Over the years, inventory management has continuously changed due to the increased desire to increase accuracy and efficiency. During the industrial revolution, inventory management was primitive as business (like merchants and shopkeepers) applied manual counting which was tedious to track sales as well as forecast on future needs. In early 1930s, the Harvard University introduced the punch card system which turned as a big thing as it allowed businesses to track orders and record sales and inventory. However, the punch card system turned to be too slow and too expensive which led to the introduction of the modern barcode in the 1940s and 1950s. Wild (2017) explains that the modern barcode applied the ultraviolet light sensitive ink and reader that tracked products for sale.
The use of ultraviolet light sensitive ink and reader led to the application of radio frequency identification (RFID) during the 2000s. This technology applies microchips which transmits data of a product to data collection device. Parpia and Singh (2016) explain that the introduction of RFDI eliminated the manual input of data as well as the use of barcodes and it is more efficiency and accurate in comparison to the other technologies. In the recent years, the inventory technology applies the aspect of cloud platform where business can access data in real time and at any location. The most recent technology in the inventory technology is drones and robots which illustrates the era of optimization and automation.
The aspect of inventory control operates under two concepts: the operating control and the accounting control. Krajewski, Ritzman, and Malhotra (2013) explain that operating control of inventories maintains inventories where a business maintains an optimum level of the financial resources and operational requirement of the business. The second concept is accounting control which regulates proper record keeping as well as the flow of products in the business. This aspect also safeguards the undertakings of the assets, the business operations, semi-finished products, and raw materials.
Previously, the inventory control procedures were tedious, inaccurate, time consuming and inefficiency. As identified earlier, some inventory procedures were expensive for business and time consuming. However, the aspect of optimization and automation has led to greater changes in business where inventory is more machine oriented than labor oriented. For example, the introduction of drones and robots has replaced many employees where machines are using robots to efficiently and effectively carryout inventory procedures. For example, Amazon have used robots as an inventive and futuristic way of revolutionizing inventory-control in their warehouses to organize and deliver the products to the pickers for final packing.
The aspect of automation continues to advance and it is likely to completely automate the inventory departments. One way that a business can keep up with automation is through the use of self-diagnostic through the use of built-in test equipment. To increase ease accessibility of all operational functions, businesses can introduce a touch-screen console backed by a PC for inventory control, replenishment and picking. Organization can opt to use streaming analytics particularly in a generation where customer personalization and centricity is highly advocated which will benefit the business to apply real-time data for decision-making. Over the years, customer behaviors continue to change and many customers prefer fast delivery which can be attained through pick to light systems.
Krajewski, L. J., Ritzman, L. P., & Malhotra, M. K. (2013). Operations management. Pearson,.
Parpia, I. H., & Singh, G. (2016). U.S. Patent No. 9,280,757. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.Wild, T. (2017). Best practice in inventory management. Routledge.
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