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Essential Inventory: Must-Have Items for an Organized and Efficient Warehouse

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Essential Inventory: Must-Have Items for an Organized and Efficient Warehouse

In the fast-paced world of logistics and supply chain management, maintaining an organized and efficient warehouse is paramount to success. Warehouses serve as the backbone of businesses, ensuring timely deliveries and optimal inventory management. To achieve this, it’s essential to equip your warehouse with the right tools and resources. In this article, we’ll explore the must-have items that contribute to creating a well-organized and efficient warehouse environment.

Quality Shelving and Racking Systems:

Investing in robust shelving and racking systems is the foundation of a well-organized warehouse. Adjustable shelving units and pallet racking systems maximize vertical space, allowing for efficient use of available square footage. This not only optimizes storage capacity but also facilitates easy accessibility and retrieval of goods.

Inventory Management Software:

Modern warehouses rely on advanced technology to streamline operations. Implementing a robust inventory management software system is crucial for real-time tracking of stock levels, order processing, and overall inventory control. This not only reduces the risk of errors but also enhances visibility across the supply chain.

Forklifts and Material Handling Equipment:

Efficient material handling is key to a smoothly operating warehouse. Investing in high-quality forklifts, pallet jacks, and other material handling equipment significantly improves the speed and accuracy of moving goods within the warehouse. This, in turn, contributes to faster order fulfillment and reduced operational costs.

Safety Equipment and Signage:

Creating a safe working environment is a top priority in any warehouse. Ensure that your facility is equipped with necessary safety gear such as hard hats, high-visibility vests, and safety goggles. Additionally, strategically placed safety signage helps prevent accidents and ensures that employees adhere to safety protocols.

Barcode Scanners and RFID Technology:

Implementing barcode scanners and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology enhances inventory accuracy and expedites order processing. These technologies automate data capture, minimizing human error and speeding up the tracking and tracing of goods throughout the warehouse.

Packaging Supplies and Equipment:

Efficient packaging is a crucial aspect of warehouse operations. Stock up on quality packaging supplies such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and labels. Investing in automated packaging equipment can further streamline the packing process, improving overall efficiency.

Workbenches and Assembly Stations:

For warehouses involved in assembly or product customization, well-equipped workbenches and assembly stations are essential. These areas provide a dedicated space for assembling products, packaging customization, and quality control checks.

Security Systems:

Protecting your inventory from theft and unauthorized access is critical. Install security systems, including surveillance cameras, access control systems, and alarm systems, to safeguard valuable goods and maintain the integrity of your warehouse.

Employee Well-being:

Beyond the operational advantages, it’s crucial to acknowledge the impact of a well-equipped warehouse on the well-being of the workforce. A thoughtfully organized and efficiently managed workspace fosters a positive work environment. Adequate shelving, ergonomic workstations, and safety measures contribute to reducing workplace stress and minimizing the risk of injuries. By prioritizing employee well-being, businesses not only enhance job satisfaction but also improve retention rates, creating a workforce that is motivated and committed to achieving operational excellence.

Adaptability and Future-Proofing:

In the ever-evolving landscape of logistics, adaptability is key to long-term success. Investing in essential warehouse items not only addresses current needs but also positions businesses to adapt to future challenges. Technological advancements, changing market demands, and evolving safety standards necessitate a forward-thinking approach. By continually assessing and upgrading warehouse infrastructure, incorporating the latest technologies, and staying abreast of industry trends, businesses can future-proof their operations. This proactive approach ensures that the warehouse remains a dynamic and efficient hub capable of meeting the demands of an ever-changing business environment.

Air Filtration Systems:

In addition to the physical infrastructure and technological advancements, the quality of air within the warehouse is a crucial factor that often goes overlooked. Implementing effective air filtration systems is essential to create a healthy and comfortable working environment. Air filters help remove airborne particles, dust, and contaminants, contributing to better indoor air quality. This not only promotes the well-being of warehouse staff but also protects goods from potential damage caused by dust and pollutants. By investing in air filtration systems, warehouses can enhance employee health, reduce the risk of respiratory issues, and maintain a clean and hygienic atmosphere conducive to efficient operations. Prioritizing air quality aligns with occupational health and safety standards, ensuring a conducive and sustainable working environment within the warehouse.

Conclusion:

An organized and efficient warehouse is the backbone of successful logistics and supply chain management. By investing in the essential items mentioned above, businesses can streamline operations, enhance productivity, and ensure the smooth flow of goods through the warehouse. Whether it’s optimizing storage space, implementing advanced technology, or prioritizing safety, these must-have items contribute to the overall success and sustainability of a well-run warehouse.

 

AI logistics

Gather AI Becomes the Largest Autonomous Inventory Management Platform in the World

Gather AI, a provider of AI-powered autonomous inventory management solutions for warehouses using commodity hardware, announces today that it is acquiring the business of Ware, another large player in the market. With this acquisition, Gather AI is now the market leader in the space with 25 customers, more than any other autonomous inventory management company, and the technical platform best able to meet accelerating customer demand.

The global warehouse market is expected to grow at 7.7% CAGR and reach USD 1.26 trillion by 2030. Driving this growth are the global restructuring of manufacturing and logistics and a transition to online commerce. This strategic shift is causing a rapid overhaul of the supply chain with 71% percent of warehouses reporting that this is driving a change in the way they manage their inventory. To keep up with this restructuring, operators are accelerating their digital transformation.

Gather AI is transforming warehouse operations. With its solution, AI software enables drones to fly autonomously through warehouses to photograph inventory stored in pallet locations. AI reads bar codes, text, and other information in the images and automatically compares it with what’s in the warehouse management system (WMS). The warehouse manager can view inventory data in real time from a web dashboard and easily view their warehouse.

Gather AI has seen an 8x revenue growth in the last year. Customers have seen a tremendous benefit from the solution including a reduction in inventory counting staff from six to one, finding $1 million in lost inventory, reducing full facility scans from 90 days to 2.5 days, and boosting revenue with innovation and differentiation. Results like these helped Gather AI raise a $10 million Series A last year.

Customers will be integrated into the Gather AI platform in the coming weeks with the support of the combined Ware and Gather AI teams.

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Best Practices for Reducing Inventory Losses in Logistics

In order to truly boost the profitability of your business, properly managing risks and losses is a necessity. However, this is always a serious challenge that’s not easily overcome. So, to help, we have a guide for you on the best practices for reducing inventory losses in logistics! 

A better understanding of inventory losses

Understanding inventory losses is one of the important things to be familiar with for quality logistics. They refer to the reduction in stock levels due to various factors such as shrinkage, theft, obsolescence, expiration, and damage during transportation or handling. By comprehending the causes, businesses can implement effective strategies for reducing inventory losses in logistics. Shrinkage and theft occur when items are misplaced, damaged, or stolen within the supply chain. Obsolescence and expiration, on the other hand, result from poor demand forecasting or ineffective management. Furthermore, damage during transportation and handling can lead to significant losses if proper packaging and handling protocols are not followed. By identifying and addressing these causes, businesses can reduce losses, improve operational efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Implementing all the best practices for inventory management

Implementing best practices for inventory management is crucial for reducing inventory losses in logistics. Some key measures businesses can adopt are accurate forecasting and demand planning, efficient order management, effective warehouse management, enhanced security measures, and optimal packaging and handling. Additionally, some of these measures can, of course, be enhanced with the use of AI. Inventory management software powered by AI can provide real-time insights, automate tasks, and optimize levels based on demand patterns. AI-powered analytics can also help identify trends and anomalies, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions. 

The technology and tools useful for loss prevention

Technology and tools play a crucial role in reducing inventory losses. Businesses can utilize various solutions to enhance their management practices. Inventory management software provides real-time visibility into stock levels, enables automated reorder points, and streamlines order processing. RFID and barcode systems help track movement, reducing the risk of misplacement or theft. GPS tracking and asset monitoring systems offer real-time location data, ensuring the security and timely delivery of goods. Data analytics and machine learning enable businesses to identify patterns, forecast demand accurately, and optimize inventory levels. These advanced technologies help businesses proactively detect and prevent losses. By leveraging these tools, businesses improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance their overall operation quality. Embracing technology is crucial for staying ahead in the competitive logistics industry and ensuring effective stock loss prevention.

The crucial role of training and education for employees

Training and education for employees are essential components of effective inventory management. By providing comprehensive training sessions, businesses ensure that employees are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle it properly. Training should cover areas such as proper handling techniques, accurate recording of stock, and awareness of security measures. Regular training sessions can also be conducted to update employees on new technologies and best practices in inventory management. Engaging employees through recognition and rewards for good practices can boost their motivation and encourage active participation in inventory loss prevention efforts. By investing in employee education, businesses can foster a culture of responsibility and accountability, thereby ultimately leading to comprehensive improvements.

Smart collaboration with suppliers and partners

Collaboration with suppliers and partners is vital for reducing inventory losses in logistics. Establishing clear communication channels and sharing relevant data, such as stock levels and sales forecasts, can enhance visibility and coordination throughout the supply chain. Collaborative demand planning and forecasting can also help businesses anticipate fluctuations in demand and adjust inventory levels in time. By working closely with suppliers, businesses can streamline order fulfillment processes, too. As well as ensure timely deliveries, and minimize disruptions. 

Additionally, collaborative efforts can lead to better negotiation of pricing and terms, optimizing inventory costs. Building strong relationships with suppliers and partners fosters a sense of trust and commitment. So, embracing collaboration as a core strategy is crucial for achieving success in inventory management and logistics operations.

Working on continuous improvement and evaluation

Continuous improvement and evaluation are key. Regularly monitoring and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as inventory turnover, fill rate, and order accuracy helps identify areas for improvement. Businesses can pinpoint weaknesses in their inventory management practices and implement corrective actions by conducting thorough evaluations. This iterative process allows for the ongoing optimization of stock control measures. It is important to review and update inventory management practices in response to changing market dynamics, customer demands, and emerging technologies. By embracing a culture of continuous improvement, businesses can stay agile, adapt to new challenges, and capitalize on opportunities. Evaluating the effectiveness of implemented strategies, you minimize losses, maximize operational efficiency, and consistently meet customer satisfaction. So, continuous improvement and evaluation are essential for maintaining a competitive edge in the logistics industry.

A final note on reducing inventory losses in logistics

With everything we’ve covered on the best practices for reducing inventory losses in logistics, we know you’ll succeed. Understanding the causes of losses and adopting proactive measures, such as accurate forecasting, efficient order management, and enhanced security, will minimize the risk of stock shrinkage, obsolescence, and damage. You’ll enhance control and loss prevention efforts by leveraging technology and tools, such as inventory management software and AI-powered analytics. And by investing in employee training and fostering collaboration with suppliers and partners, you’ll also contribute to effective inventory management. Finally, by embracing a culture of continuous improvement and evaluation, you’ll ensure that your management practices stay aligned with changing market dynamics and customer demands. Of course, remember that these methods take constant effort to upkeep.

Author Bio

Emily Sanders is a skilled logistics expert with a passion for providing valuable insights into inventory management. As a dedicated team member of Affordable Reliable Moving Company, she combines her expertise in logistics with her knack for crafting informative content. With years of experience in the industry, Emily understands the challenges businesses face in reducing losses and optimizing supply chain operations. 

Employee in a logistics company working on his computer and using AI for inventory forecasting.

Pros and Cons of Using AI for Inventory Forecasting

Are you tired of overstocking or running out of inventory? Then you need to consider using AI for inventory forecasting. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help you optimize inventory levels, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction. But as with any technology, there will always be pros and cons. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of this innovative approach to inventory management.

Using AI for Inventory Forecasting: A Game Changer

AI is revolutionizing inventory forecasting by providing more accurate and efficient predictions. With AI, you can analyze large data sets and identify patterns that would be challenging for humans to detect. This technology uses algorithms and machine learning to predict demand and optimize inventory levels, reducing the chances of stockouts or overstocking. The current inventory management software is already showing amazing results, and we can expect this trend to continue.

Pros of Using AI for Inventory Forecasting

One of the main advantages of using AI for inventory forecasting is its increased accuracy and efficiency. Traditional inventory forecasting methods rely on historical data and simple algorithms, which can result in inaccurate predictions. Conversely, AI can analyze large amounts of data in real-time, ensuring that inventory levels are always optimized.

With AI, you can respond quickly to changes in demand and supply. AI models can analyze data in real time and adjust inventory levels accordingly. That means you can reduce the risk of stockouts or overstocking and ensure you always have the right products. Overstocking can lead to wasted resources and increased costs, while stockouts can lead to lost sales and decreased customer satisfaction. AI can help you optimize your inventory levels, reducing the risk of overstocking and stockouts.

Optimizing inventory levels and supply chain performance is critical to the success of any business. With AI, you can analyze data from different sources, including customer behavior and market trends, to optimize inventory levels and improve supply chain performance. Many businesses want to implement AI forecasting with structural supply chain flexibility to achieve the best results.

AI can help you improve customer satisfaction and retention by ensuring you always have the products your customers want in stock. Optimizing your inventory levels ensures that your customers are always happy with your products and services. AI can also help identify any potential choke points in your supply chain, further helping you improve customer satisfaction.

Cons of Using AI for Inventory Forecasting

The accuracy and efficiency of AI-based inventory forecasting depend on the data quality and algorithms used. If your data is incomplete or inaccurate, your predictions may be unreliable. Similarly, if your algorithms are not well-designed, they may not provide accurate predictions.

Implementing AI-based inventory forecasting can be expensive. You need to invest in the technology, hire experts to manage it and ensure it is always up to date. That can be a significant expense for many businesses, especially small ones.

AI models may have difficulty incorporating external factors, such as supply chain disruptions caused by market trends and economic changes. While AI can analyze large amounts of data, it may not be able to detect external factors that may impact demand or supply.

AI can automate many inventory forecasting tasks, which may lead to job loss and workforce disruption. That can be a significant concern for businesses, especially those that rely on manual labor.

While AI can provide more accurate and efficient predictions, it still requires human intervention and oversight. Human experts are needed to ensure that the AI models are performing correctly and to identify any issues that may arise. AI models may provide inaccurate predictions without human oversight, leading to stockouts or overstocking.

Implementing AI for Inventory Forecasting

Implementing AI for inventory forecasting requires careful planning and execution. Before implementing AI forecasting software, you must identify your business needs and objectives. What are your current inventory management challenges, and how can AI help you overcome them? What are your long-term goals for your business, and how can AI support these goals?

Find the AI tools that best fit your business needs and objectives. Some popular tools and techniques include time-series forecasting, regression analysis, and neural networks. However, you should remember that AI relies on quality data for accurate predictions. You need to gather, clean, and process your data to ensure it is accurate and complete. You also need to ensure that your data is stored in a format compatible with your AI-based forecasting tools and techniques.

Conclusion and Future of AI-Based Inventory Forecasting

Using AI for inventory forecasting can be a game-changer for your business. AI can provide more accurate and efficient predictions, reducing the risk of overstocking or stockouts. Furthermore, as AI continues to evolve, we can expect new and innovative inventory forecasting approaches. AI has the potential to transform inventory management, improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. By carefully considering the pros and cons of using AI for inventory forecasting and implementing it to align with your business needs and objectives, you can take advantage of this exciting technology and stay ahead of the competition.

Author bio

Sam Clement is a relocation coordinator for Harris Movers. Sam also has previous experience in supply chain management and transportation planning, giving him a deeper appreciation of what is required to ensure timely delivery. Sam likes staying physically active and in shape when he isn’t trying to find an optimal route.

 

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Gather AI & Barrett Distribution on the Many Benefits of Drone-Powered Inventory Monitoring for Warehouses

According to Interact Analysis, an industry research firm, there will be 214,000 warehouses globally by 2027, up from 163,000 in 2021. Having accurate inventory is critical for these warehouses. Accurate inventory ensures that there are no unexpected shortages, shipments are fulfilled on time, and the warehouse space is fully utilized. 

Today having accurate inventory in a warehouse can be difficult because the industry is struggling with 49% annual labor turnover. Training and retaining talent that can follow warehouse processes is a challenge, and as a result, up to 10% of products are put away in the wrong location or the wrong product is picked for shipping. To check for inventory errors, warehouses have people go from pallet location to pallet location and manually compare what they find with what’s reported in their Warehouse Management System (WMS). This is time-consuming, labor-intensive, low value-add, and also affected by labor issues. 

Drone-powered inventory monitoring is one way for warehouses to address the inventory challenge. One vendor leading the charge is Gather AI, which is the first established company using drones to automate inventory monitoring processes for warehouse operators to optimize profitability. With the Gather AI solution, drones fly autonomously through a warehouse and photograph pallet locations. Machine learning algorithms read bar codes and text to compare what’s read with what’s in the WMS. This means employees no longer spend long, tedious hours doing manual inventory with forklifts, and there’s less likelihood of misplacing product (no overordering, no more delayed shipments, and more). The warehouse manager can view inventory data in real-time from a web dashboard and easily identify and fix inventory exceptions, even creating a to-do list for their teams. This process is up to 15 times faster than manual cycle counting, and drone-powered inventory monitoring can be applied to virtually any warehouse type. 

Now, let’s look at a specific use case. Gather AI customer, Barrett Distribution, provides customized 3PL, DTC e-commerce fulfillment, omni-channel distribution, comprehensive transportation management and retail compliance for clients across apparel & footwear, health & beauty, CPG, consumer electronics, food, candy, grocery, and automotive.

VP of Business Process Optimization, Jim Rapoza, shares in this interview how in his opinion, the Gather AI technology has been tremendous. They’ve seen significant inventory speed improvement, especially in very narrow aisles (VNAs) and are scanning 300 or so locations per flight hour in VNAs, resulting in 1800-2000 license plates per flight hour. This allows their team members to do more value-added activities like researching variances, auditing, and training to support operations. He says “We’ve also seen improvements in DPPM upwards of up to 70% in a highly accurate facility.”

SVP of Customer Solutions, Scott Hothem, in a recent webinar talked about how Barrett was able to differentiate using the Gather AI solution. On a tour leading a prospective client through a facility, the client was so interested in the drones, they spent 30 minutes watching it and discussing the benefits. Scott says that was a disruptive event, and they ended up winning the business. He says “Customers love to see things that are new and different. At the end of the day, it’s not only your people, but also new and interesting technology and how it’s going to benefit them.” 

Other real examples of how autonomous drones have improved inventory monitoring processes: They reduced one company’s full inventory collection time from 90 days to 2.5 days and WMS error rate from 11% to 3% in three months. One company saved $350K by improving putaway efficiency, and another doubled their sales in one year. 

Gather AI started with three Carnegie Mellon University students, Sankalp Arora, Daniel Maturana and Geetesh Dubey, who were studying robotics. As a part of their PhD research, they developed the world’s first guaranteed safe full-scale autonomous helicopter, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and tested it in FBI training grounds in Quantico. The helicopter could avoid obstacles, land itself, cover 10 kilometers in under three minutes, and build a beautiful 3D map of the environment. The drones were curious about landing zones, wires, openings in buildings, and moving assets. That’s when these three further realized drones are excellent data-gathering machines. Their project won the Howard Hughes award, AUVSI Xcellence award, and was nominated for the Collier Trophy. 

The three transferred their research and passion for making drones curious to co-found Gather AI in 2018. 

As you’re planning inventory monitoring activities for next year and beyond, keep drone-powered inventory monitoring in mind. Your employees, customers and partners will thank you. 

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Inventory Software to Simplify Processes: Timly 

Inventory Software Simplifies the Process by Delegating It to Employees

Without modern inventory software, businesses often have to close for several days a year. Stocks are counted and documented for short periods of time instead of keeping track of inventory levels and consumables throughout the year. In times of remote work and cloud software, the classic, analogue inventory has fewer and fewer advantages.

Contemporary Inventory Management: App Instead of Slips of Paper

It is a laborious and inefficient process: the traditional filling out of paper lists during inventory to then manually transfer the collected data to Excel lists on the computer. It is no coincidence that for years we have been seeing more and more employees in warehouses and factory halls pointing a barcode scanner at packaging and equipment. Especially in production and trade, companies are increasingly turning to digital solutions.

However, it is not necessary to directly face all the challenges of Industry 4.0. Often, inventory software alone already brings about positive changes for the operational process. This is not only true for the retail and shipping sectors. Construction companies and service providers also benefit from digital inventory management. It provides a permanent overview of all vehicles, machines, IT equipment, furniture and consumables – from the warehouse to the remote workplaces to the workplaces of the employees.

It is worthwhile for companies of all sizes to distribute the inventory over several shoulders and to stretch it out over time. Inventory management software that runs on employees’ devices as well as on office computers organises this process – and prevents data loss due to hardware defects or short-term illness.

How Inventory Software Works: QR-Code for Object Identification

With inventory software, inventory officers can outsource parts of the process to employees. They know their equipment and vehicles. They often know better about raw material or machine parts than inventory assistants or external service providers.

An increasingly popular software for inventory management is Timly. The programme can be installed on the company’s own servers, but is usually purchased with secure cloud storage included. Company managers can activate access to the online inventory database for different employees. However, no user account is needed to enter inventory data, only an inventory invitation.

This is quickly sent in Timly, so that the inventory officer can fulfil his administrative role. Among other things, he or she can ask colleagues in the home office to enter their used company objects into the software or to confirm their continued use.

Generally, modern inventory programmes work with code labels on the inventory. In the past, these were often barcodes, but QR codes are becoming more and more popular. These can be easily scanned by smartphone and tablet, which takes you to the database entry of the inventory object. Depending on personal authorisation, information can be read or changed in this way.

Does Inventory Software Need Scanners and PCs?

Remote workers can be asked to scan their borrowed assets from home, not only for inventory purposes, but also to get an overview of the available company technology. This is possible without special hardware such as MDE devices; a common mobile device with a camera is sufficient.

But also warehouse workers, craftsmen or employees on assembly do not have to be equipped with MDE devices. For the inventory software, the normal company smartphone or work tablet equipped with the corresponding inventory app is sufficient.

Inventory software, such as Timly, ensures transparency in the company. Through a continuous inventory in real time, the administrative effort is reduced in total. In the end, this is worth money: having a centralised overview of the company inventory at all times reduces costs due to loss of materials and search efforts.

The compliance functions are also helpful: The integrated maintenance planner organises inspection intervals, maintenance documents and the scheduling of external service providers. Clear statistics on the age and performance of machines, vehicles, plants and equipment are generated.

A specialised, fee-based inventory software like Timly can be used flexibly and is adapted to the respective working environment and industry: User interface and database fields can be individually configured after purchase, and the competent inventory software team is available for additional software needs.

Better Than an Inventory Excel Template: Cloud-Based Software

Quite a few small and medium-sized companies still plan to store the data collected during inventory in Excel lists. They look for templates and hope that these will cover all the fields and topics that play a role in their everyday business. Unfortunately, inventorying with Excel quickly becomes confusing. Flexibility also suffers from a certain amount of data. In very large tables, employees easily look in the wrong cell and thus confuse dates, locations or status information.

With inventory software that works like Timly, on the other hand, you always know whether the target state of the inventory corresponds to the actual state. This transparency about inventory assets prevents equipment loss and downtime. Smart asset tracking software is key. The full overview of equipment, furniture and vehicles made possible by inventory software also includes being able, as a manager, to see which employees have already started their part of the inventory.

In the Timly Cloud, all inventory data is stored in such a way that authorised persons can access it from practically anywhere, instead of having to send and version an Excel spreadsheet.

Can Good Inventory Software Be Free?

Companies that have realised that an ordinary spreadsheet is not enough for stocktaking and perpetual inventory management are sometimes looking around for freeware stocktaking software. These do exist. They are usually bait offers where only rudimentary features can really be used “for free”.

Other free inventory programmes originate from the needs of individual companies and sectors and would have to be adapted at great expense to the needs of other companies. There are also numerous reports on efficient inventory software to be found on the internet.

Companies that prefer things to be uncomplicated and do not want to risk opportunity costs are better off opting directly for a fee-based solution where support and configuration are included in the scope of services. This type of software cost usually pays for itself after a short time which is why many businesses are already relying on innovative tools to help with their asset management.

Not only does employee satisfaction increase, but also occupational safety thanks to the maintenance planner functions that are included in comprehensive inventory software such as Timly.

ecommerce edesk subscription retailers

6 Inventory Management Tips for E-Commerce Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes offered online can be a viable business model, provided you can give the target market what it wants. Finding the items to stock an e-commerce subscription box with is more complex than it seems, but you can use various e-commerce inventory management strategies to ease the challenges.

1. Surprise People With the Contents of the E-Commerce Subscription Box

Many e-commerce subscription box companies build in flexibility by being upfront about how the contents vary. For example, you might promise they contain products from certain broad categories and tell beauty box subscribers they’ll always receive one item for their skin and another for their hair.

That approach frees you from the e-commerce inventory management challenges of having a minimum quantity of specific products. It also enables supplier diversification.

Plus, subscribers should appreciate being surprised but have accurate expectations about what they’ll receive. People may not always get items they love, but they’re prepared for that outcome.

2. Use Data Within Your E-Commerce Inventory Management Strategies

Data can be powerful for helping you improve the handling of e-commerce inventory management for your subscription boxes. Keeping track of metrics like how many customers you gain or lose per month can make it easier to stay on top of what you’ll need to keep the boxes stocked.

Adventuretown Toy Emporium is a Los Angeles-based toy store with a brick-and-mortar and online presence. It recently announced a customized subscription box tailored to kids aged 0–3. The company sources from 35 countries and puts one or two toys in each box.

People curate the boxes based on data from parents about whether their kids are meeting developmental milestones on time and the experiences the children had with previously received items. Those insights help the people filling the boxes choose relevant goods.

3. Sign Deals With Suppliers or Other Partners

Navigating the e-commerce subscription box landscape usually requires adhering to supplier minimums. That might mean you must buy in bulk from your box supplier. However, before placing an order, it’s better for businesses to see if they can request a sample. If boxes don’t assemble easily, it might not be worth it. Saving 5 seconds per box assembly can make teams more efficient and get products to customers quicker. 

Another possibility is to enter exclusive deals where an in-demand artist creates several box designs you’ll send out in a single month. That’s a great way to increase influencer traction as those personalities make their ever-popular unboxing videos. It also increases anticipation because people will wonder which designs they’ll get.

4. Be Honest About Slowdowns

Anything from bad weather to unexpected product shortages could make it more challenging to send subscription boxes on time. High demand can also increase problems. Even Amazon occasionally experiences them — during the 2021 Prime Days event, customers had to wait two weeks beyond the usual time frames to get an in-demand mini camera.

However, telling customers about any delays as soon as you learn about them is usually the preferable option to staying quiet. Besides informing them about slowdowns, be transparent about what you’re doing to solve them. Relatedly, admit which aspects are out of your control.

If necessary, create a dedicated part of your e-commerce subscription box website that provides the latest information as you get it. That could work better than sending out numerous emails customers may eventually overlook.

5. Provide Limited Choices When Feasible

Some subscription box companies let a restricted number of people choose between two offerings. Perhaps you have a snack subscription service and allow the first 1,000 customers to submit their preferences for either a salty or sweet treat from a particular brand. However, anyone who tries to do that too late will get whatever’s available.

Taking that approach should make it easier to engage with your supplier because you only need a minimum of 1,000 packages of each snack version. Beyond that, you have the flexibility to get whatever option is more reasonably priced, easier to source or has some other desirable characteristic.

However, customers typically like when you give them some options. This suggestion makes it easy to do that without putting too much strain on your supply chain. 

6. Specialize in Recurring Subscription Boxes

Company leaders often find it easier to source an e-commerce subscription box if the contents are somewhat consistent every month. Statistics from 2020 indicated people spent about $74 per month on food and meal kit subscriptions. If your subscription box is that type, you might allow people to choose a certain number of meals for a monthly rate. However, they need to select the ones they want so you can indicate when specific offerings sell out.

This strategy also works well if you have a well-established supply chain network in a particular region. You might sell a coffee subscription box and promise all recipients of February’s box will get an organic blend from a South American roaster. Mentioning that allows you to engage with all your suppliers on that continent to ensure they’ll collectively have enough products to fill the month’s boxes.

It’s also wise to encourage people to sign up for a minimum number of months and give them the option to renew. Knowing the precise number of people signed up to receive six months of a recurring subscription box makes it easier to figure out how to get adequate stock. Clarifying that people cannot cancel and restart their e-commerce subscription box plan at any time also makes inventory more manageable.

Set Up for Subscription Box Success

Managing subscription box inventory comes with specific challenges. However, planning thoroughly and following these suggestions will help you overcome obstacles.

Listen to your customers, too. If they love or dislike certain items, their feedback might be reason enough to prolong or end your relationship with particular suppliers.

inventory retail

How Inventory Financing Makes your Organization more Resilient

The global supply-chain crisis taught the business world a hard lesson: the prevailing just-in-time procurement strategy can collapse when there are widespread supply shortages and shipping delays for critical parts and materials.

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and in periodic spikes since, lockdowns in China caused port closures, slow movement of goods and higher freight costs. For companies that entirely depended on supply lines from affected areas, the disruption impacted  business sustainability.

Now, as the global economy rebounds from the depths of the crisis, many businesses are pivoting to a just-in-case model, incorporating stockpiles of critical parts and materials to better ride out future disruptions. This represents a tactical and seismic shift for many businesses.

The ongoing war in Ukraine—which has roiled energy markets and disrupted global access to Ukrainian and Russian grain commodities—is a clear reminder that the continued need to be laser-focused on supply chain resiliency is bigger than COVID-19. Preserving operational flexibility and access to critical inventories should be top of mind for business leaders, simply because no one can fully predict the next instance of volatility.

However, the just-in-case model,  can tie up vital working capital needed for expansion, growth and sustainability. In the fourth quarter of 2022,  U.S. business inventories, seasonally adjusted, were at the highest level in the past three decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Inventory financing solutions, which J.P. Morgan’s Trade and Working Capital team delivers to clients across sectors and industries, can help companies drive supply chain resiliency and business growth through: 

  • Optimized procurement for stronger purchasing power
  • Improved working capital and balance sheet ratios
  • Reduced carrying costs
  • Shortened Days Inventory Outstanding

As the current supply chain pinch eases and with consumer spending holding strong, now is the time for businesses to reassess their inventory management strategies to ensure readiness for the next period of market turbulence.

Anubhav Shrivastava is head of Trade & Working Capital for Commercial Banking at J.P. Morgan, where he leads a team responsible for helping clients access tailored financial solutions to manage their working capital, reduce cash conversion cycles and mitigate risk as they conduct business globally.

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Inventory Management Software Market is Projected to Hold US$ 6 Bn By 2032

The Inventory Management Software Market is set to grow from its current market value of more than $3 billion to over $6 billion by 2032; as reported in the latest study by Global Market Insights, Inc.

Inventory Management Software Market is anticipated to grow through 2032 owing to its capability of empowering users to track the complete asset lifecycle from procurement to retirement. In addition, inventory management software offers several benefits, such as improved visibility, fewer errors and discrepancies, fewer stockouts, efficient operations, reliable inventory planning and forecasting, and the ability to add new sales channels easily.

Besides, with constantly increasing investments in the manufacturing sector, the firms are adopting inventory management software to improve production planning, enable multi-channel integration, and gain more visibility of profits and margins in line with reducing operational costs.

In addition, the key providers in the market are also seeking to strengthen their foothold in the marketplace by expanding their portfolios and entering valuable mergers and acquisitions. Citing an instance, in January 2023, Albertsons launched a new inventory management system across banner stores. This rollout was supported by Afresh, the fresh food technology firm, and will assist store teams to plan better for the fresh production of food items, reduce food waste, and gather valuable data through their software.

Overall, the inventory management software industry is segmented in terms of type, application, deployment model, organization size, end-use, and region.

Considering the type, the manually managed inventory system segment held over 30% market share in 2022. Since manually managed inventory systems process simple computations related to inventory management, and complex calculations depend largely on the formulas entered by users, they are being increasingly adopted by small businesses.

Based on application, the asset tracking application segment is anticipated to witness considerable growth through 2032, as it helps improve asset inventory accuracy while reducing asset auditing efforts. Asset tracking also helps in cost savings owing to unnecessary equipment losses, labor costs, and subsequent duplicate purchases.

By organization size, the SME segment held over 60% market share in 2022. SMEs can leverage modern inventory management software to streamline their storage and distribution operations and gain a competitive advantage, which will augment the market demand during the next decade.

Regionally, the North America inventory management software industry was valued at over USD 1 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to register notable gains through 2032. The regional growth can be attributed to the increasing popularity of omnichannel retailing and the rapidly expanding e-commerce industry. As per reports, the total sales from the e-commerce section in the USA was USD 959.5 billion in 2021, which increased by 18.3% from 2020’s sales volume of USD 811.6 billion.

ROI 3PL distribution chargers made4net “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” logistics gather business

Gather AI Launches Dashboard Inventory Actions at ProMat to Help Customers More Efficiently Resolve Inventory Discrepancies

Founded in 2018, Pittsburgh-based Gather AI is now the first established company using drones to automate inventory monitoring processes for warehouse operators to decrease inventory costs, improve productivity and boost revenue.

 

With Gather AI’s solution, inventory drones can fly through a warehouse, photograph pallet locations, then compare the bar codes, text and images with the warehouse management system (WMS).
The Gather AI solution dashboard helps warehouse teams find and fix inventory exceptions. They can review a list of exceptions on their dashboard, scroll through each one, view the picture of the pallet location and determine what needs to happen next, including fixing the information in their WMS. All of this can be done at their desk instead of walking through their warehouse. The new inventory actions function allows teams to categorize specific actions to be taken and filter those to create their ‘to-do’ list.

 

Inventory actions help teams improve their productivity and track what’s been corrected so they know when an exception has been resolved. Gather AI’s product is deployed in warehouses across third-party logistics, retail distribution, manufacturing, food & beverage and health & beauty.

 

In 2022, Gather AI raised a $10M Series A, found 25,000 lost pallets for customers and scanned 8X more pallets than they did in 2021. Additionally, according to customer data, their solution is 15x faster than traditional cycle-counting processes.