With the holiday season now upon us, many in the manufacturing industry are likely pumping out more product than they do at other points in the year. However, all that hustle and bustle can lead to kinks in the supply chain if companies aren't doing enough to properly track materials as they come in and are used in the manufacturing process, and finished products as they go out the door.

As such, now is a good time to carefully evaluate whether a manufacturer's inventory management software is up to snuff with what they need, according to a report from Robotics and Automation News. Often, these kinds of assessment efforts should take a top-down view of how companies handle all aspects of the production process, with a particular focus on how effectively things are being tracked on the production floor.

Why is this important?
One of the most effective innovations to come out in the past few years when it comes to managing inventory is the use of NAV barcode scanning, the report said. This is helpful as a means of having the most accurate count possible of what's on hand, establishing when supplies are running low or there's more material on hand than is needed at the present time. Using that information can help executives make the best possible decisions about when, what, and how much to order from suppliers.

Further, barcoding can also help track finished products as they come off the line and either go to warehouse shelves or head out the door for delivery, the report said. This way, even as sales get busier, there's a significantly diminished chance that items get lost in the shuffle.

Assess all the options
Meanwhile, while NAV barcoding is continually catching on within the industry, so too are other inventory management solutions, according to a report Manufacturing Business Technology. As a consequence, it will be vital for companies to carefully assess their needs in this regard, and then examine all the options available to them. Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, each manufacturer's unique needs can likely be met by a slew of options. With that having been said, some will likely be more effective than others based on their requirements.

Barcoding is starting to share more of the market with emergent technologies, but mobile devices will likely keep it just as relevant as it has been for decades, the report said.

While it may be a little late in the game to start adopting new barcoding technology for this holiday season, it's always a good time for executives to start that decision-making process as soon as possible. The more regularly companies assess their abilities to handle these issues, the better off they will be for meeting modern manufacturing challenges head on.

For more information on improving efficiency with barcode technology, download the free white paper entitled "Keeping the Physical World and the Virtual World in Sync" from Insight Works.