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Everything You Need to Know About Digital Vendor Managed Inventory

Everything You Need to Know About Digital Vendor Managed Inventory

Vendor managed inventory (VMI) allows suppliers to manage inventory levels and make decisions on behalf of the manufacturer—replenishing the inventory continuously. VMI is data driven with advanced software that helps vendors plan shipping and production dates in advance to minimize stock outs.

Most suppliers need the high levels of visibility and control that inventory management software provides. They require tools that can centralize, collate, analyze, and interpret data in real time.

Inventory management is essential to manufacturing, and a robust digital vendor managed inventory system can provide suppliers and buyers with a way to mutually reap the benefits of successful inventory optimization.

The right VMI software system allows users to establish stock thresholds and alert vendors when stocks fall below minimum inventory levels—allowing them to plan more efficiently.

What is Digital Vendor Managed Inventory?

Vendor managed inventory software is designed to help suppliers take responsibility for and manage inventory. This business-to-business strategy enhances the supplier-distributor relationship, allowing all parties to collaborate and align their objectives to achieve optimized operations.

In a traditional business model, product buyers are responsible for deciding inventory volume and when to place orders. A vendor managed inventory model shifts the responsibility from the buyer to the supplier. In some cases, third-party logistic vendors may also be responsible for maintaining adequate inventory levels on the buyer’s end.

Thanks to automated data flows and configurable settings, VMI users enjoy improved order accuracy and reduced stock outs. They can also achieve faster inventory turns, increased sales, higher in-stock percentages, and supply chain efficiency.

Features of ShelfAware’s Digital VMI Software System

When using a vendor managed inventory system, the collaborative relationship between buyer and supplier optimizes the supply chain and inventory levels for cost savings and efficiency.

ShelfAware is an example of a digital VMI system that equips multiple suppliers with the ability to act as one while driving real value to consumers. It captures and then leverages inventory data to automate the mundane in highly complex supply chains. ShelfAware accomplishes this with the following three features:

  1. Smart Package Tracking.

    If you can stick a label on it, it can be tracked. Tracking packages is the most efficient and flexible inventory management solution. It transforms existing storage spaces into virtual vending machines and can scale up (pallet level tracking) or down (single piece flow), as necessary, on an item-by-item basis. Traditional vendor managed inventory relies on a sales rep traveling onsite (“dude in a truck model”). This model is limited by the supplier’s network of branch locations, employees, and physical assets. The more recent innovations—barcode scanners and vending machines—also have built-in limits that prevent effective inventory management, discourage long-term adoption, and deliver inaccurate data.

  2. Effortless RFID-Powered Data Collection.

    Focusing on RFID allows ShelfAware to deliver a magical user experience. Simply pick your inventory, swipe it past ShelfAware’s Checkout Station, and go back to work. ShelfAware revolutionizes mandatory physical inventory audits that are common in the manufacturing industry. Using a standard Zebra RFID handheld scanner and a user downloaded mobile app (Android or Apple) users are equipped to perform on-hand inventory audits in minutes across thousands of SKUs. The inventory audit is usually a mandatory function performed by the consumer that takes days, sometimes weeks, to perform. This innovation alone is often enough of an ROI for consumers to consider ShelfAware.

  3. Cloud Sourcing™.

    Cloud Sourcing™ is a unique approach to the market that encourages collaboration between suppliers and consumers. It also sets the stage for further automation by leveraging an omni-channel approach to supply chain challenges. It creates space for independent experts to collaborate and solve complexities through a unified platform. The Vendor Managed Inventory service solutions, like many enterprise software, have historically been exclusive systems that do not play nice with others. These systems operate on an island and do little to drive the value of data automation to other business systems they interact with like supplier’s ERP systems or consumers MRPs.

ShelfAware is revolutionizing supply chain management through the power of collaboration.  Independent suppliers work together with a single consumer on a single RFID IoT supply chain platform.

Thanks to its unique use of Cloud SourcingTM, ShelfAware is a great fit for any business trying to remotely manage a complex physical inventory. More specifically, ShelfAware was designed to automate industrial wholesale supply chains and provide a platform for independent industrial suppliers to collaborate and collectively supply the industry’s largest consumers on an automated omni-channel.

Want to learn more about an affordable way to automate your supply chain? Request your free ShelfAware demo 

Too good to be true?  ShelfAware is redefining the vendor-managed inventory industry. For this reason, we’re happy to talk to you about how our intelligent inventory platform can benefit your business. Contact us today for more information.

More articles about using a digital vendor managed inventory system to solve your supply chain challenges:

Why Cloud SourcingTM is a Game Changer for Digital VMI Systems

How Energy Manufacturing Tackled Inventory Challenges with an Affordable, Easy-to-Use Supply Chain Solution

What Kinds of Manufacturing Businesses Can Benefit from Inventory Management Software?

Top 10 Advantages of RFID Inventory Tracking

7 Ways to Save Time and Money with an RFID Inventory Management System

How Automation Improves Manufacturing Operational Efficiency


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