Thursday, November 17, 2011

Toy Story Paradox: Future of Inventory Management Software and Techniques

We are surrounded by inventory. The chair we sit on, the laptop we type on or the fancy 200$ jacket we are wearing; everything constitutes inventory. Just imagine, what if your inventory had a mind of its own? Well, that would make our life more challenging as “inventory management” is no child’s play. And that is exactly the reality that “Toy Story” movies portray.

In Toy Story 2, think about the entire inventory at Al’s Toy Barn and the airport that was either damaged or lost because of a few toys’ actions:

· A Buzz Lightyear doll leaves his display and an Emperor Zurg doll breaks out of his box.
· Mr. Potato Head crashes a toy car into several objects while traveling through the store.
· A huge container of bouncy balls tips over, causing a big mess and making it difficult to recover all of them.
· Buzz knocks over a display of board games and action figures, possibly damaging them.
What a mess! People are constantly losing toys in these movies, not because they misplaced them, but because the toys moved.
All managers must heave a sigh of relief that this does not happen in real life and that they have inventory management software that helps them keep a track of the inventory in their store.

Gone are the days, where the store staff ran around the stores with their notepads and pencils keeping a track of which commodity needs stocking on the shelves and when, where and how to order inventory. Inventory management software does all this and more at the click of a mouse.

Companies have to constantly adjust their inventory levels to stay competitive in today’s demanding market. Great inventory management software provides them with that cutting edge by imparting knowledge, speed and accuracy. The software empowers the business by keeping business owners up to date on all aspects of their inventory right from consumer demand to order placement to shipping. Inventory management is important for all business segments. Microsoft caters to all the segments and provides Point of Sale (POS) solutions for small and medium business helping them manage their inventory. The video link below gives a summary of that

In addition, inventory management software can increase the speed of filling orders and cycling through large inventories. Employees can easily reorder items before they start to run out and start filling purchase orders the minute they come in with a few barcode scans.

However, with the advent of QR code, there finally seems to be a platform through which inventory management and marketing could happen using a unified technology. The QR code is capable of handling all types of data, such as numeric and alphabetic characters, Kanji, Kana, Hiragana, symbols, binary, and control codes. Up to 7,089 characters can be encoded in one symbol which is way more than the 20 digits that a barcode can handle. The QR codes embody all the benefits of barcodes and in addition to it are smaller in size, dirt resistant, tamper proof and readable in any direction in 360°.

Companies have already started using QR codes for marketing by employing them on their products while continuing to use barcodes for inventory management.

Do you think that QR codes could be used in the future for inventory management as well as marketing?

Would smart inventory management software be designed that can help manage inventory and also do analysis on which markets result in more revenue based on how many customers used the QR code to get product information and then gone on to buy the product?

Only time will tell!!

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