Current supply chain woes simply shed light on issues that insiders have known about for years. Whether goods are stuck at a port due to draconian regulations or raw materials for popular goods are in short supply, everyone is sure to feel the effects of an inefficient supply chain. When this happens, it’s no surprise that bright minds look to technology to solve problems. Cloud Inventory is a digital inventory management tool that uses cloud computing technology to gather and analyze data for more streamlined inventory management operations.
Here are five reasons why digital inventory management tools such as Cloud Inventory are needed in today’s ever-changing global economy.
More Multi-Tenant Warehouses
Technology makes it easier than ever before for nearly anyone to become a successful entrepreneur. Platforms such as Amazon make it possible for business operators to extend their reach into new markets using fulfillment warehouses and other third-party logistics (3PL) centers.
A shop owner ships his inventory to 3PL warehouses, and warehouse staff members ship the items to customers as they receive orders. By storing inventory at warehouses that are located in various geographic regions, the shop owner gets his merchandise to customers quickly and at lower shipping costs. The 3PLs have multiple clients, and processing orders for a series of multi-tenant warehouses at various locations can be a challenge without the right inventory management tools. Cloud-based digital inventory management systems help these centers to pick, pack, and ship the right items to the appropriate people at the right times.
Increasing Political and Regulatory Constraints
State governments have been pushing green initiatives for some time now. Most notably, California has committed itself to some aggressive sustainable energy goals and emissions standards. However, the state’s timing for implementing at least one of its emissions-reduction standards couldn’t be worse. After the state’s economy struggled to restart due to prolonged COVID-19 shutdowns, local regulations now require trucks that operate at certain Southern California (SoCal) ports to be newer than 2014 to be allowed to enter the ports.
This is a real struggle for small, owner-operator trucking companies that bought their trucks with longevity in mind. A digital inventory management system can help warehouses and drivers to stay compliant without sacrificing productivity. Goods that are destined for SoCal ports can be flagged within the inventory management system so that drivers use only newer trucks to enter those ports to transport the items but use older trucks to drive long-haul routes to other areas.
Rise in Businesses Going International
It used to be that when a small business faced too much competition in its local market, it had to expand its offerings to include complementary products that enriched its brand. Today, business operators have the option to make their products available to new customers in overseas markets. They can produce their goods in their home markets and ship the completed inventory to overseas warehouses for easy delivery to customers who live nearby. They can also direct overseas manufacturers to make and ship products to customers who live in the area or around the world. To keep track of inventory that’s destined for overseas warehouses, you’ll need a digital inventory management platform that integrates with the different enterprise resource management tools that each international warehouse uses.
Heightened Security Threats
Technological advancements weren’t only a gift to ambitious business owners. They also inadvertently birthed a whole new category of criminals. These high-tech thugs target high-value freight and steal with alarming precision. With a cloud-based inventory management system in place, you can find out the location and authenticity of your inventory at any time. You’ll know when those valuable goods move from one warehouse to the next and when they are safely delivered to their final retail destinations.
Increased Threat of Inventory Damage
If you’ve ever researched Amazon’s fulfillment center operations, you know that the company goes to great lengths to make sure that goods arrive at their destinations undamaged. However, some damage can’t be avoided.
For instance, ocean-going shipping vessels were delayed at SoCal ports for so long that goods such as leather shoes and handbags arrived at retail stores moldy and mildewed. With a digital inventory management system in place, you’ll be able to track the condition of goods and their movements at each supply chain touch point. The damaged leather goods were caused by political and regulatory constraints in this case. However, the right inventory management system can help shippers and retailers track these types of issues and develop appropriate workarounds.
As supply chain activities become more complex, the chances for human errors and profit margin erosion increase. A tool such as Cloud Inventory brings the visibility that supply chain managers need to keep goods moving across all markets.