Smart warehouse using IoT technology for inventory management

Smart Inventory Management: Enhancing Just-in-Time Manufacturing with IoT

By integrating IoT technology, you can transform your inventory processes, ensuring real-time tracking, automated data collection, and predictive analysis. Discover how IoT can enhance efficiency, precision, and automation in just-in-time manufacturing, illustrated with real-world examples from various industries.
JAN KUCERA, CEO & CPO at Spotflow
Jan Kucera
CEO & CPO at Spotflow
Published on:
June 13, 2024

If you don't want to suddenly find yourself out of stock on the season favorites, it's about time to implement some smart technology in your warehouses. So, let's take a look at what technology is best suited for such a task and the benefits it offers.

In this article

You'll find out how to implement IoT technology to create a smart inventory management system. We'll examine:

  • IoT technologies used in smart inventory management,
  • Its advantages over traditional inventory management, and
  • Smart inventory management examples from various industries.

Internet of Things Technologies for Smart Inventory Management

How can we best keep track of the conditions and movement of physical goods, individual parts, and raw materials through the supply chain? The traditional approach would employ a brigade of workers to inspect, scan, and count every item and manually add them to the digital inventory system. As you’re reading this article, you probably already know that this isn’t the most efficient nor the cheapest approach. So, instead, let's see how the Internet of Things helps you organize, automate, and streamline the whole inventory tracking process. Ready?

Monitoring Individual Items

First, RFID tags are attached to every piece of inventory that needs tracking. The system assigns the item a unique identification number (UID) and tracks all the necessary information, such as its model and batch number.

As the item moves from one warehouse to the other, it’s automatically scanned by an IoT device—a scanner, reader, or camera—every time it changes hands. The information about its location is recorded in the cloud, so whoever manages the supplies knows exactly where the item is at any given time.

Monitoring the Conditions

Now, you're monitoring the movement and precise location of each item. The next step is to equip the warehouses and transport vehicles with Internet of Things devices to enable real-time tracking of environmental conditions, such as temperature or humidity. This is especially important when dealing with perishables and other inventory that needs to be kept in a controlled environment.

Combining the Data

To understand what's happening to the items, you have to send the data to a cloud for analysis. And that's where industrial IoT platforms like Spotflow come in to help you collect, process, and visualize the data, unlocking true 360-degree visibility of your inventory.

IoT Benefits for Smart Inventory Management

The IoT advantages for supply chain management and inventory tracking go as far as your imagination allows and can be summarized by three key concepts: efficiency, precision, and automation.

You'll see benefits across the board, from lowering expenses by reducing overstocking as well as stockout and decreasing the manual labor requirements by unlocking automatic data collection, to improving decision-making thanks to real-time inventory tracking. Let's go over five specific areas where IoT will boost your operations to a whole new level.

1) Real-Time Inventory Tracking

Collecting real-time updates on the location, conditions, and quantity of goods provides you with total visibility over your inventory based on the data gathered in real time. You can easily monitor their shelf-life, what items need to be restocked soon, and even see if a freezer broke down and the ice cream is starting to melt. This real-time tracking allows the proactive management and optimization of the whole inventory.

For example, our client CUP&CINO uses Spotflow to monitor their coffee machines in office buildings. Based on the real-time coffee consumption of every machine, they predict when they need to restock or perform maintenance.

2) Automated Data Collection

Having real-time visibility over the inventory wouldn't really be possible without automatic data collection. Here is where IoT devices can free up managers to focus on customer-oriented tasks while increasing the precision and accuracy of the collected data.

For example, logistic companies automatically scan all the items moving through their warehouses and transport vehicles. Their employees no longer need to scan every item manually and can focus on more valuable tasks.

3) Predictive Analysis

By analyzing current market trends and comparing them to historical sales data, predictive analysis gives you data-driven forecasts on what products will be in high demand and when is the best time to stock up on them. It can also provide restocking suggestions and, when integrated with the sales system, give managers a powerful tool to offer the right items at the right time to their clients.

For example, factory operations rely on predictive analysis for their just-in-time manufacturing strategies, making sure that there are always just enough raw materials for production never to stop.

4) Smart Reordering and Supply Chain Integration

Taking it one step further, you can set predefined stock thresholds when the system should automatically reorder given items. And when the threshold is reached, the suppliers receive the order and can instantly start moving the inventory to your warehouses. Once again, this helps optimize your inventory and frees up the staff for more meaningful tasks.

For example, e-commerce enterprises leverage automatic reorders to synchronize inventory across all their channels, preventing stockouts. They also implement automatic notifications to delivery companies to manage order fulfillment efficiently.

5) Data-Driven Analysis, Insights, Improvements

It seems quite obvious that the more data you collect and analyze, the more insights you get. And that's exactly right. More insights mean more possibilities for improvements, and every tweak you make to your processes eliminates sales losses, optimizes inventory levels, reduces stockouts, and makes your overall operation more precise and efficient.

For example, in any company, collecting and analyzing data improves operational efficiency and leads to tangible business outcomes such as increased sales, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.

Implementing Smart Inventory Management

By leveraging IoT devices and connectivity, you obtain large amounts of real-time data about your inventory. However, implementing it from start to finish can be a real challenge, requiring a lot of skills and technical know-how. Fortunately, our team of experts specializes in exactly this kind of Internet of Things project, and we are happy to design and implement the right solution for you.

Send us a message today, and let's discuss how we can unlock a new world of efficiency and automation for you.

About Author

JAN KUCERA, CEO & CPO at Spotflow

Jan Kucera

CEO & CPO at Spotflow
Jan has a passion for computer science and technology. His expertise lies in creating cutting-edge technological platforms, which have been widely adopted by many Fortune 500 companies. Jan believes in prioritizing the product and placing users and their needs in the center. His ultimate goal is to revolutionize the rigid IoT industry and position Spotflow as the leading provider of IIoT platforms, helping IoT solutions builders to achieve their goals.
right arrow icon
Back to blog post list

Read our Other Latest Blog Posts

Get real-time insight into your fleet today!

Start Free Trial
Observe your devices with Spotflow for 14 days. No strings attached.