Managing inventory can be a huge challenge. Inventory loss or shrinkage adds to the cost of goods produced, resulting in the need to charge higher prices than your competitors. Handling rack inventory also brings with it a number of other challenges which have to be resolved.
Here are some of the problems that you might experience properly managing your rack inventory:
Many of these problems are caused by not having proper asset tracking in place. Rack inventory is challenging to manage without a high level of automation.
RTLS, which stands for Real-Time Location System, is a location data application that makes a considerable difference for asset tracking. Every piece of inventory is tagged and its location is tracked by a system that employees can access by using even standard cell phones. This significantly reduces shrinkage and helps prevent assets from becoming lost or misplaced. It also removes the need to do specific inventory counts as, when properly used, the system will keep a real-time count. RTLS can also provide you with better visibility of your employees, allowing you to monitor productivity, improve warehouse training, and identify potential problems.
Traditional RTLS systems use RFID chips. Although there is a place for RFID chips, they are somewhat cumbersome. They require special scanners and for items to be manually scanned in and out. Some RFID systems can use cell phones, but the range of such systems is a couple of inches, essentially requiring employees to touch the item being scanned. Manual scanning increases the risk of human error. For example, a worker may think they have scanned an item out when it has not actually registered in the system.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons have a distinct advantage. They have a longer range. Beacons in the warehouse, generally set on a grid, talk to each asset independently, without the need for human input, and items being removed can be tracked automatically. This allows staff to do more important things. It also reduces the number of handlers needed for loading and unloading. The system can automatically alert managers if an asset that was not meant to leave the warehouse does. In some cases, a Bluetooth-based system allows for a reduction in staffing levels.
Finally, BLE-based systems are considerably cheaper than older RFID systems. Bluetooth beacons also use less power, resulting in lower energy bills and a reduced need to replace or recharge batteries.
Because Bluetooth-based asset tracking is highly automated, you need a high level of analysis to make proper use of the data. The data obtained by RTLS can also be used to optimize your warehouse systems and rack inventory management to save time and increase productivity.
Kontakt.io's Location Analytics Platform - Simon is designed to help apply data from the Internet of Things and real-time location systems to your workflow. This allows you to observe patterns and gain insights to help your business. The system integrates asset management with job time and production tracking, uptime tracking, and automated attendance. Real-time visibility allows for better analysis and use of data, and it further frees up employee time. Simon is available across multiple verticals and supports a variety of models that are designed to improve efficiency, productivity, and analysis of data for business outcomes.
Bluetooth-based inventory management and asset tracking systems allow for higher levels of automation and integration across your business. There is no need to do manual inventory anymore, and the cost of the system is considerably lower than older systems that use RFID tags. Because the system is highly automated, the amount of training needed by new employees is reduced. Employees can focus on efficient picking and ensuring that the truck is loaded on time, rather than worrying about counts and logs.
In other words, Bluetooth asset tracking is the state-of-the-art solution for rack inventory management. Companies that handle large amounts of inventory in their warehouse should consider moving to it. The system will readily pay for itself in reduced costs, often very quickly. Download a copy of our Beacon Buyer’s Guide today to learn more about BLE hardware and Kontakt.io’s solutions.