Better Chemical Inventory and Asset Management
Efficient Inventory and Asset Management for the Chemical Industry
The chemical industry produces many innovative and crucial products for different industries and markets, but inventory and asset tracking processes within the chemical business are still very old-school.
Most companies still rely on manual, paper-based inventory or asset tracking, or they use hybrid systems that combine spreadsheets or basic software with manual labeling and tracking processes. But these systems create a lot of inventory, supply chain and compliance headaches.
Any system that still relies heavily on manual labor and paperwork or manual data entry into spreadsheets or software wastes time and cost. It’s very inefficient, and it tends to lead to costly and potentially dangerous errors. This is why it makes perfect sense to implement more automated and digital processes for inventory and asset management in the chemical industry.
The Business and Practical Case for Fully Digital Inventory and Asset Management
There are many reasons why digital inventory and asset management systems are a huge benefit to chemical industry companies, but here are a few quick examples:
More Efficient and Accurate Inventory Management
Instead of having to track down missing inventory or a missing tool, you can use a fully digital tracking system to label, tag and track your inventory and assets accurately and with far less labor and cost. All it takes is a barcode label printer, barcode labels, a software application, and a mobile computer to run the software, scan barcodes, and connect with your business systems to keep your inventory or asset information updated.
This way, you’ll always know what you have and where it’s located, and you can digitally track everything by part and serial number and quickly determine its location by conducting a quick search in your software application. You can see all your inventory at a glance, including stock quantities, usage trends, and re-order thresholds. Plus, it’s all maintained with digital accuracy, where human errors are minimized.
Companies with barcode-based tracking systems are routinely able to achieve up to 99 percent inventory accuracy, and that can add up to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in savings from lost time and labor, lost inventory, discrepancies, and expensive excess stock.
Better Asset Management, MRO and Uptime
Similarly, instead of dealing with downtime because preventive maintenance wasn’t performed on schedule, you can keep your equipment and assets calibrated and running properly with maintenance and repairs that are scheduled, managed and documented with digital efficiency and accuracy. You can use barcoding and mobile computing technologies plus a desktop and mobile software program to achieve this quickly and easily.
Improved Compliance and Worker Safety
A digital inventory and asset management system can also help you ensure better safety and compliance, by accurately tracking chemicals, tools, maintenance and repair. You can even deploy similar digital systems to help manage and track worker safety and access to restricted areas.
In particular, you can use a barcode-based system with specialized labels and tags to accurately track chemical barrels and other inventory or assets, even in harsh environments where chemicals are present, or items might be exposed to outdoor elements.
You can also use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to control access to restricted areas and account for personnel and their last-known location for mustering or disaster response. Using fixed-position RFID readers at doorways or entrances and RFID-enabled ID cards, you can control who can access certain areas, and you can automatically capture a record of who has passed through an area or evacuated your facility in the event of an emergency.
How to Get Started with Digital Inventory and Asset Management
To start barcoding and digitally tracking your inventory and assets, and to start improving compliance tracking, access controls, and overall worker safety, our experts at AB&R recommend barcoding and RFID technologies from Zebra, paired with the right software for your specific needs.
Zebra’s hardware includes barcode and RFID printers that allow you to print and apply labels and tags to the right barrels, containers, products or items in your warehouse, yard or field operations. Each barcode or RFID tag uniquely identifies the inventory you want to track, and you then scan or read that barcode or tag with a barcode scanner, RFID reader, tablet or handheld mobile computer.
You can use a mobile version of your software running on a mobile computer, tablet or RFID reader to enter or update inventory or asset information and quantities as you pull, transfer or replenish stock, or as you perform maintenance, calibration or repairs. The software does the rest for you automatically and digitally tracks and updates part or item numbers, their locations, stock levels, replenishment or re-ordering needs, maintenance or repair scheduling and tasks, assignments, and much more.
You can use your software to search for specific inventory or assets, instantly see their location and their status, see real-time trends and reports, and manage everything more efficiently and accurately. Your software will typically have a desktop computer version as well, so you can access the same functionality, inventory information and reports from a desktop PC.
If you’re setting up compliance tracking or access controls and emergency response procedures, there are software applications specifically designed for these purposes, with features, tracking capabilities, searches, documentation and reports to help you meet compliance requirements or ensure worker and workplace safety. And they leverage the same types of hardware technologies, such as barcode scanners, RFID readers, mobile computers, and RFID-enabled ID cards, to enable digital and accurate tracking.
Importantly, you don’t need to be a technology or software expert to do any of this. You can work with experts to help you find, specify, design and deploy the right systems for you, and the good news is that today’s tracking hardware and software is relatively easy to use and easy to learn. It’s designed for virtually anyone to use, including complete beginners, with minimal learning curve.
Also, by working with the right technology and software partner, you can get full-service assistance to help you get everything up and running, train your workers, and even maintain your system over the long term.
Our team at AB&R has done this for hundreds of chemical companies, manufacturers, warehouses and other industrial operations, and we work closely with Zebra, one of the world’s leading barcoding and mobile computing companies, to provide the hardware and our top-recommended software to get the job done. You can work with our experts to guide you along the way and design, set up and deploy a digital system in your operations.
To break out of manual, inefficient and error-prone processes that might be plaguing your inventory and asset management, start by reaching out to our team for free advice and assistance. We’ve helped even the most old-school operations make the move to digital tracking, and we’d be happy to help you do the same.
To get started and explore the possibilities, call us now at 800-281-3056 or send us a quick email.
Free Barcode and RFID Assessment
Contact AB&R today to receive a Barcoding and RFID Starter Guide or to schedule a free assessment that will identify the perfect solutions for your warehouse operations.