Your company’s growth stems from your ability to predict and prevent failures, improve the allocation of assets, and increase productivity. Many companies with inventory management needs are now turning to cloud technology in order to achieve these objectives.
A cloud-based asset management solution lets companies use real-time data to allocate assets efficiently according to dynamic operational needs. This can provide a number of benefits such as reductions in downtime, reduced inbound and outbound bottlenecks, and dynamic task management. Having one system that manages and automates all of these processes increases output, especially when personnel can monitor assets remotely.
The agile nature of asset management requires agile systems that are designed to adapt to change. This is why the cloud is necessary for any business that wants to have the flexibility to respond in real-time and implement a truly lean approach that improves many supply chain processes.
The Problem with Outdated Inventory Management Software
Old, on-premise systems cannot meet the needs of modern businesses. Aside from the fact that there are limited personnel trained to maintain these systems (and the cost of maintenance can be high), they don’t have the forward-thinking functionality of newer systems, limiting a business’ options for innovation and optimisation.
For example, these systems lack real-time cloud analytics that provides accurate and timely insights into factors such as demand variability.
Outdated systems prevent companies from getting the most out of their time; businesses have to spend a proportion of their resources on managing the system, rather than managing and optimising their business operations – a situation that is far from ideal and has no place in the modern world.
With cloud systems hosted by a third party provider, businesses can free up their human resources and invest their time into productivity instead of troubleshooting.
In addition, software updates are deployed automatically, ensuring all users gain the immediate benefits of leading edge features.
All in all, the cloud affords greater sales volumes, satisfied customers, and lean inventory management, so it is no surprise that its adoption is increasing across numerous industries.
Key Features of a Cloud Based Inventory and Asset Management System
Some of the fundamental features of inventory and asset management systems are as follows:
- Centralised database: Cloud based inventory systems contain a centralised database of the inventory and its location to help you manage stock levels and overall warehouse management.
- Asset register: A centralised database of all assets, including information on an asset’s location, supplier and model details, target performance, technical specification, and other vital details.
- Asset tracking: Asset tracking devices that make use of RFID and GPS technology are also used for real-time tracking.
- Work management tool: This facilitates the management of maintenance timelines and helps users to set priorities and allocate human resources. It also provides details on inspections and predictive maintenance.
- Data capture: Data is captured from the shop floor as well as both manual and automated production lines, removing the need for manual reporting and the human error that may come with it.
- User interface: These systems contain a platform for users to access all required features from any device, giving them a bird’s eye view of all information relevant to their role and empowering them to perform tasks and resolve issues efficiently. When it comes to reporting, displays are set to refresh automatically, effortlessly serving users with up-to-date information.
The Benefits of Cloud Based Inventory Management Systems
One of the main advantages of cloud technology is that it can help to reduce IT cost. With cloud technology, there is no need to invest in expensive hardware and software infrastructure.
In addition, cloud technology also helps to reduce the overall maintenance costs because all of the software and applications are hosted on a remote server and are managed by the service provider.
These systems often come with subscription-based pricing models, which can be more cost-effective than traditional systems.
To maintain accurate inventory levels, businesses need to track inventory data in real time. Cloud based inventory management systems make this, providing live updates on inventory levels. This means that businesses can improve asset visibility and utilisation to avoid overstocking or running out of inventory.
The cloud enables centralised storage, making it easy for anyone to access the systems from any device, anywhere, any time. Despite the centralised access, your data integrity is maintained. This is thanks to the fact that cloud providers store data on multiple servers in multiple locations, ensuring these is always a back-up.
Easy Scalability and Multi-Site Integration
Scalability is one of the greatest advantages of cloud technology. Companies can scale up or down their operations as needed which is vital adapting to changing market conditions.
Gone are the days of geographically fragmented operations. Any business that operates in more than one location can enjoy the flexibility the cloud offers, allowing all sites to access the same centralised system. This makes expansion easier than ever, all the while facilitating centralised management.
Easy Remote Collaboration
Cloud technology can also help to improve collaboration. With cloud-based applications, employees can easily work on projects together in real-time from anywhere in the world, helping to improve communication and coordination within the company. Specialists in different areas can communicate and share ideas easily across multiple sites, ensuring the highest quality maintenance standards are upheld.
Cloud technology lets you measure every parameter in real-time to achieve your goals for lean operations. Instead of waiting to gain insights in the future, analysing data in the moment ensures issues can be fixed and processes can be optimised as early as possible, minimising the costs incurred by downtime or other issues.
Cloud-based inventory management systems improve efficiency by streamlining numerous inventory processes through automation. Businesses can automate inventory replenishment or create rules-based inventory alerts, for example. This frees up time for employees to focus on other critical tasks.
These systems make stock management is easier than ever, reducing the need for engineers to make multiple journeys when checking or obtaining parts and components. Requisitions, deliveries, purchase orders, invoices and credits can all be managed effortlessly within one system, reducing admin and manual checking.
Always Be Prepared
Preparedness is key in any industry, but especially for critical operations such as providing emergency services. Cloud technology enhances performance in the numerous ways mentioned above, ensuring that vehicles are available when they are needed and that other assets such as appliances, PPE and other equipment are ready for use at all times.
Again, remote access is vital in this context. It allows station staff to perform inventory checks and station tests in distributed locations via mobile devices, enhancing efficiency and readiness.
Since cloud services are managed by third parties instead of on-site teams, the software itself is available more than 99.99% of the time, minimising the possibility of disruptions.
However, it’s not just the software that benefits to greater uptime thanks to the cloud – equipment is up and running more than ever before due to the intelligence afforded by predictive maintenance, which can reduce costs by 12-18%.
Efficient maintenance scheduling is a prime factor in maximising output, and these cloud based systems provide better control than ever before when it comes to maintenance planning, helping to achieve the highest standards of lean maintenance.
The cloud makes it easy to build a custom setup based on the unique needs of each business. The modular nature of cloud technology ensures the ultimate flexibility in crafting a solution that meets your needs.
Our platform comes with a range of additional features such as Core Analysis which allows you to find the root cause of an issue, reduce project risk and even monitor energy usage.
In addition to our modules, our platform integrates with various external systems including ERP, Financial, Time Recording, and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).
The introduction of other new technologies to manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, automotive and other industries is expected to be highly disruptive, so migrating to the cloud is an important step in leveraging the opportunities that are arising in different areas of business, aside from inventory management.
Two examples are the use of IoT and digital twin technology. A simple application of IoT is asset tracking, as mentioned above. However, digital twin technology is gaining popularity across numerous industries including healthcare, automotive, energy, and manufacturing (which has 22.16% of the market share).
A digital twin is a virtual model of a product. The physical product is fitted with sensors and gathers data about performance, energy output, and other factors, helping manufacturers and product developers to gain valuable insights which can then benefit the physical product.
This technology can also be applied to model processes and systems. It differs from simulations due to the gathering of real-time data.
The vast data storage capacity and computing power of the cloud allows for the robust testing and analysis that digital twin technology provides. Adopting cloud technology ensures businesses have the agility to benefit from state-of-the-art developments.
Cloud technology is beneficial in any situation that requires inventory and asset management. By providing real-time inventory tracking, reduced costs, and improved efficiency, cloud-based inventory management systems can help businesses run more smoothly and efficiently than ever before.
Our platform helps you to drive lean operations and gain greater control than ever over your data, assets and inventory. We serve customers in a broad range of industries including manufacturing, emergency services, utilities, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals. Contact us today to find out more about how our solutions can help your business to grow.