Inventory Management is the management of inventory and stock. As an element of supply chain management, inventory management includes aspects such as controlling and overseeing ordering inventory, storage of inventory, and controlling the amount of product for sale.
The role of IIoT in inventory management boils down to turning the data fetched by RFID readers into meaningful insights about inventory items’ location, statuses, movements, etc., and giving users a corresponding output.
Moreover, inventory management solutions based on Industrial IoT can be integrated with other systems like an ERP and share data with other enterprise’s departments.
Maintenance Quality Assurance
- CASE STUDIES
Remote Temperature Monitoring of Perishable Goods Saves MoneyRMONI was facing temperature monitoring challenges in a cold chain business. A cold chain must be established and maintained to ensure goods have been properly refrigerated during every step of the process, making temperature monitoring a critical business function. Manual registration practice can be very costly, labor intensive and prone to mistakes.Impinj: Hospital Inventory ManagementThe hospital supply chain team is responsible for ensuring that the right medical supplies are readily available to clinicians when and where needed, and to do so in the most efficient manner possible. However, many of the systems and processes in use at the cancer center for supply chain management were not best suited to support these goals. Barcoding technology, a commonly used method for inventory management of medical supplies, is labor intensive, time consuming, does not provide real-time visibility into inventory levels and can be prone to error. Consequently, the lack of accurate and real-time visibility into inventory levels across multiple supply rooms in multiple hospital facilities creates additional inefficiency in the system causing over-ordering, hoarding, and wasted supplies. Other sources of waste and cost were also identified as candidates for improvement. Existing systems and processes did not provide adequate security for high-cost inventory within the hospital, which was another driver of cost. A lack of visibility into expiration dates for supplies resulted in supplies being wasted due to past expiry dates. Storage of supplies was also a key consideration given the location of the cancer center’s facilities in a dense urban setting, where space is always at a premium. In order to address the challenges outlined above, the hospital sought a solution that would provide real-time inventory information with high levels of accuracy, reduce the level of manual effort required and enable data driven decision making to ensure that the right supplies were readily available to clinicians in the right location at the right time.Microsoft: SML Intelligent Inventory SolutionsSML Intelligent Inventory's customers, some retail and supply chain businesses wanted a cost-efficient way to improve their inventory management so that they can increase their revenue.
- MARKET SIZE
- BUSINESS VIEWPOINT
What are the benefits of an IoT-based approach on Inventory Management?
IoT-based inventory management lays a solid foundation for both process and business improvements. The benefits it offers include:
- Automation of inventory tracking and reporting: each item is tracked and the data about it is recorded to a big data warehouse automatically.
- Constant visibility into the inventory items’ quantity, location, and movements
- Inventory optimization: with the real-time data about the quantity and the location of the inventory items, manufacturers can lower the amount of inventory on hand while meeting the needs of the customers at the end of the supply chain.
- Identifying bottlenecks in the operations: manufacturers can reveal bottlenecks in the manufacturing process and pinpoint machines with lower utilization rates.
- Lead time optimization: By providing inventory managers with the data about the amount of available inventory and machine learning-driven demand forecasts, solutions based on IIoT allow manufacturers to reduce lead times.
- STAKEHOLDER VIEWPOINT
- TECHNOLOGY VIEWPOINT
What technology does Inventory Management use?
What are the main features components in RFID systems?
RFID systems feature three main components: RFID tags, RFID antennas and RFID readers.
- An RFID tag has an ID carrying the information about a specific object. It can be attached to any physical surface, including raw materials, finished goods, packages, crates, pallets, etc.
- An RFID antenna catches the waves from the reader to supply energy for tags’ operation and relays the radio signal from the tags to the readers.
- An RFID reader, which can be either fixed or handheld, uses radio waves to write to and read from the tags.
- DATA VIEWPOINT
How data is obtained in the system?
In an inventory management solution based on Industrial IoT and RFID, any individual inventory item that is to be tracked receives an RFID tag. Each tag has a unique identification number (ID) that contains encoded digital data about an inventory item, e.g. a model, a batch number, etc. Tags are scanned by RFID readers. Upon scanning, a reader extracts tags’ IDs and transmits them to the cloud for processing.
- DEPLOYMENT CHALLENGES
What are the challenges and limitations?
The use of RFID technologies can be limited by the following factors:
- Since RFID tags can be attached to the items that are still in progress, manufacturers have to ensure that the tags do not influence the manufacturing process.
- Although RFID readers can scan through most of the non-metallic materials, they still may have troubles scanning through liquid and metal.
- The price of RFID readers can go to as much as $3,000 to $20,000 per item, installation and configuration included. Therefore, the cost of the products should be high enough for the tags and readers to pay off.