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How do you keep track of the raw materials in your inventory, and where are they stored? With several spreadsheets? Paper files and sticky notes? Initially, those might have looked like the easiest and faster way to manage all the raw materials and supplies you have in stock. As your inventory started to grow, though, you probably already noticed that managing the resources just with spreadsheets started to become tricky. It takes just too much time and effort to update the spreadsheets. Not to mention, it’s far too easy to make a mistake in those. Sounds familiar? We have a solution to all those problems – a cloud inventory manufacturing materials solution.
What is it, and how can it make managing your inventory a breeze?
What is cloud inventory management software?
Cloud Inventory management software is a solution for automating inventory monitoring and management.
For manufacturers, such a system can be a game changer for their business as it allows them to:
- Accurately track raw materials and other supplies in stock
- Get automatic alerts whenever the number of materials or supplies drops below specified thresholds
- Manage their warehouse (or several warehouses) remotely
- Gather real-time data on how many supplies were taken or added to the inventory
- Keep the inventory in order thanks to bar-code labels or EAN codes
- Estimate how many raw resources and supplies they will need for the next production batch and order those straight from the app
That way, businesses can have full visibility and control over their materials, no matter whether they have 1 or 10 warehouses. As the information inside the cloud inventory manufacturing materials platforms is updated automatically, that also means there’s no more need to update dozens of spreadsheets manually and then share the new version with the manufacturers.
Instead, all they need to do is to open the app, and they will have all the information they might need right on the dashboard.
The Shift from Traditional to Cloud-Based Inventory Management
Shocking as it might be, 24% of small businesses still track their inventory with a pen and paper. Many manufacturing companies also rely on good old Excel for the task.
Since Excel is seemingly free to use, available on all computers, and most people know how to add data into the spreadsheet, it might seem like the most logical choice.
Is it efficient, though? Not so much anymore.
The bigger the factory owners’ warehouses become, the more often they come across those issues:
- Employees complain about how much time is needed to add the data to spreadsheets or update it.
- Workers spend plenty of time searching for the materials they need for the production processes because the supplies got lost.
- You get five answers to the question, “How many materials we have left.”
- Running out of materials in the middle of the process became a norm.
- You find out that the data in the spreadsheets is inaccurate right after the new supplies are delivered – there are too many or too few materials ordered.
To solve those problems, manufacturers slowly start to replace their messy spreadsheets with much more powerful cloud management solutions – with excellent results.
In their Redefining Manufacturing for the Digital Era report, Wipro FullStride Cloud Services found that:
- 79% of European manufacturers say the cloud has made quality control more effective by centralizing, standardizing, and bringing transparency to the relevant data.
- 40% made significant progress in critical activities by using the cloud, including improvements in IT management, production, planning, procurement, and supply chain operations.
- 49% have increased revenue thanks to their cloud investments.
Key Features of Effective Manufacturing Materials Cloud Inventory Solutions
What makes cloud solutions for inventory management so valuable for manufacturers? Mainly the fact that they work from an online server rather than on-premise. That means that as long as your team has good internet access, they can access the software from any location or device they are using.
For example, let’s say you just got a new delivery of supplies. Wouldn’t it be much more convenient for your workers to add the new materials to the inventory system on their mobile phones immediately? Or, while making a list of raw materials to bring to the shop floor, could they check where exactly each material is stored?
What’s more, the most efficient inventory management systems also come packed with various useful features:
As the data inside the Cloud Inventory Manufacturing Materials Software is updated in real-time, you can track stock levels at any time. Want to see how many resources were taken for the production batch and how many you have left? Or check when you will need to reorder materials? One look inside the cloud inventory app, and you will know everything.
Advanced Analytics and Reporting
Cloud inventory management can also give you far more data about your inventory state, trends, and demand than ever before – all thanks to advanced analytics features. For example, you can use those to analyze how many specific raw materials you are using every week and when exactly you should plan the deliveries to have them read just in time.
Another thing that can make managing your inventory much smoother is connecting the inventory management tool with ERP, CRM, or other manufacturing platforms you are using. That way, there’s no need to add the same data into multiple systems yourself. Instead, two clicks and you can transfer the data from one system to another with ease.
A huge benefit of cloud tools is also that they can be scaled as needed. Want to add more users to the cloud platform? With few clicks and they can use the system straight away. Need additional features? You can purchase those either by switching a subscription plan for a higher one or by buying add-ons.
That makes the solutions suitable both for small manufacturers that are just starting with inventory management but for large facilities with multiple warehouses as well.
Robust Security Measures
Many companies are still quite wary of cloud platforms though, worrying that their business data might not be safe there. The good news is that cloud-based tools are usually much safer than on-premise tools actually:
- The entire data inside the systems is encrypted using the latest encryption protocols.
- The platform can automatically back up the data and store it either on their servers or in any other place picked by the manufacturers (such as their cloud drive).
- Cloud tools providers have plenty of measures in place to ensure that their service will always be available for customers.
- Providers also have a dedicated IT team on-site for performing security audits or penetration tests and to patch any security vulnerabilities spotted.
That means that as long as you pick a reputable service provider, you can rest assured that your data will be fully protected.
How can Prodio help you with inventory management?
So as you can see, having a dedicated platform for automating inventory management could be life-changing for your manufacturing platform. But you know what could be even better? Getting an all-in-one Manufacturing Execution system (MES) for streamlining your production that also comes with an inventory management feature.
Inside Prodio, you can find features for:
- Production planning and progress monitoring
- Order management
- Shop floor control
- Time and attendance tracking
- and, of course, for tracking raw materials and supplies as well.
We are especially proud of the Bar-code labels feature, through which you can design labels for your products in moments and then use those to keep your inventory in perfect order.
Still doubting whether a cloud platform can be as helpful and secure as your on-premise manufacturing software? Then, how about scheduling a demo presentation or giving our free 14-day trial a test drive? We’ll show you that, as our many other clients, you soon won’t imagine your manufacturing facility without our cloud service Prodio.
We hope this article has shed some light on the numerous benefits cloud manufacturing inventory management solutions could bring to your manufacturing facility. By leveraging real-time visibility, remote access, and a few other handy features, you could have complete control over your inventory.
Plus, you could finally say goodbye to updating spreadsheets, frantic searching for materials, and guesstimating how many supplies you should order. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to harness the power of the cloud and unlock the full potential of your inventory – and Prodio will be happy to assist you here.
Cloud inventory solutions for manufacturers FAQ
What is a cloud inventory manufacturing materials system?
It’s a platform that leverages cloud technology to track, store, and manage manufacturing materials in real time through online platforms. It provides businesses with enhanced visibility, automation, and collaboration, streamlining inventory processes.
What are the benefits of cloud inventory management for manufacturers?
An efficient inventory management system offers several benefits, including real-time visibility into inventory levels, automated processes, improved accuracy, scalability, enhanced collaboration, and better decision-making through analytics and reporting.
How does cloud inventory management helps reduce stockouts?
Cloud inventory management minimizes stockouts by providing real-time visibility into inventory levels, enabling proactive reorder management, and automated stock replenishment. This ensures manufacturers have full inventory control and can maintain optimal stock levels to meet demand and avoid
Are cloud inventory solutions secure?
Yes, reputable cloud inventory solutions employ robust security measures, such as data encryption, regular backups, cloud monitoring, and access controls, to protect sensitive inventory information.
Can cloud inventory management integrate with other business systems?
Yes, cloud inventory management systems can be easily connected to other business systems, such as ERP or CRM. That way, you don’t have to worry about adding and updating the data in each system manually but can instead rely on automatic data exchange.
Are cloud inventory solutions suitable for small-scale manufacturers?
Absolutely! Cloud inventory solutions are scalable and can be tailored to the needs of small-scale manufacturers. They offer cost-effective options, eliminate the need for complex infrastructure, and provide the same benefits of enhanced inventory management as larger businesses have.
However, rather than going for complex cloud erp inventory management systems, we would recommend looking at smaller Manufacturing execution systems (MES) with inventory management capabilities. Those systems are more intuitive to use and more affordable for smaller businesses, plus the platforms can also be implemented and scaled with ease.
Can cloud inventory management help with demand forecasting?
Yes, cloud inventory management solutions often provide advanced analytics and reporting capabilities that enable demand forecasting. By analyzing historical data, market trends, and customer behavior, manufacturers can make accurate predictions and adjust their inventory levels accordingly.
How much do cloud inventory manufacturing systems cost?
The cost of cloud inventory solutions varies depending on the provider, features, and business size. However, virtually all of them offer flexible subscription-based pricing plans, allowing manufacturers to choose the plan that matches their needs (and budget) the most.