Automated Inventory System: Features, Integrations, Success Factors, Benefits
ScienceSoft applies 9-year experience in building supply chain management software and 10-year experience in IoT services to design and develop effective automated inventory solutions.
Automated Inventory System: The Essence
An automated inventory system facilitates monitoring of inventory levels and location, inventory valuation and audit, inventory ordering and selling. Such systems rely on IoT technology to provide end-to-end inventory automation. The software supports multi-location inventory management, demand-driven inventory planning, and inventory optimization based on advanced analytics, which helps companies avoid stockouts and overstocking.
An automated inventory system is especially helpful for large enterprises that need to manage a wide range of inventory items across complex multi-echelon distribution networks.
ERP, CRM, accounting software, a vendor portal, etc.
6 - 10 months for custom automated inventory software.
$90,000 - $400,000, depending on the solution’s complexity.
Up to 300%.
- Automated calculation of required inventory amounts by period, inventory item, location, etc. based on the analysis of relevant historical data:
- Inventory demand to support internal processes, e.g., office equipment, raw materials for manufacturing needs.
- Customer demand (by selling channel, point of sale, during particular seasons, etc.).
- Automated calculation of expected inventory delivery dates based on the analysis of historical inventory lead time, supplier data, etc.
Inventory ordering automation
- Automated creation of purchase orders triggered by reorder points, certain dates, etc.
- Rule-based supplier assignment for various inventory items.
- Automated workflows for multi-department purchase order approval.
- Real-time purchase order status tracking.
- Alerts to the inventory team on inventory delivery.
- Automated purchase invoice processing and submission for payment.
SKU management automation
- Template-based SKU creation.
- Rule-based inventory item cataloging.
- Automated updating of SKU information as new relevant data appear.
- Rule-based inventory kitting (for retail and wholesale).
Inventory costing automation
- Automated inventory valuation based on FIFO, LIFO, weighted average costing, and other inventory costing methods.
- Calculating inventory carrying costs.
- Calculating cost of goods sold (COGS).
Inventory control automation
- Inventory level monitoring based on barcode (semi-automated) or RFID (fully automated) technology:
- Across multiple domestic and foreign locations (warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, points of sale, etc.).
- Across various stages of production (raw materials, in-progress goods, finished goods).
- Across owned and consignment inventory (for retail, healthcare, and more).
- Alerts on low-level inventory.
- Batch control to track expiration dates (e.g., of perishable inventory items) using barcode or RFID technology.
- Reminders on inventory expiration dates.
- Inventory audit based on barcode or RFID technology.
Automated inventory reservation
- Automated inventory reservation for a customer order.
- Automated inventory reservation and request for transfer from warehouses to the locations where operations are conducted (e.g., manufacturing facilities or construction sites) triggered by certain dates (e.g., specified in manufacturing or construction schedules).
- Automated reservation of inventory items required for scheduled medical procedures (for healthcare).
- Rule-based inventory reservation for guaranteed trade promotion campaigns (for retail).
- Template-based Bill of Materials (BOM) creation and automated inventory reservation (for discrete manufacturing).
- AI-supported calculation of optimal inventory levels and reorder points for each inventory item based on the historical manufacturing and sales data, product promotions, demand seasonality, and other factors.
- AI-driven recommendations on inventory reallocation between different manufacturing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, points of sale, etc. (for multi-echelon inventory optimization).
Customer order management
- Template-based creation of sales orders.
- Real-time tracking of sales order status.
- Automated generation and approval of sales invoices and shipping documents.
- Automated package slips generation.
- Notifications to the inventory team on the goods dispatch.
Reverse logistics automation
- Rule-based inventory return routing to a fitting warehouse.
- Real-time tracking of return order status.
- Alerts to the inventory team on the returned inventory delivery.
- Automated workflows for various inventory processing scenarios upon returned inventory delivery (e.g., inventory routing for quality check or inventory return to the initial supplier).
- Template-based creation of consignment inventory return orders.
- Automated reservation of consignment inventory for return to the supplier, invoice and package slips generation.
- Real-time calculation of essential inventory metrics, such as total inventory levels by location, on-hand/low-stock inventory, inventory turnover, days sales of inventory (DSI), aged inventory, and more.
- Automated ABC and FSN analysis.
- Template-based inventory reports.
Automated inventory software + ERP
- For accurate multi-location inventory planning.
- To plan optimal time for inventory reallocation from warehouses to the locations where operations are conducted.
- To leverage inventory data at all levels of operational and strategic planning.
Automated inventory software + CRM
Alternatively to CRM, an automated inventory system can be integrated directly with selling channels (e.g., a company’s ecommerce website or a point-of-sale (POS) system).
- For the automated input of relevant data when creating sales orders and customer invoices.
- For accurate omnichannel inventory planning to meet customer demand.
- To keep sales agents up-to-date on available inventory.
Automated inventory software + vendor portal
- For the automated input of product data when generating POs.
- For the automated PO submission to suppliers via a vendor portal.
- For facilitated PO status tracking.
- For faster processing of supplier invoices uploaded from a vendor portal.
Automated inventory software + accounting software
For automated recording of inventory transactions in the general ledger, accurate inventory value recording and reporting.
Automated inventory software + hardware
(barcode or RFID readers)
For accurate inventory level and location monitoring.
Automated inventory software + BI solution
For the analytics and visualization of multi-location inventory demand analytics, inventory lead time analytics, ABC and FSN analytics, and more.
The use of barcode and RFID technology
To eliminate error-prone manual inventory counting, enable precise automated tracking of inventory level and location.
AI-powered prescriptive analytics
To provide inventory specialists with intelligent recommendations, for example, on optimal inventory reorder points or inventory reallocation time to support optimal inventory levels across various storage locations and manufacturing facilities.
A mobile app
with barcode scanning and QR code scanning capabilities. To enable employees who deal with physical inventory to track inventory levels and share inventory data with colleagues using their smartphones.
Proper user training
To help employees involved in inventory management quickly learn how to use software and integrated hardware (RFID or barcode scanners) to streamline their daily tasks.
Explore Our Automated Inventory System Demo
A sample application for the inventory team shows how robust automation across inventory planning, multi-location inventory control, inventory reporting and other important inventory management processes improves operations efficiency.
The cost of automated inventory software implementation varies greatly depending on:
- The number and complexity of a solution’s functional modules.
- The amount of automation required for inventory tracking (semi-automation provided by barcode scanners or full automation enabled by RFID technology).
- The volume and complexity of data to be migrated from spreadsheets and/or existing inventory management software.
- The number and complexity of integrations (with ERP, CRM, accounting software, a vendor portal, a BI tool, etc.).
A custom automated inventory control system of average complexity requires $90,000 - $250,000 in investments, while the cost of a comprehensive automated inventory management solution for a large enterprise may reach $400,000+.
Inventory automation software can bring up to 300% ROI.
Benefits of the automated inventory system
Increased productivity of inventory specialists due to automation of manual tasks.
Improved inventory visibility and traceability across the supply chain due to real-time inventory level and location tracking.
Reduced inventory carrying costs due to multi-location inventory optimization.
Enhanced customer satisfaction due to timely order delivery.
Minimized risk of stockouts and overstocking due to accurate, analytics-driven inventory planning.
Off-the-Shelf Inventory Automation Software ScienceSoft Recommends
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management (Inventory Management module)
Inventory management in manufacturing.
- Rule-based prioritization of inventory items (by value, strategic importance, etc.).
- Inventory location and condition monitoring across various stages of production (raw materials, goods in progress, finished goods).
- Automated inventory valuation based on a user-defined costing method.
- Automated COGS calculation.
- Bill of materials creation.
- Demand and stock level forecasting.
- Calculating optimal inventory levels based on the analysis of historical sales, purchasing, supply chain data.
- Automated calculation of reorder points for each SKU.
$180 user/month ($30 user/month for the individuals already licensed for any other Dynamics 365 app).
Oracle Fusion Cloud Inventory Management
Inventory automation in complex supply networks.
- Real-time inventory level tracking across multiple locations.
- Configurable inventory replenishment triggers by item and location (such as inventory level falling below the pre-set minimum or scheduled automated reordering).
- Automated inventory reservation for a customer order.
- Rule-based inventory kitting.
- Analytics-driven multi-location inventory planning (requires integration with Oracle Cloud Demand Management).
- Automated order processing, scheduling of picking and dispatch for complex customer order fulfillment scenarios, such as dropshipping or back-to-back shipment (requires connection to Oracle Cloud Warehouse Management and Oracle Cloud Transportation Management).
Upon request to the vendor.
Blue Yonder Inventory Management
Omnichannel inventory optimization.
- AI-powered inventory planning.
- Analytics-driven multi-echelon inventory optimization.
- Automated inventory segmentation based on cost, demand, order channel, seasonality and other parameters.
- Intelligent recommendations on the replenishment strategy and internal movements for each inventory segment based on analysis of inventory lead time and localized customer demand.
- Automated safety stock calculation by inventory item and location.
Upon request to the vendor.
You need to automate complex or specific inventory-related processes, such as the control of perishable or highly regulated (e.g., medicines, military equipment) inventory items that even customizable software products can’t handle efficiently.
You need a flexible automated inventory solution that is easy to evolve, e.g., add advanced technologies like comprehensive AI-powered inventory analytics or RFID-enabled inventory monitoring.
You are building a blockchain-based SCM system and need to enable facilitated inventory order traceability, inventory shipment tracking and inventory authenticity verification at each level of the supply chain.
You want to avoid costly and complicated integration of inventory automation software with your legacy corporate systems (ERP, CRM, accounting software, BI software, etc.).
Inventory automation consulting
- Analysis of your inventory automation needs.
- Suggesting optimal inventory automation features (including barcode- or RFID-enabled functionality), solution architecture, and tech stack.
- Preparing an integration plan with ERP, CRM, accounting software, RFID or barcode scanners, etc.
- Implementation cost & time estimates, expected ROI calculation.
Automated inventory software implementation
- Inventory automation needs analysis.
- Automated inventory solution conceptualization.
- Architecture design.
- Automated inventory software development.
- Integrating the solution with existing corporate systems (ERP, CRM, accounting software, etc.), RFID or barcode scanners.
- Quality assurance.
- User training.
- Continuous support and evolution (if required).
ScienceSoft is an international IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We provide consultancy and development services to help organizations build effective inventory automation software. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we apply a mature quality management system and guarantee that cooperation with us does not pose any risks to our customers’ data security. If you are interested in getting a reliable automated inventory system, feel free to turn to ScienceSoft’s team.