Businesses, in an effort to have operations running as efficiently as possible, can adopt physical inventory software and other automated inventory control systems to boost output and increase profit margins.
Over the past six months, U.S. enterprise productivity has been steadily on the rise. According to numbers compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-farm industry productivity increased by 0.7 percent during the first three months of 2013, with output rising 2.5 percent during that same period. Market Realist reported that this is a significant boost from the last three months of 2012, when productivity was observed at minus 1.7 percent.
One of the core ways that individual companies can boost their productivity is by automating manual processes, according to Manufacturers' Monthly. In particular, companies have been increasingly leveraging new technologies such as automated inventory control systems to improve factory floor output and logistics initiatives.
"The drive for safety and efficiency remains," Manufacturers' Monthly contributor Matt McDonald wrote. "What has increased almost exponentially is the potential to develop new automation and safety systems. Technology has opened a lot of potential doors to efficiency experts and engineers alike."
In particular, companies are using inventory control software to provide a more customized consumer experience. Although the prevailing notion behind automation is that it facilitates a homogenization of production, the news source reported that many firms now use these systems to more effectively track unique items during production and while in storage facilities. Instead of making costly manual changes to supply chain processes, companies can now leverage automated systems to more quickly and cost effectively tailor offerings.
Overcoming potential automation challenges
Despite the many benefits that firms can realize by automating manual production and warehouse management practices, many barriers to adoption exist. Perhaps most notably, proponents of manual efforts claim that while automation saves time, companies lose out on quality by not having employees oversee the process. In addition, many workers fear that increased factory and warehouse automation will result in lost jobs.
However, these fears are unfounded, according to Manufacturers' Monthly. Automation practices still require human oversight, but these solutions help to remove the error rates inherent in manual processes. This makes customers happy, ensuring that a company far more likely to remain profitable and able to retain employees. In addition, automated processes ensure that workers are not subjected to difficult working conditions, and often companies with these solutions in place will provide additional training to current employees to make their efforts more critical to future initiatives.
"By introducing automation, they are up skilling their people and getting them involved in it," Jeff Walker, national sales manager of Sick Australia and New Zealand, told Manufacturers' Monthly. "What it's created is opportunities for employers to grow the education, the knowledge and competencies and capabilities of their own people."
Although automated inventory control systems will not cure all issues within the average warehouse, these solutions do enable businesses to be more productive and profitable.
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