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The role of automation in network inventory management

cIf your business relies heavily on inventory management through forecasting and tracking, a lack of automation can chip into your bottom line and leave you behind your competitors. If you are facing any of these challenges in managing inventory, you may need to consider automated inventory management systems –

  1. Over or under-stocking of warehouse.
  2. Repeated delays in product delivery to customers.
  3. No real-time visibility of inventory stocks.
  4. Lack of market insights and inability to quickly scale up or down.
  5. Inability to negotiate the best price with suppliers.

Whether you are a small, medium, or large business, such issues can render you incompetent in the market. You need intelligent automation for greater transparency and control over the inventory and supply chain.

This article explains the benefits and components of automated inventory management.

Components of automated inventory management

Automated inventory management leverages technology to collect data at various stages in the fulfilment process and convert it into actionable insights. Retailers can use these insights to scale up or down. The components of automated inventory management are –

Product tracking

The automation software must be able to track individual items within the whole inventory and supply chain. However, the type and extent of individual product tracking depends on the type of business. You can track boxed products easily using RFID as they travel over a conveyor belt. Private 5G over Wi-Fi with IoT sensors is effective when you want to track individual items and helps prevent loss or theft.


Network infrastructure is a crucial component of an automated inventory management system. Different use cases may require different network types. For example, Bluetooth may be suitable for tracking products on an assembly line and a private 5G for autonomous fulfilment robots. Several networking options that you can use are –

  1. Bluetooth – It provides close-range and inexpensive inventory tracking with high battery life and low power consumption.
  2. LoRa – Long-range wide area network utilises low power and can travel long distances but does not support high bit rate applications. It also does not support on-demand live tracking.
  3. Wi-Fi – It is best for indoor coverage in small to mid-sized areas. However, it can encounter dead zones and external interference.
  4. 4G/LTE – This networking option offers indoor and outdoor live tracking. It is the best option when you want to track the items throughout the supply chain in real-time.
  5. Private 5G – It comes with seamless signal coverage, data integration, real-time tracking, and reliability. You get complete data privacy and access to your intellectual property.

Inventory management software

Inventory management software brings together all the data and translates it into valuable insights and procedures through customisable dashboards. It leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to forecast market demand and estimate delivery timelines. You can also configure advanced rule-based triggers and customised automation.

Triggering alerts when the critical product inventory falls below a certain level is a simple example of rule-based automation.

Benefits of automated inventory management

Automated inventory management with the right networking technology is an asset for a business of any size for the following reasons –

Better customer experience

Inventory automation streamlines the fulfilment process for higher order accuracy and better delivery time. Inventory forecasting helps businesses scale up when the demand goes up, thus providing a better customer experience.

Eliminate manual errors

Manually calculating the stock is not only tedious but also prone to errors. You may make a mistake in assessing the current stock and forecasting the demand. Automation saves you from these errors thus increasing sales and service accuracy.

Save time, capital, and labour

Eliminate manual counting, monitoring, arranging, and ordering of the inventory. Thus, you can upskill and relocate the staff into strategic high-value roles that require human intervention and analysis.

Scalability on-demand

Your cost of acquisition and inventory management can spiral up when the business scales up. Often, this is because of mismanaged inventory ordering, warehouse shelf space utilisation, and purchase cost. An automated inventory management system allows you to order only what is necessary, thus keeping the shelf space free and cost within the budget.

Inventory forecasting

Automate re-ordering and demand forecasting while monitoring the current stockpile, thus preventing over or under-stocking. Adjust to changing market and seasonal demands to maximise profits. Timely re-ordering helps in better vendor relationship management and cost negotiation.

How can Infosys BPM help?

Infosys BPM network inventory management system (NIMS) strives for zero-touch operations for better agility, CAPEX and OPEX management, and end-to-end visibility of the supply chain. Bring the data together to eliminate silos and extract insights to drive performance, thus improving KPIs.

Read more about the network inventory management system at Infosys BPM.

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