time, businesses are looking for different ways to track inventory. Excel spreadsheets and a pad and paper no longer make the cut when it comes to proper inventory management. Below are five ways technology simplifies this process.

  1. Maximizing Monetary Value of Products. A sufficient inventory tracking system will provide the following information: what merchandise is in stock, what’s been ordered, when the product will arrive, and what has been currently sold. This type of system allows a business to make intelligent purchases based on accurate information. With a competent inventory system, a business can quickly recognize the fast-moving items that are needed to be restocked and the slower moving items that should be marked down or specially promoted.
  2. Enhance Customer Satisfaction. Hospitality providers are a perfect example of a large and ever-growing industry that services thousands of patrons each week. With numerous guests and visitors, hotels are often tasked with sending mail and packages to the correct recipient. This is especially true in the case of conferences and conventions. One way to ensure packages are correctly delivered is to implement a tracking system that monitors when the package was delivered to the main office, who signed for it, where in the office it’s placed and when it was taken to its designated recipient. A reliable, prompt delivery makes patrons more comfortable, and even more likely to return.
  3. Minimizing Loss on Unused Product. Minimize your loss on defective or unpopular items that don’t sell. Installing a perpetual tracking system will count in real time the unused product and can help with returning it back to the vendor. Furthermore, by tagging each item, the location of inventory is stored in a large database that can be accessed by all employees. This reduces the amount of items lost and helps to monitor what is and isn’t selling. Some businesses choose to manually track product. They are running the risk of error, miscounting and ultimately loss of money. Companies frequently use Excel as their primary database for storing product-tracking information. While this may be suitable for some small businesses, it is unrealistic for a larger warehouse or retail supplier to do the same.
  4. Timely Distribution. Manufacturing companies and warehouses are best known for producing an item that is used by another company either to create a product or to sell. From the warehouses that store Oreos to the manufacturer that creates the bolts that keep the tires on your car, the importance of tracking items is paramount to the success of the company. After each item is produced, it must be tagged and itemized so that it can be delivered to the correct place. Your local grocery store will order Oreos to stock on its shelves; in order to receive payment, the manufacturer of Oreos must provide the correct amount that was ordered.
  5. Benefits in the Healthcare Industry. According to the FDA, former Department of HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced the beginning of the Patient Safety Task Force to increase the safety and regulation of patient data. Keeping track of patient care and records are vital to the growth and expansion of the health care industry and prove to be an important part of many hospital audits. Hospitals and clinics that value work efficiency and time, complete yearly audits to gain insight into productivity and record keeping. The use of bar-coded wristbands that each patient wears is a quick and reliable way of tracking patient location and records. Scanning these wristbands allows nurses to safely and easily access their patient information without having to manually track all of their records. The scanning of wristbands also helps staff regulate medication provided. These efforts have greatly reduced the risk of administrating the wrong medication to the wrong patient — ultimately saving lives.

It’s easy to stick to what you know. But don’t let your customers’ comfort zone of Excel documents and manually tracking disguise the benefits of implementing a tracking solution.

Brian Sutter is the director of marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. Sutter joined Wasp as the marketing manager in 2006, with a focus on web presence, product promotions, and brand awareness.