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Top challenges in inventory management and how to overcome them

Inventory management is an integral part of any functioning enterprise. From optimising the different moving parts within a supply chain to managing the company’s physical and IT assets, inventory management can be a great strategic step towards improving performance efficiency. However, inventory management is not without challenges. Many factors – from manual tracking and operational efficiencies to outdated devices or software – can make it challenging to manage inventory effectively.
Let us delve deep into the solutions to the most common inventory management problems.

Top eight inventory management challenges

Different industries face different challenges in various aspects of inventory management. From procurement issues to lack of visibility, businesses, small and large alike, face challenges that they must overcome to ensure effective inventory management.

Here are the eight most common inventory management challenges – and their solutions – that businesses today face:

Manual processes

One of the greatest obstacles to effective inventory management is manual processes. Rife with human errors, manual processing is possibly one of the most expensive inventory management issues. However, the solution to this inventory management problem is also probably one of the simplest. Embracing automation in inventory management and tracking can easily eliminate human errors from the process and make the systems more efficient. Although initial costs and the "fear of the unknown" keep many from adopting technologies, businesses become enthusiastic about them once they experience the advantages of the streamlined processes.

Inventory tracking

The challenges of manual processes also extend to effective inventory tracking, as manual entries or outdated software solutions can result in inaccuracies. Centralised tracking solutions can help optimise inventory tracking and automate updates to enhance inventory management and stay agile in today’s highly competitive market.

Inventory visibility

Limited real-time inventory visibility is often at the heart of inventory loss, which can be a costly issue for modern businesses. However, with the level of oversight contemporary digital systems can provide, this inventory management challenge is easy to overcome. With customised and strategically implemented inventory network solutions, you can achieve end-to-end visibility and get real-time insights into inventory levels.

Multiple systems in use

A vast array of systems and solutions are available today to assist inventory management and asset tracking. However, implementing multiple systems can result in even more moving parts, making it difficult to integrate all the solutions effectively, keep everything straight, and achieve the desired inventory management objectives. A centralised approach to inventory management can help overcome this issue, limiting confusion from having to coordinate between different systems and facilitating efficiency, accuracy, and security.

Supply chain disruptions

Supply chain disruptions, especially in the last few years, have exposed inventory management vulnerabilities and difficulties in planning ahead. Fostering flexibility, agility, and the ability to pivot at a moment's notice is crucial to overcoming this challenge and ensuring your bottom line remains unaffected. Leveraging data analytics for accurate demand forecasting – with access to real-time data – can help overcome this challenge, allowing you to make adjustments on the go.

Warehouse operational efficiency

Warehouses are one of the most significant components of inventory management and are also one of the greatest sources of inefficiencies. Regularly examining and updating the warehouse management processes can help you ensure consistent productivity. Inventory tracking and visibility also play a key role here, helping spot inefficiencies and make timely adjustments.

Accurate reporting

Today’s complicated business landscape makes it difficult to understand and discern inventory cycles, leading to inaccurate reporting and a lack of actionable insights. Reporting solutions can help you gain much-needed clarity about different variables, including stock levels, turnover ratios, or profitability. With these insights, you can optimise your inventory and overcome major inventory management challenges.

Outdated devices and technology

Outdated systems, devices, and technology are not only less efficient but also open your inventory management workflow to a variety of security risks. You need to identify and update or replace such devices to make sure you can keep up with the rapidly changing business environment and avoid security breaches and downtimes. Keeping track of your systems and IT assets can help you overcome this challenge with timely updates about the devices that need repairs and replacements.

From network-as-a-service delivery model, network of networks, and OSS umbrella to multi-layered abstractions, network slicing, and the need to create a “single source of truth” in the siloed environment, keeping track of your IT and network assets can often be one of the biggest inventory management challenges in today’s technology-driven landscape. Effective inventory network solutions can be useful in overcoming this challenge, especially as you deal with the ever-evolving IT and networking landscape that encompasses devices, systems, and technologies managing your inventory.

How can Infosys BPM help?

Infosys BPM inventory network solutions can help you keep track of your IT and network assets to bring your data together and eliminate silos when it comes to managing a single source of truth about your network assets. With solutions that encompass performance management, alarm management, workforce, CRM, ERP, and billing, you can leverage automation and process integration to address inventory management challenges in real-time.

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