Transparent inventory management is always crucial for warehouses and manufacturers. Without accurate inventory counts, they could encounter major hang-ups or have regular cost overruns. However, companies that invest in the latest warehouse management systems and other software platforms that regulate inventory control will likely have more success as time goes on.

Although companies may devote significant resources just toward maintaining inventory, it's usually a good idea to also invest in WMS platforms that help to provide better insight into how inventory flows on an ongoing basis, according to Business 2 Community. There are many ways to approach streamlining inventory tracking even beyond a software solution. Some examples include committing to better physical organization, labeling or barcoding systems, and so on. When taking that next step, it's also a good idea to do an inventory audit every once in a while just to make sure the data in WMS systems syncs up with physical counts.

Taking the next step
At a certain point, modern WMS and inventory management systems should run smoothly enough that they can be automated to reorder items when stock runs low and send out alerts to pertinent parties when potential issues arise. Moreover, these systems can be used to determine how supply lines should operate when everything works in sync. Executives can utilize that information to set better standards for baseline operations. That, in turn, helps to not only allows facilities to reach higher levels of efficiency but maintain them in the long run.

For some facilities, part of the transition to the latest and best possible tools for improving inventory counts might include the use of mobile and wearable technology, according to Shahid Mansuri, co-founder of the mobile app development firm Peerbits​. Writing on Customer Think, Mansuri noted these types of tech can be important when it comes to increasing the efficiency and accuracy of physical inventory counts. By scanning items into a system, there's less of a chance users will miss something or enter data incorrectly. In addition, these systems upgrade automatically as time goes on and are typically easy to use, even for employees who might not be familiar with how older systems worked.

Make sure it works
Finally, upgrading to the latest WMS can reduce the number of hours devoted to inventory controls, said Paul Trujillo, a Product Marketing Manager at Informatics. Once these systems are up and running, the number of times adopters physically counts inventory can fall year after year, potentially freeing up hundreds of hours for workers and executives alike.

While businesses should by no means abandon the counting process altogether, combining new management systems with mobile platforms that allow for a simpler, more efficient scanning process can help do the job as quickly and easily as possible, and with less oversight because of fewer errors.

It's crucial that logistics or manufacturing decision-makers do all they can to ensure their facilities have the tools they need to move into the 21st century. Legacy systems may be useful to a point, but when it comes to integrating the latest inventory data, an upgrade to cutting-edge WMS platforms will provide a big boost.