2 Key Inventory Management Trends to Watch in 2024: AI and Sensor Technology

2 Key Inventory Management Trends to Watch in 2024: AI and Sensor Technology

Since inventory management is a common pain point for organizations in every sector, the need for technology to advance in this area is insatiable. Fortunately, with the recent growth of AI and various other innovations, there are finally tools that can help the hard-working inventory manager to thoughtfully and efficiently manage counts, replenishment, procurement and more. 

Now more than ever, it’s clear that organizations that do not adopt effective inventory optimization tools are likely to fall behind and encounter difficulties that will harm their bottom line. Two key trends driving transformation and efficiency for inventory managers are the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the availability of weight sensor technology. This article explores how these trends are revolutionizing inventory management practices and reshaping the way businesses approach stockroom control and optimization.

 

AI Inventory Management: Transforming Stockroom Inventory Control

AI tools work by interpreting large data sets and identifying patterns in the data. This allows them to make predictions, analyze a wide range of inputs, and quickly provide feedback. The abilities and the possible use cases for AI tools have increased exponentially in recent years, and they are now transforming the world of stockroom inventory control. 

AI inventory management tools can help perform the following tasks:

  • Predict demand
  • Optimize stock levels
  • Trigger procurement processes
  • Provide critical data and analytics insights 
  • Streamline supply chain operations 

Unlike traditional methods like physical inventory counts, AI-driven systems can analyze vast amounts of data in real-time, enabling businesses to adapt swiftly to changing market dynamics and consumer behavior. 

Embracing AI for Stockroom Inventory Optimization

Through the use of reliable AI tools in the stockroom, organizations can more accurately handle inventory replenishment and avoid losing revenue to items falling into obsolescence or stocking out. Tools like the eTurns AI Min/Max Dashboard, for example, clearly display how much cash businesses can remove from stockroom inventory without risking stockouts. 

The Impact of AI on Modern Inventory Management Systems

While inventory management systems have traditionally relied on tedious work for physical inventory counts and manual data crunching, modern inventory management systems add efficiency to the business process. 

AI tools take this a step further by performing tasks that have traditionally been left for humans to execute. From virtual AI assistants to algorithms that can predict industry risks, AI is making modern inventory management systems increasingly accurate and effective. 

 

The Power of Sensor Technology in Automated Inventory Management

The average inventory management system has been leveraging the power of sensors in one way or another for decades. With low-cost RFID sensors hitting the market and becoming a staple in the supply chain industry during the 1990s, the inventory management process entered a whole new era. While RFID sensors for digital kanban still fulfill core needs for many inventory management teams, there are now even more sensor technologies to take advantage of.

SensorBins: Pioneering Easier Physical Inventory Counts

While RFID sensors are still powerful, especially in conjunction with tailored inventory management systems like eTurns TrackStock, there are certain stockroom configurations that lend themselves better to other sensor solutions. SensorBins weight sensors offer an even more automated, hands-off inventory management and replenishment system. By converting the weight of the contents of each bin into item quantities, SensorBins provide real-time inventory counts and trigger automated replenishment orders when weights fall below set minimum thresholds. 

SensorBins are well-suited for vendor-managed inventory (VMI) services where they can extend the reach of a distributor’s salesforce by enabling distributors to monitor and trigger auto-replenishment orders 24/7 in remote locations. This inventory optimization method is reliable enough to use in situations where items absolutely cannot stock out, like in manufacturing or in clinics of consumable medical supplies. 

By analyzing your past usage, TrackStock’s AI Min/Max Dashboard can work together with SensorBins to optimize your min/max settings and therefore optimize inventory levels and annual carrying costs. This powerful automation eliminates the need for manual counting, reducing errors and saving valuable time and resources.

Electronic Shelf Labels: Inventory Replenishment With The Push of A Button

Electronic Shelf Labels (eLabels) transform inventory management systems in situations where inventory is too large or storage space is too small for SensorBins to be practical. With eLabels, anyone pulling inventory only needs to press the corresponding button directly on the shelf to trigger the inventory replenishment process. Min/max levels and reorder points are conveniently displayed on the labels, and the ease of use minimizes stockouts and improves overall efficiency. Helpful notifications display on the eLabels in red, such as “On Order”, “Backordered”, and “Shipped”. 

Try eLabels for self-service CMI replenishment!

Optimizing Inventory with eTurns: The Role of the AI Inventory Dashboard

In order to facilitate the most efficient and optimized inventory management experience, eTurns leverages the latest technology in the field. In addition to SensorBins and eLabels, eTurns TrackStock also integrates AI technology in the form of the AI Min/Max Dashboard.

Navigating the Inventory Dashboard for Strategic Management

Determining the perfect minimum and maximum inventory levels to prevent stock outs without keeping too much cash in inventory can be a balancing act and a dangerous experiment. The AI Min/Max Dashboard takes the guesswork out of min/max inventory management systems by using past usage data to suggest optimal min/max levels. 

Leveraging Data for Inventory Optimization Decisions

Inventory managers can view the potential savings and the cash value of inventory using the min/max AI dashboard. This dashboard provides inventory managers with real-time insights into stock levels, usage patterns, and optimal min/max level recommendations. 

By leveraging AI-driven analytics, businesses can make informed decisions to optimize inventory levels and minimize carrying costs. This data-driven approach ensures that businesses can adapt to changing market conditions and maximize profitability.

"Gexpro Services just implemented a 700 scale eTurns SensorBins Sensor-managed Inventory Solution at a large powergen manufacturer in Ohio. The customer was very impressed by the nearly $1M stock reduction and access to real-time on-hand inventory data." - Robert Connors, CEO - Gexpro Services

The Inventory Manager's Guide to 2024: Adapting to AI and Sensor Technologies

Adopting AI inventory management technology and innovative sensor-based tools into your inventory management processes is exciting, but it may also feel overwhelming. However, the process of adapting to the use of these tools on your team will be well worth it in the long run.

Best Practices for Inventory Managers in the AI Era

Inventory managers should invest in training and upskilling to harness the full potential of AI-powered systems. Working toward fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement is critical for conducting efficient and streamlined inventory management processes.

Implementing and Benefiting from Advanced Inventory Systems

To fully reap the benefits of AI and sensor technologies, businesses must invest in advanced inventory systems that truly fit their needs. Not all AI and sensor technology solutions are created equal, and some are a better fit for use cases with very specific parameters. Delving into the features of each tool available can help you select the best advanced inventory systems for your needs. 

Make 2024 the year you investigate if AI inventory management or weight sensor replenishment can remove the friction from inventory replenishment in your business. 

eTurns TrackStock is a leader in both of these inventory management systems.  With a wide range of advanced tools for enhanced data analysis, automated tracking, and easy replenishment, eTurns helps businesses in many sectors to save time and money on replenishing consumable supplies. To find out if we’re the best fit for your unique needs, get a free trial!

 

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Make 2024 the year to improve your inventory replenishment!

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SensorBins Electronic labels VMI & CMI AI Inventory Management Electronic Shelf Labels Auto-Replenishment Cycle Counts Carrying Cost Manufacturing Distribution Medical