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Nov 06 2012

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3 Tips for Tracking Inventory with GPS

Your business manages a lot of inventory, which often represents a high proportion of your cost of goods sold. In order to stay organized and efficient you need to know where that inventory is and where it’s going. Manually tracking your inventory – personnel individually recording dates and times of arrival and departure of inventory – is approaching obsolescence. Those manufacturing organizations operating with 20, 30 or more facilities can’t possibly consider such an approach.

There is another reason why manufacturers today should consider investing in greater accuracy of their inventory tracking – product traceability requirements are necessary to maintain regulatory compliance initiatives as well as to contain possible quality issues to avoid massive product recalls. Investing in better inventory tracking systems can payoff great rewards in the future, if out-of-specification products can be quickly contained and remedied without impacting all Work-In-Process.

GPS tracking isn’t just for shipping. It can be used in a variety of ways to track and manage inventory and Work-In-Process at a production site. Using GPS tracking, you can maintain real-time knowledge of where your inventory is both inside and outside the warehouse. You can easily locate it within the warehouse – even if it’s been moved since arrival – and can be instantly notified when it leaves and where it goes.

Follow these three tips to maximize your GPS system’s ability to track your inventory successfully:

 

1.            Use Indoor GPS Tracking

Many conventional inventory tracking systems note the location of your inventory within the warehouse upon arrival. However, if the pallet or box is later moved to a different location, it can easily become lost or misplaced. GPS tracking ensures this doesn’t become a problem.

  • Leverage GPS tracking to more accurately locate and monitor your inventory tracking process within your warehouse so as to reduce lost inventory and shrinkage rates
  • Indoor GPS tracking can be accomplished in a variety of ways, from consistently using handheld bar scanners to record locations, to creating a ceiling grid system of QR codes automatically scanned by your pallet moving equipment
  • Assisted GPS enabled devices planted on crates, pallets, or packages are another way to effectively track the location of inventory; this data can then be integrated into your warehouse management system for further automation and process efficiency

 

2.            Create a Geofence

Part of tracking inventory requires you to not only know the location of your inventory at all times, but to also know when it has left the warehouse. A Geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area, which can then provide notification as inventory enters the defined perimeter as well as when it exits. Running reports on this data can extract intelligence to suggest patterns where process improvement might be a good idea to help reduce theft or obsolescence. Outside of standard use, GPS tracking devices can do more than simply provide the location of a specific item at any given time.

  • A “geofence” – can be programmed to know when certain items are scheduled to arrive or leave the warehouse, enabling more accurate delivery times when inventory is shipped while locating trouble spots where inventory is at risk of loss or shrinkage
  • Security alerts can be programmed to provide notification if inventory is removed at the wrong time, either intentionally or on accident, cutting down on loss from theft and mishandled shipments

 

3.            Integrate RFID Technology

RFID technology acts similarly to a GPS geofence, but can be an alternative approach where a lower cost option makes more sense. Readers can be installed in your facility to track when assets enter or leave your warehouse. RFID tags are used both in conjunction and independent of GPS tracking technologies.

Unlike bar code scanners – which require personnel to scan the code manually – RFID tracking utilizes a passive electronic tag that can tracked from up to 300 feet away using radio waves

  • RFID tags do not require line-of-site to properly work, so offer greater capabilities than a bar code system
  • RFID tags provide a middle ground solution for inventory tracking – they are more advanced than visual bar code scanners yet not as powerful or expensive as assisted GPS devices.

 

If your company produces, stores, or transports high-value or high-volume inventory, it probably makes financial sense to track the location of your assets both indoors and in transit. GPS fleet tracking technology is limited in its capacity to track your inventory once it’s inside the door of your warehouse or manufacturing facility. As production costs continue to decline, it now makes more sense to consider using these types of tracking technologies. Indoor GPS tracking, geofencing, and RFID technology can be used in conjunction with your existing tracking processes, to give a more complete picture of how your inventory flows through your warehouse.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2012/11/3-tips-for-tracking-inventory-with-gps/

8 comments

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  1. Bob Jessop

    We are a device manufacturer and we place/consign systems at various sites around the country. I would like to find a way to keep track of where these units are since they are still assets of the company. Does anyone have any recommendations as to any GPS tracking providers?

    Thanks

  2. Aliceko diwei

    Nowadays GPS tracking software are commonly used by companies and other organization. It’s a valuable asset for any growing business. GPS tracking software well managed the inventory management.

  3. Mark Twain

    GPS tracking systems are used in various fields. One can find it useful in each and every place. People use it for fleet management, some for tracking their personal vehicles to ensure safety of thier loved ones, there are many who use it in their daily business activities and many more. One can use it according to the need. One can get it customized as per requirement. I have a taxi business and I use GPS Tracking for keeping an eye on my vehicles. I have 20 taxis with me right now and each one of them are mounted with GPS Vehicle tracking equipment. Now I can keep an eye on my cabs and with this system I have more visibility and productivity in my business. Even my fuel consumption has reduced reasonably. I have restricted speed limits of my cabs and created a virtual boundary. So, whenever any on my vehicles exceeds the speed limit or get out of the boundary, I get an alert and direct the vehicle according to my instructions.

  4. Aldrich

    Great Topic…GPS associated with the Inventory management is truly something remarkable to every sector of industries. Simply taking the case in pharmaceutical division, a number of stuffs with different material number with its lot/batch number is a worry to track out if any discrepancy occurs. Similarly other section of market needs the technology drastically.

  5. Gps Tracking

    Thank you, I thought your post was extremely informative. The tips suggested in this blog about how GPS tracking can be used to track and manage inventory are well explained. I surely follow your suggestions.

    1. harmeetsingh3

      GPS Tracking software provides the functionality necessary to protect your bottom line with unsurpassed ease and usefulness. This fleet tracking system has been specifically created to fit any fleet size and any number of locations.

  6. Jeremy Thomas

    Thank you for sharing this useful post! This makes me aware of the benefits of professional warehouse management systems to big companies. These benefits are the reasons why most companies invest a lot of money for these solutions.

    1. Jessica Sanders

      Jeremy, thanks for checking out the post – and yes, it’s very true. While the programs may be expensive, they are certainly a valuable asset to any growing business. Thanks, again!

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