Make Your Inventory Disappear
Make Your Inventory Disappear
Apple is among the best at managing inventory levels. In 2020, inventory only accounts for 3% of the company’s total assets. For comparison, Intel’s inventory accounts for 20% and Sony’s inventory accounts for 10%. As Apple’s CEO Tim Cook says, “Inventory is fundamentally evil. You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business. If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem.”
Inventory is a costly part of any business. It takes up hours and hours of time to manage and burns a hole in your profits as it sits for years on end. That’s where digital transformation comes into play.
There are countless digital solutions out there to better manage inventory. From artificial intelligence to simple RFID tracking, companies across the globe are beginning to focus on slashing their inventory costs.
Intel digitally transformed its inventory management system from “rule-of-thumb heuristics and spreadsheets” to one of complete automation. Intel needed a way to optimize its inventory. Holding too much was costly, while not having enough risked loss of revenue. By deploying a software system, artificial intelligence was able to process data, calculate targets, and publish summaries all on its own. The system alone contributed to a 30%, or $600 million, decrease in total finished-goods inventory over two years. Such a success now frees up workers for more important tasks around Intel’s facilities.
Caterpillar has a massive global supply chain that is susceptible to all kinds of disruptions. In order to mitigate their impact, Caterpillar set out to create a system with greater visibility across its supply chain. All of its in-transit inventory is equipped with IoT sensors to track where the inventory is at all times. When a bottleneck occurs, workers can quickly access the inventory data and make better informed decisions on how to respond. For example, if production is halted at one facility, Caterpillar can reference the tracking data and see if enough inventory is in transit to meet demand, or if they need to increase production elsewhere. This whole initiative has led to a $250 million reduction in inventory.
BJC HealthCare was struggling to coordinate inventory across its 15 hospitals. Products were subject to both under- and over-stocking, which led to increasing costs. To reverse these issues, BJC deployed RFID technology to improve its visibility into the supply chain. Products were given RFID tags and the distribution center was equipped with RFID equipment. BJC could now see every piece of inventory and efficiencies went through the roof, allowing doctors to spend more time with patients. The initiative resulted in a 23% reduction in inventory and a savings of $1.5 million over 6 months.
A4 Systems develops cyber physical systems to solve all kinds of industry problems, including excess inventory. Our team of experts is capable of developing IoT sensors, software, RFID systems and more to get you data and analyze it for better decision making.