Inventory Automation

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As an ecommerce business owner, you’re likely familiar with the common struggles of managing inventory for your business. Out of stock issues, excess stock, and other product issues are all too common and can significantly cut into your business’s efficiency and profitability.

Having an inventory management system in place is key to keeping your stock numbers in check. By implementing inventory software, you can automate inventory-related tasks that are often time-consuming and prone to human error.

What is inventory automation?

Inventory automation is the process of automating time-consuming inventory management tasks to efficiently track inventory levels in real-time, as well as eliminate manual work.

What are the advantages of inventory automation?

Inventory automation comes with several advantages that can help your business grow faster. By automating time-consuming inventory tasks, you can feel more confident about your inventory management process, while reducing the amount of time spent on tracking, managing, and ordering inventory. 

1. Automatic inventory replenishment

Stockouts can harm your reputation with customers. By implementing inventory management software, you can automate inventory tracking tasks, such as setting up reorder notification points, when inventory levels fall below a certain threshold. This way, you can reduce manual inventory tracking and optimize stock levels.

2. Faster fulfillment operations

With automation, your team can speed up the picking and packing process by automating warehousing tasks and removing manual work. For instance, ShipBob’s proprietary warehouse management system (WMS) automatically assigns similar orders with inventory in the same area they’re stored in to the same picker to reduce the number of steps required to pick orders for a more efficient workflow.

3. Access inventory data

Sales can happen quickly, so you’ll need a tool that will track inventory in real time. Your chosen inventory software should be able to analyze data to optimize fulfillment, eliminate stockouts, and prevent excess inventory (aka deadstock). Just in time (JIT) inventory management may not always be possible, so real-time is your next best solution

“So many 3PLs have either bad or no front-facing software, making it impossible to keep track of what’s leaving or entering the warehouse.

On the supply chain side, I just throw in what we placed at the factory into a WRO in the ShipBob dashboard, and I can see how many units we have on-hand, what’s incoming, what’s at docks, and so on. I can see all of those numbers in a few seconds, and it makes life so much easier.”

Harley Abrams, Operations Manager of SuperSpeed Golf, LLC

Get the data you need to empower your fulfillment

Inventory automation also has the power to provide valuable data that can influence your fulfillment strategy. ShipBob is a third-party logistics (3PL) partner that offers a full suite of fulfillment solutions, including built-in inventory software and access to data and analytics. Here are some of the ways you can utilize inventory data to optimize your logistics operations.

My end goal when I started my business was to create something that was fully automated, so I could focus on driving sales. I didn’t want to have to worry about inventory and distribution as much.

I was looking for someone who would automate fulfillment for us. I chose ShipBob, and it turned out to be a very easy and scalable solution.

Everything was automated, from setting up my store, to sending product, to fulfilling orders. 

It was pretty remarkable how a 24-year-old like me with very little money and no prior logistics experience could launch a product and have distribution be automated.”

Josh Hollings, Founder & CEO of Drop FX

1. Demand forecasting

Demand forecasting can help you spend less money on both inventory purchase orders and warehousing as the more inventory you carry, the more expensive it is to store. A proper inventory management process involves having enough product on hand but not too much. Closely tracking inventory levels lets you easily restock and forecast inventory over time.

“With ShipBob, we have access to live inventory management, knowing exactly how many units we have in each fulfillment center. This not only helps with our overall process in managing and making sure our inventory levels are balanced but also for tax purposes at the end of the year.”

Matt Dryfhout, Founder & CEO of BAKblade

2. Real-time inventory data

You don’t have to outsource fulfillment and lose control over your inventory. Whether you store inventory in one ShipBob location or multiple, you can view inventory levels in real-time all from the ShipBob dashboard. This way, you can create and manage SKUs, reorder inventory, view which items are fast selling or slow moving, and more. 

3. Automatic safety stock setting

Through ShipBob’s dashboard, you’re given full control over your inventory. You can check inventory counts at each fulfillment center and set automatic reorder levels, so you are notified when stock is running low. This takes the guesswork out of the inventory reordering process.

“We roll out new products and designs on our website 1-3 times a month and send new inventory to ShipBob each week. It’s really easy to create new SKUs and restock existing ones using ShipBob’s technology, which is especially important with high inventory turnover.”

Carl Protsch, Co-Founder of FLEO

How to implement ShipBob’s inventory automation system in 3 steps

ShipBob’s proprietary fulfillment technology includes built-in inventory management tools to help you automate many time-consuming inventory tasks. It’s easy to get started with ShipBob, here’s how.

Step 1: Connect your online store

Sync your online store with ShipBob’s technology. We offer direct store integrations for Shopify, ShipStation, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, Amazon, and more.

Step 2: Send us your inventory

Choose which ShipBob fulfillment center locations you want to store your inventory and ship from, and then ship your inventory to those locations.

Step 3: Manage inventory all in one place

Using ShipBob’s dashboard, you can view the status of inventory and quantity on hand across locations at any point in time, identify slow-moving inventory with high storage costs, and gain insights into the performance of units sold over time by channel. Our inventory management software helps you set reminders to proactively replenish inventory with reorder notifications, bundle your products for promotions, make inventory transfer requests, and much more.

Learn more about ShipBob’s inventory solutions

Partnering with a 3PL can help optimize your ecommerce supply chain by simplifying inventory management. ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that uses logistics automation to make the logistics and fulfillment process more efficient, saving you time and money in the long run.

With our reliable fulfillment services, built-in inventory solutions, best-in-class customer support, and advanced technology, you can focus on growing your business and leave all-things logistics up to us.

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What is inventory automation?

Inventory automation is the process of automating time-consuming inventory management tasks to efficiently track inventory levels in real-time, as well as eliminate manual work.

What automation can be used to manage inventory?

There are several inventory system solutions and apps that help to automate inventory management tasks. You could invest in an ERP inventory solution if you’re managing and tracking inventory across multiple channels, including both wholesale and retail distribution. However, most ecommerce businesses choose to partner with a 3PL that offers built-in inventory software that helps to automate inventory tasks such as real-time tracking and setting up automatic reorder points.

What is an inventory automated system?

An inventory automated system comes with comes with inventory tracking software, so you know exactly how much inventory you have on hand in every location where it’s stored.  You can also track inventory that’s currently on route from your supplier, returns coming in from customers, and damaged goods that are unsellable. You can also automate the inventory reorder process by setting up automation notifications, as well as collect data that offers insights into inventory at the SKU level.