Inventory management is undoubtedly one of the most important tasks of retailers, and depending on how well controlled the process is, it can either be a nightmare or a great tool for running a tight ship. But what are some considerations and trends in the industry for 2019 and beyond?

It goes without saying that technology has changed everything. The days of counting items by hand and checking them off on a paper log seem archaic now. IoT is the name of the inventory game these days.

For example, products stored in warehouses can be embedded with small sensors that track their movement and keep retailers in the know regarding the location of their shipped items. With IoT, connection is key, and these sensors are on example of how inventory specialists can stay involved. With this connectivity, operations can be controlled and problems can be predicted and addressed before any real damage is done.

Distribution center managers have the complex task of keeping many balls in the air at once, and one area impacted by technology is that of automatic data collection supported by IoT. Most warehouse and distribution centers are running RF barcode and RFID systems that drastically reduce human error and greatly increase accuracy and timeliness of data. And procedures, as a result of technology, have become nearly touch-free with the advent of wrist mounted RF units, voice control capability, and streamlined processes.

In addition, inventory management software is a must-have in 2019. It can be used to track inventory levels, sales processes, orders, and deliveries. It is also a key component in report generation that can combat overstocking and outages of products.

Inventory management software is essential to staying organized in an age of meeting the sometimes-frenetic customer needs and behaviors in a culture of immediate gratification. Patience has been naturally selected out of the public’s shopping DNA, and inventory management software can help retailers juggle multiple aspects of tracking and managing product while keeping today’s demanding shopper satisfied.

Speaking of customer demands, they remain at the heart of all the machinations of inventory control. While technology is changing things, client expectations will always drive innovation, and it is no different in retail inventory management. With insistence on instant quantity, quality, and availability, new and better ways to manage inventory is a constantly-evolving process. We have learned to expect shopping, like other activities in the 21st century, to be convenient, and retailers will continue to push forward in reaching and exceeding those customer requirements.

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