5 Ways IoT Upgrades Inventory Control Accuracy in Manufacturing

Emily Newton
5 Ways IoT Upgrades Inventory Control Accuracy in Manufacturing
Illustration: © IoT For All

IoT inventory control technology can transform facility management, increasing visibility, and efficiency while reducing waste. Manufacturers can simplify item traceability and inventory monitoring using innovative IoT and RFID technology. What are the potential benefits of adopting IoT inventory management in manufacturing? 

1. Expands Inventory Visibility

Increased visibility is one of the top benefits of IoT inventory management. Many warehouses and manufacturing facilities struggle to accurately control their inventory because they lack visibility. This includes precise data on popular items, average shelf time, overall throughput, and other key information. 

IoT is a great tool for improving facility operations and inventory movement visibility. Today’s inventory control technology allows facility managers to view real-time data and detailed stocking and logistics information. With access to more data right away, facility managers can make rapid, informed decisions about operations optimization and stocking procedures. 

One specific way IoT increases visibility is through improved traceability. RFID tags give individual items a unique digital identity in the facility. The tags are scanned at key stages as the goods move through production and storage. Data on where things are stored and when they arrive can give manufacturing and warehouse managers a clear picture of exactly what is in their facility. 

2. Prevents Inventory Loss

Improved traceability through IoT inventory management leads to a reduction in lost units. It’s common for items to go unused or be wasted due to misplacement, manufacturing defects, or letting them expire on the shelf. 

IoT can help prevent these situations so manufacturers can maximize their products’ value. Eliminating inventory loss is important because it creates physical and financial waste. About 49 percent of plastic containers and packaging waste go to landfills worldwide.

IoT technology can address this issue in a few ways. For example, RFID tags make tracking items’ movement through facilities much easier. Depending on the type of IoT tag technology, manufacturers may be able to ping specific units or objects and see their real-time location. 

RFID tags simplify tracking units through a facility by instantly reporting scanning data to the cloud. Managers can view the complete path of products in their inventory management system using IoT RFID tag data. 

Additionally, IoT sensors and tags can help prevent goods from becoming expired. It’s not uncommon for units to expire on the shelf because employees didn’t realize older items were available or shelved somewhere else. IoT devices can trigger automated notifications to warn that something will expire soon. 

Manufacturers can also use IoT sensors to monitor environmental conditions in storage areas containing goods sensitive to temperature or humidity. This helps prevent accidents and mechanical failures from ruining environmentally-sensitive inventory. It also protects machinery and robotics equipment that may be sensitive to certain environmental conditions. 

3. Reduces the Need for Manual Data Entry

One of the top benefits of IoT inventory management technology is a significant reduction in manual data entry. It’s time-consuming, inefficient, and prone to mistakes and errors, making it highly unreliable for ensuring inventory control accuracy. 

IoT automates data collection, significantly reducing or even eliminating the need for manual data entry. Manufacturers can also get more information using IoT since these sensors and tags can collect it around the clock and report it in real time. 

Eliminating manual data entry is groundbreaking for manufacturing and logistics. It greatly improves efficiency and safety. The warehouse industry has an above-average injury rate and includes many unique hazards employees face daily. There were 22 workplace fatalities in this sector in 2017. Likewise, manufacturing workers must be careful around robots and heavy machinery. 

Reducing the need for employees to roam warehouses and manufacturing facilities on foot to collect data reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. 

4. Offers More Accurate Stocking Choices

Higher inventory visibility and traceability result in improved stocking and restocking accuracy. Inaccuracies can lead to more out-of-stock and wasted items, diminishing customer satisfaction. IoT inventory control technology can resolve this issue. 

Manufacturers can use IoT data to better understand their inventory and customer demand. IoT data can reveal which products are staying on shelves the longest, which are moving through the facility in the highest volume, and which are accessed the most by employees. Access to this information makes it much easier to identify popular items. 

Additionally, IoT can help manufacturers remember to restock products and supplies regularly. Some items can’t be restocked too far in advance since they could expire or overfill storage space. IoT can automate tracking inventory levels so managers can order a refill exactly when needed, not too early or too late. This reduces the likelihood of expired and out-of-stock items. 

This type of automation can deliver a high ROI that more than pays off the initial investment. This is due to higher profits from waste reduction, reduced manual tasks, and improved productivity. Manufacturers can even use IoT to predict future customer demand. 

The wealth of information IoT generates can be a great foundation for AI predictive analytics. Manufacturers can use AI algorithms to analyze inventory data and forecast future demand. This can help highlight inventory trends that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. 

5. Improves Logistics and Organization

IoT inventory management is a great technology for improving overall facility logistics and organization. Accuracy is lowered if inventory is confusing and complicated to access and track. Improving the logistics and layout of warehouses and manufacturing facilities can help boost inventory control accuracy. 

The IoT warehouse management market currently has a CAGR of 13.1 percent and is estimated to be worth $28.79 billion by the end of the decade. A major contributor to this massive growth is using IoT for building digital twins. These advanced models virtually replicate a facility in detail, allowing managers to fine-tune operations digitally and implement those solutions. 

IoT data can reveal which shelves, equipment, and areas employees access most. It can also highlight bottlenecks and main thoroughfares. Manufacturers can use this data in a digital twin to optimize their facility’s layout based on real-world activity. As a result, employees can work more efficiently and improve inventory control accuracy by extension. 

The Future of Inventory Control Technology

IoT inventory management increases efficiency, throughput, and visibility while reducing waste and eliminating unnecessary manual tasks. Implementing IoT and RFID technologies in manufacturing facilities and warehouses can lead to easier traceability and inventory monitoring. Manufacturers can even use their IoT data to fine-tune operations and conduct demand forecasting, enabling them to work to their fullest potential.

Emily Newton
Emily Newton - Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized | Industrial Content Writer, Revolutionized.com
I specialize in writing in-depth articles for the industrial and sci/tech sectors. In addition to my work for Revolutionized, my works have been published on Engineering.com, ReadWrite, and Global Trade Magazine. Please connect with me on LinkedIn!
I specialize in writing in-depth articles for the industrial and sci/tech sectors. In addition to my work for Revolutionized, my works have been published on Engineering.com, ReadWrite, and Global Trade Magazine. Please connect with me on LinkedIn!