As we approach the end of the year and 2020’s peak season, Avalon Integration has begun to dive into the key traits that make up efficient inventory management and streamlined workflows. After dealing with an unimaginable yearly increase in online purchases over the year, retailers, e-tailers, and warehouses have cited several common pain points, including:
- Crashing order sites
- Fast-draining inventory
- Surprise out-of-stocks
- Unavailable delivery for non-essential items
- Delayed shipment due to overworked 3PL services
- Spoiled inventory lost in different steps of the supply chain
Despite the effects, COVID-19 brought upon supply chains worldwide, Salesforce researchers estimate in-store services such as curbside pickup and click-and-collect will see a 90% increase as over a third of holiday shopping will be conducted online. Since omnichannel shopping already makes up almost 20% of purchases in the U.S., organizations must stay ahead of inventory management by increasing identification efficiency, communication, and predictive analytics.
Increasing Identification Efficiency
Today’s product variety has placed a greater demand for efficient on-the-go identification to avoid order inaccuracy. That means your labels must be strong enough to retain information from the door to dock to the shelf to the customer. Underperforming labels can slow down productivity by falling off, fading away, or scratching printheads. Constant label reprints can add up financially in the long run while also causing bottlenecks.
To avoid these pitfalls, Avalon continues to recommend Zebra Certified Consumables to bolster label efficiency. Built with pretested materials, Zebra’s labels eliminate the effects of subpar labels by delivering barcodes that:
- Survive in extreme temperatures and humidity
- Remain sticky in and out of the warehouse for continuous identification
- Consolidate identification information with RFID technology for lower TCO
- Eliminates residual adhesive and debris that can damage printheads
Researchers suggest that out-of-stocks may be more damaging than lost sales since it impacts brand identity in the long run. To keep inventory levels from dwindling too quickly, several organizations have invested in real-time connectivity within the supply chain. This also helps minimize the shipment costs spent on quick replenishment and storage.
Modernized warehousing has given room to next-generation mobile computing, which can assist in diffusing crucial information throughout your workforce via WiFi in near real-time. Zebra’s mobile computers such as the MC9300 and TC7X go a step farther by streamlining data entry with real-time visibility, so your teams have access to current stock numbers while monitoring:
- Incoming orders
- Picking pace
- Estimated time of delivery
- Returned shipments
Increasing Predictive Analytics
While the future is always full of change, Avalon Integration works hard in equipping clients with predictive analytics that provide actionable insight into operations, so you can best prepare for change based on current and past trends within your own unique operations.
Real-time locationing systems such as RFID tracking and Zebra’s Visibility IQ (built with SavannahTM) consolidate several metrics into meaningful digested analytics for easy KPI tracking. A few KPI’s to keep an eye for include:
- Accuracy of available inventory
- Inventory turnover
- Carrying costs
- Rate of returns
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that it is never too early to be prepared. Contact us today to begin assessing your inventory management system for a smoother and more profitable peak season.