Real-Time, Item-Level Visibility (RTILV) is Here to Revolutionize Enterprise Supply Chain Management

July 26, 2023

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • General class identifiers — such as models, SKUs, styles, lots, and batches — lack the granular details required for optimization, accuracy, and forecasting that can determine effective replenishment.
  • Item-level RFID is a critical component of inventory accuracy and proactive stock management, enhancing inventory accuracy by over 98% and supporting control, security, sustainability, and more.
  • Tracking items in real-time means businesses can manage their inventories more effectively. They can also automate replenishment processes and reduce carrying costs, thus making the entire supply chain more responsive and efficient.

Change is here. That is news to no one. But the nature of the change is one that we at Mojix have anticipated for a long time. One that we are well-prepared for. I invite you to consider a new imperative that many leaders in supply chain face: achieving real-time, item-level visibility.

A New Imperative: Real-Time, Item-Level Visibility (RTILV)

In the past, enterprise supply chain systems have relied on general class identifiers to manage and track inventory. General class identifiers include things like SKUs, models, styles, lots, batches, etc.

The Downside of General Class Identifiers

Brands, models, SKUs, styles, as well as lots and batches, have been the norm in supply chain management for 50+ years.  These identifiers make it easier to manage large quantities of items but often lack the granular details required for optimization, accuracy, and forecasting that can determine effective replenishment. This method can lead to inefficiencies such as overstocking, out-of-stock scenarios, inaccuracy in demand forecasting, supplier replenishment, and even inventory safety stocks, not to mention having the product inventory at the wrong location in the wrong quantity: you get the picture. Numerous industries are impacted by this, from retail to food to pharmaceuticals to industrial to automotive. In all areas, a “Perfect Order” is having the right inventory, right place, right time, at the optimal cost to serve. So how is that perfection made possible?

The Power of Item-Level Tracking

Filling shelves, disappointing consumers, and miscalculating demand can have catastrophic effects in this economic climate. The global culture is increasingly one of on-demand, single-day delivery, and all of it for free. We at Mojix believe it’s time for supply chain leaders to lean into the power of item-level tracking. Here are five convincing reasons to do so:

  1. Enhanced Visibility and Control

    Item-level tracking, enabled by technologies like RFID tags, IoT devices, and blockchain, provides precise, real-time information on each item as it moves through the supply chain. This granular data is crucial in improving decision-making, optimizing inventory levels, and reducing waste.      This value has a trickledown effect, enabling transparency to the customer and an ability to provide immediate, accurate answers on product life cycle and other buying considerations.

  2. Improved Accuracy in Demand Forecasting

    Understanding the movement of individual items helps in creating more accurate demand forecasts. It allows organizations to analyze trends on a micro-scale, considering variables such as location-specific demands, seasonal trends, and consumer preferences, which can lead to better production planning and       inventory management.     When accurate demand forecasting is achieved, it opens the door for innovation. Teams are free to advance new, purpose-built product lines or services and improved demand prediction in terms of product.

  3. Streamlined Recall Processes

    Traceability ensures easy item identification and authentication.     For instance, in case of a product recall, item-level tracking can prove invaluable. By tracking each item, companies can quickly identify and isolate affected products, minimizing the scope of the recall and reducing associated costs and risks.

  4. Increased Consumer Trust

    Consumers are increasingly demanding transparency and authenticity. Item-level tracking allows for the seamless sharing of information with consumers regarding the sourcing, production, and distribution of products. This not only enhances brand reputation but can also provide an advantage in the market.     That market, as we all know, is highly invested in eco-responsibility and ethics. Measuring environmental impact is more thorough with item-level tracking. Bonus: there is now a clear, inarguable manifest of performance to relay to consumers, bolstering trust.

  5. Real-Time Inventory Management

    By tracking each item in real-time, businesses can manage inventories more effectively. Leaders can also automate replenishment processes and reduce carrying costs, thus making the entire supply chain more responsive and efficient.     Operational efficiency is, at the end of the day, a cost-saving measure and one that businesses must achieve to survive in a complex and competitive environment.

Why Change Tactics Now?  

Over the last 50 years, quantity tracking data was more or less sufficient. General class identifiers data and transactional structures were supported by AIDC systems.  But disruptions occurred. Technology brought lightning-paced transformation to supply chain management. Real-time data capture streams, serialization, smart data carriers, scalable cloud infrastructures, and emerging technology further catalyzed seismic changes across all industries and regions. External disruptors took the form of ESG requirements, new regulations, shifts in customer expectations, and a data glut the likes of which the world had never seen. In very short order, AI-driven supply chains both generated and relied on real-time, high-res event data.

The Future is High-Resolution Data

Data-rich technology and advanced connectivity are moving us into a new era. The traits of tomorrow’s supply chain leverage data not just to knock the edges off of systems or accelerate speed to insights. The future is real-time, item-level visibility (RTILV), and it is going to revolutionize enterprise supply chain management.  

Gartner on RFID for Item-Level Traceability

We are in good company with this belief. An article published June 2023 by the research team at Gartner states that “As part of the Internet of Things (IoT), item-level RFID is a significant contributor to a retailer’s data and analytics platform. The technology enables retailers to optimize real-time store inventory visibility and accuracy to reduce safety stock, optimize costs and maintain a compelling product mix.”  The Gartner team goes on to recommend that leaders in retail and other sectors — including food, beauty, and more — implement and integrate RFID technology for item-level traceability as a “critical” component to advancing inventory accuracy, proactive stock management, and fulfillment processes.

Embrace Change: Mojix Can Help

As supply chains become more complex, the demand for more efficient and transparent management systems increases.  Item-level tracking is set to replace general class identifiers as the standard for enterprise supply chain management.  By adopting this approach, businesses can not only optimize their operations but also meet the evolving demands of consumers and stakeholders.  The future is itemized, and it’s time for enterprises to embrace the change. Ready to do just that? Connect with the team at Mojix today.

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