April 2011 | Commentary | IT Matters

Going Mobile: Optimizing Inventory Management

Tags: Logistics I.T.

Rick Pontin is CEO, Airclic, 215-504-0560

One of the easiest ways to save money in your organization is by operating efficiently and productively, with no wasted resources. Central to this strategy is having the right amount of product at the right time—no more, no less. By optimizing inventory, organizations are able to improve customer service levels up to 25 percent, according to technology research firm Gartner.

Achieving optimal inventory management requires a delicate balance. An inventory surplus is a drain on a company’s budget because it ties up cash that could be invested elsewhere. An inventory shortage can lead to missed sales opportunities, poor customer service, and even penalties if the business fails to meet service-level agreements.

Inventory managers need sufficient real-time data to eliminate excess inventory levels while increasing their ability to meet customer demand. Mobile supply chain solutions deliver the information managers need to predict their inventory requirements and avoid shortages.

If a store does not have a part on hand, for example, the inventory manager can quickly create cross-coverage to ensure the item is sent from another store. With real-time visibility into their entire inventory, managers can make strategic decisions that enhance their businesses’ efficiency.

the right tools for the job

Investing in mobile supply chain management technologies that provide detailed inventory visibility—where the product is, how much there is, and when and how to move the product from Point A to Point B in the supply chain—helps companies easily and effectively optimize their inventory. Through visibility to the movement of goods, businesses can avoid the pitfall of keeping product on the shelves for too long—and delaying cash liquidity.

On the other hand, cutting inventory levels can result in missed sales opportunities and lost customers. The data captured by mobile supply chain management solutions, however, can offer detailed information on which products are in demand and which are not.

Given the complicated nature of inventory management, it is key to find the right mobile software provider who understands all aspects of your business and your specific supply chain needs. When evaluating mobile software providers, look for these features:

  • Experience working with organizations similar to yours.
  • A Software-as-a-Service delivery model, which is scalable and cost-effective.
  • Strategic partnerships with carriers and integrators that can link mission-critical supply chain applications.
  • A platform- and device-inclusive solution. These products can work on any mobile phone or computer and seamlessly integrate into your existing business environment.
  • Accelerated implementation that has the system running in fewer than 30 days.
  • Superior training and support, which results in faster employee adoption.
  • Rapid return on investment, which will please your upper management.

Investments in mobile supply chain solutions are a vital step in achieving optimized inventory management. When inventory is optimized through the application of better technology and advanced processes, businesses can drive down costs, leverage market opportunities, and improve customer loyalty.