Data makes the world go around — it’s as simple as that. The vast majority of businesses are now run primarily by computers and technology. The majority of financial records, for businesses and individuals, are tracked and stored through big data nowadays.
Inventory is no different, of course. Understanding how data is shaping inventory management will help you become more efficient and knowledgeable as an inventory manager in 2018 and beyond. Here are some important ways data is being used and progressing in the inventory world, as well as what it should mean to you.
There’s a lot going around about the “monetary value” of data, according to Maryville University. What that term means is not literal cash value of data, but that technology and data have a lot to offer in terms of efficient management. The better your data system is able to be utilized, the more efficiently your business will be ran. In turn, your chances of making money should increase.
Of course, this data utilization has sometimes led people to hold too much faith in it. After all, these technological systems are made by humans and are able to have flaws. In his 2015 Forbes article, “Has Our Faith In Data Been Misplaced,” Greg Satell wrote, “even the most powerful systems require human input and judgment, which means that a purely technological approach is sure to go awry.” He lists several examples, including one from super chain Target, of this happening as proof to his point.
The possibilities of data have pushed business structures to new heights and roles, according to Villanova University. Supply chain analytics are used in everything from manufacturing to distribution. Networks such as IIoT (industrial internet of things) use data to detect trends of flaws within the routine a company operates through. Previously, this was observed by eye and could take much longer.
When it comes to inventory specifically, the cloud is changing the way information is stored and saved. With each passing year it becomes more common for companies to use cloud systems for this purpose, but more recently a trend has emerged in using third-party cloud businesses for that. This means that a business is outsourcing their backups to another company specially designed to do only that. Big data has given us less need for physical appliances and more abilities to work together in this way.
Ear to the Ground
The way businesses operate as a whole is in the middle of changing right now due to this data upheaval in our society. It’s very important to watch trends as they come and go and try new things that may be more efficient. Keeping your ear to the ground is a way to learn and change with the times so you don’t have to catch up later.
Currently, data is pushing inventory management toward keeping records completely digitally. Analytics, real-time data updates, order management systems and more cloud progressions are being utilized in inventory management right now. Next year it could be something different, but it’s important to know where technology is taking us, because it could be the difference between improving efficiency and falling behind.
How do you use data in your inventory management? What innovative ways do you have of keeping records, storing and sharing information, and the like? Feel free to share in the comments below!