Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Take the Inventory Management to the cloud

What are the efficient ways for companies to manage their inventory and track their assets?
Manually count? Too slow, too outmoded, and too problematic.
Nowadays, almost every product you receive from a company has a unique barcode, which is tracked by every move from factory to your hand. Besides the unique barcode used for tracking and verifying identity, many companies also include a returning label for each product in order to better and more efficiently manage the returned product and current inventory. As I can see from the parcels I received, nicely wrapped product bears a barcode and an additional returning label/returning form. It’s easier for both clients and organizations to track and manage the product.

Barcode tracking is not a new concept to us. Traditionally, companies use client/server based inventory management and asset tracking application. As the inventory management becomes an increasing digital practice, forward-thinking companies are trying to capitalize on technological advancement and to implement new solutions to enhance their daily operations. Except for the traditional scanners, smartphone containing tracking applications are now widely introduced. Thus the more accessible smartphones allow companies to process information with greater efficiency. What’s more important, smartphones with online capabilities could enable users to store scanned information and data in new different ways.

In big data era, Cloud Computing has become a major component of information sharing and analysis. Many organizations are benefiting from the ability to share and access data remotely from a number of devices. So changing inventory management from client/server based to web-based platform, companies in the supply chain system could save costs as well as increase operational efficiency by saving deployment and overall maintenance time and increasing real-time collaboration within the team.

Cloud-based inventory management and asset tracking applications are faster to deploy and involve lower IT infrastructure costs than the traditional client/server based product.  Additionally, any updates or enhancements to the platform are supplied automatically to the user; companies do not have to purchase and individually install software updates to every individual server and/or desktop computer within the organization — as they would need to with a client/server solution. 

Here is one example for cloud-based inventory management and asset tracking software:

Fishbowl Inventory with Hosted Services.

Fishbowl is the #1 selling inventory management software that integrates with QuickBooks and provides the following powerful features:

QuickBooks integration
Multiple locations
Order management
Barcode tracking
Serial and lot number tracking
Manufacturing capabilities
Asset tracking

But here is my thought: with all the good features about cloud computing, web-based inventory management and asset tracking becomes more and more popular. When all the data is stored in the cloud, how can a company to keep its confidential business intelligence secure? What contingency plan or prevention methods would be if there were a data breach? Increasing the operational efficiency and cutting costs are the pros of web-based platform, companies should also pay attention to data security.


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