Inventory is lifeblood. Move it through the supply chain in the right way and it keeps a manufacturing business operating as it should. Interrupt movement, and everything is affected.
But inventory movement has always relied on a bit of a magic formula. Based on your supply chain, it takes x amount of time to get a widget from here to there. If you anticipate the demand properly, all works well. However, if you miscalculate demand and don’t have product where it needs to be at the right time, you lose sales. Similarly, if you overestimate demand and inventory ends up sitting on the shelf, you’re stuck with wasted capital.
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Use data to predict inventory needs
Modern manufacturers don’t need to guess or hope for the best any more thanks to smart inventory. Smart inventory is based on the premise that by using data in an intelligent way, you’re able to better predict when and where your inventory is needed. Smart inventory uses a combination of the analytics that come with Microsoft Azure, machine learning, and Azure services.
Take, for example, vending machines. Imagine that a city has a heatwave, and suddenly everyone’s buying ice-cold sodas. Vending machine sales go through the roof, but inventory depletes quickly. Now, imagine that the supplier uses smart inventory. Azure data services would flag the heatwave in advance and get the right inventory to the right place at the right time.
Another example is a company that manufactures generators. Smart inventory can use data to identify areas where the next big flood or hurricane is likely to hit. Understanding where need will increase means that the manufacturer can ensure that generators will be readily available when the time is right.
Smart inventory brings big benefits
Employing smart inventory in either of these scenarios increases revenue, decreases cost –– by anticipating a spike in sales and reallocating product to where it’s in high demand versus having it sit untouched elsewhere –– and boosts cash flow. And it does it automatically, removing the manual process relying on trial and error.
The other benefit of smart inventory is providing a clear line of visibility into what lives where. Manufacturers, especially those that have grown over time, have multiple systems, and it can be challenging to accurately and effectively track and allocate product within the supply chain. Smart inventory changes the view, providing a holistic look without the need to manually manipulate inventory.
For many manufacturers, the challenge begins with deciding how to connect the data. To take advantage of the opportunities of working with data services in the cloud, you need a proper platform.
Quisitive has a step-by-step methodology to help you get there. Our On-Ramp to Azure Data provides a proven process to move your data to the cloud so you can start reaping the benefits of smart inventory.