Industry 4.0’s Real Impact: Automated Stock Management Boosts Productivity & Lowers Costs for Industrial Companies
Companies big and small rely on industrial vending and other automated dispensing technology to eliminate the waste and inefficiency hiding in their operations. The impact of this technology is so significant, more and more companies are adopting it to gain a powerful competitive advantage.
Multiple Applications for Automated Dispensing
The solutions currently available vary widely depending on the application, including reusable asset management and the dispensing of PPE, consumables as well as direct and indirect materials. The best solutions, however, provide real-time reporting in addition to a reliable dispensomg device.
Apex Supply Chain Technologies® a leading provider of self-serve, automated dispensing solutions, has more than 120,000 systems deployed worldwide. Its devices rely on the cloud-based data platform known as the Apex Trajectory Cloud™ to collect data and control process automation.
According to Mike Pokora, Vice President of Industrial Sales for Apex, there are two main types of devices used for consumable dispensing.
Helical-coil devices are perfect for smaller, hand-held PPE or MRO items.
Lockers with multiple compartments are better for larger items and tend to vend one item per locker. Apex also has models with weight sensors and pusher mechanisms, for greater control of individual SKUs.
While automotive and aerospace are early adopters of this technology in the UK, any manufacturing sector will benefit from automated dispensing.
Benefits of Automated Dispensing
Some of the biggest industrial brands in the world use self-serve, automated dispensing devices to manage, track and control their supplies due to a variety of benefits.
Cost reduction. Companies gain real-time visibility into who uses what, where and when they use it. This accountability makes employees more likely to use equipment and supplies responsibly. This reduces the cost of replacing lost, thrown out or mishandled items. In fact, some Apex customers have reported cost reductions of up to 40 per cent after adding automated dispensing technology to their facilities.
Productivity increases. Manufacturers can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, unplanned downtime caused by a lack of stock. Automated dispensing solutions can send automatic alerts when the stock reaches a minimum threshold. Placed at the point of use, the devices also eliminate sometimes-lengthy stockroom visits. And the staff once required to manage the stockroom can be deployed to more important tasks.
More effective inventory management. The ability to manage inventory using real-time data stored in the cloud enables manufacturers to ensure stock levels are never too high or too low. SKUs can automatically be re-ordered once pre-set critical levels are reached. This ensures employees always have what they need to work safely and effectively, reducing the likelihood of downtime waiting for inventory replenishment.
Time and cost savings in stock administration. When the amount of stock held on site is reduced, stock turnover efficiency increases. This ultimately reduces the amount of working capital tied up in this inventory. Automated order processing eliminates a lot of tedious paperwork. In fact, inventory usage reports provided by the data tracking platform (Apex’s Trajectory Cloud), streamline the time-consuming reordering process such that distributors are able to provide a single monthly invoice.
Companies are working towards maximising profits from every square metre of their operations. Automated dispensing solutions help them do just that and are a reminder that the promises of Industry 4.0 are already being realized by companies across the EU.
For more information on Apex’s automated dispensing solutions, please visit https://www.apexsupplychain.com/gb/applications-2/