From barcode scanning to smart glasses using augmented reality, inventory management tools are indeed evolving- and it’s all because of mobility. Devices move from being wired to wireless scanning guns, making it easy to move around while working and helping cut down on error in manual inventory management. 

According to Research and Markets, the industrial wearable device market will grow from roughly 1.5 bn in 2017 to over $2.6 bn by 2023. Tractica, a market intelligence firm, forecasts 172 million wearable devices to be cumulatively shipped for enterprise use. 

“Wearable scanners boost business productivity, offer faster processes, hands-free alternative to the need for traditional handheld scanners and paper picklists,” mentions Stephanie Lawrence, a research analyst at ABI Research, in a press release. 

“Ring barcode scanners, glove scanners, and smart glasses are the most popular forms. Depending on the device type, they allow their wearers to scan bar codes, record processes, and access information without interruption.” 

Mobile technology is the new catalyst for the change in the inventory management system. These technologies are more comfortable to implement, apart from aiding quicker processes. Replenishing stock inventory and other supplies has made its way to personal devices. Scanning app technology is now prevalent and works on smartphones, making it much easier for MRO people to reorder tools and other necessary supplies. 

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Customers are also getting more comfortable with voice-activated technology at home/workplace. Mobile operating systems in Android and iOS are becoming more ubiquitous and dominate the mobile market. “The definition for what is a wearable is shifting in the present times,” says Jim Hilton, director of vertical marketing strategy, Zebra Technologies. He also adds “Things in the industrial environment/MRO are moving from handheld scanners to glove and ring scanners.”

Another major catalyst for MRO is managing and maintaining operations in real-time. The idea is to provide information about operations better, to enhance the cost-effectiveness and business decision-making process. Apart from bar codes, RFID (both passive and active) can know about assets and goods. Mobile apps can be accessed from any location at any time. Your staff in the field continually updates with the latest information when the data is accessible in real-time. 

Here are the five potential advantages mobile applications provide for inventory management in MRO:

1. Accuracy 

People associated with inventory management in MRO can check their day-to-day transactions and other business tasks without any glitches. Mobile apps can scan the barcodes and QR codes to assure data precision. They can also enter the precise figures to have accurate access to the inventory. 

2. Avoid Double Entries 

The use of pen and paper typically increases chances for errors and hampers overall business efficiency. Using mobile applications directly helps with avoiding these human errors or duplication of entries. 

3. Real-Time Information 

Another significant advantage of the shift in inventory management towards mobile applications is the real-time information people get. Managers can have access to real-time insights and can thus make better business decisions. 

4. Work Smoothness 

More than anything else, mobile apps offer smoothness in your work by allowing users to access the feature they require at that moment. Market vendors like Copper Mobile provide several mobile app solutions. They offer specific solutions for each problem type and thus improve employee productivity and smoothens the inventory workflows. 

5. Offline Access

A significant limitation of the MRO business is that the employees don’t have access to the internet all the time. With offline storage options in mobile applications, users can store the performed transactions. This feature is also useful when the server is slow and interrupting users from conducting other transactions. Even a two-second delay in server response per transaction affects the company’s bottom line. Moreover, with offline mobility, users can also save the data locally, perform other dealings, and sync the ERP data later. 

All in all, mobile is going to stay in one or other form factors. Implementing mobility in warehouses also leads to companies achieving a competitive advantage and improving the bottom line of businesses.