The importance of effective inventory management in the manufacturing industry cannot be overstated. There are a huge number of inventory management systems available on the market. Three most common elements of all of these are:
A) Manual data entry
C) RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
However before even thinking of introducing any stock management solutions there are a number of factors to consider, as having an ill fitting solution could be just as detrimental as having none at all. It is vital to assess all of your operations and tailor a viable system. Three vital areas of assessment would be:
You need to first consider who will be using the system. The importance of streamlining of inventory must come from management and filter throughout the entire company. Everyone should understand and be able to use the new system efficiently.
No amount of technology introduced will improve inefficient processes . The end result of the customer receiving their order in an accurate, timely and cost effective manner is key. Extra tasks in operations reduce accuracy and can be costly to a company. Any outdated, superfluous, task must be identified and removed.
You should now be in a position to find the best technological solution to effectively manage your inventory.
This system is still sufficiently effective for a lot of smaller businesses with few SKUs and small overhead budgets. However keeping manual logs, using Excel Spread sheets and manual data entry can be very time consuming, tedious and the margin for human error is huge.
The introduction of a simple barcoding system can streamline even the smallest of businesses. Accurate, live updates of incoming, outgoing and processed stock means that cost efficiency is optimised. Raw materials, re-order levels and stock on hand means that even the smallest business will have complete real time information to keep costs and sales in tandem. Everything is tagged with a unique identification number.
Additional information such as serial/part numbers, production dates can be embedded into the barcode and tied back into databases. This would help a manufacturer keep accurate tabs on inventory and be able to track the chain of custody of every item until it reaches the customer.
RFID systems are fast becoming more popular within the manufacturing industry. There are two very different and specific types of RFID tag systems
i. Passive RFID
ii. Active RFID
These tags can be read at high speeds of up to eight hundred tags per minute and they broadcast data either passively to readers that pick up the signals or actively via their own power supply. They are initially more expensive than barcode systems however they are re-usable and costs have reduced dramatically since their introduction.
This would be used in tracking smaller parts in a plant where gateway detection and limited read range would apply. For instance if you had thousands of components of a machine rather than fitting each component you would tag the stock bin they are contained in and track this.
These work with real time interfacing. They would be used in the manufacturing industry for tracking asset of high value or varied material flow. For example in the computer industry mother boards or processors could be tagged and the manufacturer would be able to see the computer being built and how many there are at any given stage.
ADC Barcode recognises that a lot of manufacturing industries may not fit into any one category above and one solution may not be the best fit. This could involve a hybrid of any or all of the above.
Contact one of our experts if you would like advice on implementing the best tailor made solution for your manufacturing business.
ADC Barcode is involved in the supply of barcode scanners, barcode label printers, barcode verifiers and label applicators. We also provide custom software, EPOS systems & hardware, RFID and wireless networking technology amongst other professional services. Get in touch now and obtain more information.