Package X

How to Use AI for Manufacturing Inventory Management 

Competitive organizations understand how necessary it is to prioritize efficiency to ensure the delivery of products and services to an ever-demanding customer base. Effective inventory management is a critically important component of manufacturing and has a direct impact on the supply chain. The better an organization’s inventory is managed, the better its production, lead time, and bottom line. Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions into the manufacturing process can result in the overall improvement of a company’s raw materials to order fulfillment process.

Understanding Manufacturing Inventory Management

Essentially, managing inventory in manufacturing involves overseeing materials and products from their delivery to the warehouse to their shipping to the customers and the handling of returns. Effective inventory management ensures that components and products are not only sourced and delivered to the manufacturing location promptly but also necessary for keeping production on schedule, satisfying customers, and achieving targeted revenue.

Different Types of Inventory Management Software in Manufacturing

Inventory management is vital in manufacturing, ensuring smooth operations by maintaining optimal supply levels and leveraging warehouse management software to ensure inventory is efficiently used. There are software options to help manufacturers achieve this objective, each offering unique advantages.

Manual Inventory Management

Before the advent of inventory management software, manual inventory systems represented the most basic method of inventory receiving. This approach involves using pen and paper and spreadsheets to oversee and track what goes in and what goes out of the warehouse and what is utilized on the manufacturing floor. While often suitable for small businesses or those with few products, manual inventory management is time-consuming, prone to errors, and becomes less effective as the company grows. In short, this approach is not scalable and drives manufacturing organizations toward methods of improved warehouse receiving processes.

Barcode-based Inventory Management

Barcode systems within a manufacturing organization improve accuracy and efficiency when tracking inventory. This method includes attaching barcodes to items for scanning at different stages of production. Although more efficient than other methods, barcode-based systems still involve manual tasks, such as individuals scanning separate items.

Today, QR codes are the next evolution of barcodes. They can store more information and can be scanned from virtually any direction, making them more functional in inventory management. Data from QR codes can be scanned from mobile devices, stored via data management systems, and analyzed for better decision-making.

RFID Inventory Control

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to retrieve and capture data stored on a tagged item enhances inventory management beyond manual methods. Unlike barcode and QR code systems, RFID technology can simultaneously scan tags without requiring visibility, resulting in quicker and more efficient operations. It also offers real-time updates on inventory levels, enhancing tracking accuracy. While RFID solutions offer benefits in inventory management, its implementation can be costly due to the need for tags, readers, and software.

Automated Inventory Control

Automated inventory control systems facilitate maximum precision in manufacturing and are a reliable way of improving inventory management. These systems incorporate cutting-edge technologies like software algorithms, AI, machine learning, and sometimes robotics to automate the process of tracking inventory and placing orders. By minimizing manual intervention, automated systems decrease the likelihood of errors while enabling analytics to forecast inventory requirements based on historical data and patterns.

Key benefits of automated inventory control include:

There are a variety of benefits automated inventory software solutions offer manufacturing organizations, including:

Automation of manual tasks

Automation minimizes and often completely eliminates time-consuming manual tasks and the errors typically associated with them.

Improved Accuracy

Automation decreases the risk of errors in counting inventories and data input, facilitating better control and precision – two critical factors of a successful manufacturing operation.

Enhanced Efficiency

Automated systems handle inventory management and reordering quicker than manual alternatives.

Problem Detection

An automated inventory management system can identify and resolve potential inventory issues much earlier in the manufacturing process. Organizations can address stock limitations and discrepancies in inventory counts with real-time monitoring provided by automated solutions.


Automated systems may involve setup costs, but the long-term savings from reduced labor expenses and minimized inventory waste can be significant. These systems have the advantage of scaling with your business, successfully managing increased workloads and complexities without requiring additional labor.

Insightful Analytics

Automation also offers insight into inventory trends and usage patterns, aiding in accurately forecasting future inventory needs.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

By using inventory management software, manufacturers can deliver products faster and more efficiently, with reduced instances of stock depletion. Improved customer satisfaction results in greater loyalty, repeat purchases, likely referrals, and an improved bottom line.

When considering these advantages, automated inventory management software solutions are often the choice for manufacturers seeking to optimize their operations. By utilizing technology to monitor and manage inventory, manufacturers can ensure a more efficient production process and better alignment with their business objectives.

Challenges in Managing Inventory in Manufacturing

Manufacturing organizations have choices when it comes to managing their inventory. As we’ve discussed, implementing an automated system can provide a host of benefits for the organization and its customers. As manufacturers seek ways to manage their inventory better, identifying solutions enabled by AI can play a significant role in providing both short and long-term solutions.\


Manual Receiving Processes

The initial step in managing inventory, warehouse receiving, is crucial yet can be hindered by manual processes. Manual methods usually require employees to enter data from printed documents into computer systems, inviting errors and creating inaccurate reporting data. These inefficiencies not only lead to delays in replenishing stock but also impact overall supply chain speed, which ultimately impacts operational flexibility and customer satisfaction.

  • AI Solution: AI can transform this process using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to automate data extraction from logistics documents, speeding up receiving and reducing errors.

Lack of Real-time Visibility

Efficiently managing inventory relies on the capacity to track and manage valuable resources in real-time. Conventional methods frequently fall short in this area, providing delayed insight into inventory status that may result in mismanagement, excess inventory, or stock shortages. Each of these issues comes with its own set of financial consequences.

  • AI Solution: Integrating AI-powered sensors and IoT devices can provide real-time monitoring of warehouse activity and stock levels, enhancing efficiency.

Integration Challenges

In many manufacturing organizations, legacy systems operate in silos that are often disconnected from other areas of the company. This isolation can lead to significant integration challenges, where systems cannot communicate effectively, leading to data and operational inefficiencies.

  • AI Solution: AI in inventory management does not simply convert data into forms. It seamlessly integrates with other systems, using APIs to enable a cohesive operation that adjusts and responds to various inventory challenges.

Unreliable Lead Time Estimations

Forecasting lead time in inventory management is vital for ensuring a seamless supply chain operation. Nevertheless, conventional systems often overlook challenges related to delivery schedules that result in inefficiencies and higher expenses caused by rushed orders or surplus inventory.

  • AI Solution: By utilizing AI to analyze real-time data, manufacturers can obtain precise lead time forecasts by considering variables like supplier performance, weather conditions, and even social media trends, signaling potential disruptions in the supply chain.

For manufacturers with inventory challenges, AI has transitioned from an option to a fundamental component of contemporary manufacturing logistics. It not only automates tasks efficiently and cost-effectively while delivering real-time data, but it also ensures seamless integration across diverse platforms, empowering manufacturers to tackle traditional challenges more effectively. As this technology evolves and can address more manufacturing and logistics challenges, more manufacturers are adopting AI-enabled processes to remain competitive in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Register for our webinar

Attend our webinar & start automating reverse logistics workflows at your warehouse.

Download our guide

Develop a clear path for growing your AI strategy in logistics.

Ready to automate returns?

Get quick takeaways on how to automate returns processing at your warehouse for maximum efficiency and profitability.

Watch the Webinar
This website stores cookies on your device. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy

Let's Connect

Please enter a valid business email


Thank You for Your Request to Meet with Us

One of our team members will be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Contact Sales

Please enter a valid business email


Thank You for Contacting Us

One of our sales team members will be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Request a Demo

Please enter a valid business email


Thank You for Scheduling Time With Us

We look forward to meeting you soon!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Apply for Marketplace

Please enter a valid business email

Thank You for Showing Interest in Our Marketplace

One of our team members will be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.