Warehouses are vital facilities for businesses and entrepreneurs all over the world, as they provide them with a safe and secure place to keep their inventory before it is sold to customers. Recent advancements in technology have transformed a warehouse to much more than just a simple facility to store your inventory.
In recent times, a new type of warehouse has emerged – the smart warehouse – and it is revolutionizing the way you manage and secure the inventory of your e-commerce business.
In this article we will be looking at three things:
- What is a smart warehouse
- The security and transparency they provide for inventory owners
- How InventoryClub will use them to keep your inventory safe
What is a Smart Warehouse?
In technological terms, the word “smart” is used to refer to a device or something that is run by computing power and is highly automated.
Applying the same concept to warehouses, a smart warehouse refers to a storage facility that is fully automated with features such as automated inventory management and barcode scanners.
Thanks to the internet of things (IoT), a smart warehouse can also be connected to the internet through RFID solutions. Some smart warehouses even go a step further by tagging the inventory with location trackers, thus allowing the owners to trace the exact location of their stock at any given time.
Why Use Smart Warehousing?
You may be asking yourself why you would want to use a smart warehouse when you can use a traditional warehouse and probably save quite a bit money?
While using a traditional warehouse might appear cheaper (the automation and technology used in a smart warehouse can be quite expensive), smart warehouses offer you many benefits that we believe outweigh their costs.
While there are literally dozens of benefits to using smart warehousing for your inventory, here are three key reasons we are choosing it to keep your inventory safe.
Smart Warehousing Enables Smart Contracts
A tremendous benefit of smart warehousing is that every single detail regarding your inventory can be recorded and uploaded online. This comes in handy during inventory financing arrangements, where you are providing funding to a merchant for the purchase of inventory.
Smart warehousing goes hand-in-hand with our Inventory Financing Agreement (IFA). It’s actually a critical component in providing the power of the IFA.
Since an IFA will likely involve you purchase the inventory proposal of a merchant don’t know and realistically may never meet, a smart warehouse allows you to keep tabs on your inventory until it is sold.
The IFA is a smart contract that facilitates a transparent transaction between members and merchants. It contains the details of the inventory proposal being used (the amount of financing that the member is providing as well as the specifics of the inventory being purchased for the merchant to sell).
It also includes the terms and conditions, part of which states that the inventory will be the property of the member until it is sold. Also included in the contract are the penalties for breaching the contract.
The contract is updated constantly as and when the latest information arises. For example, once we have purchased the inventory for the merchant on your behalf, the IFA will be updated with details of unique ids and additional information of each item that was purchased. When the merchant makes a sale, the IFA is automatically updated accordingly.
What makes the IFA so effective is its self-governing nature and seamless integration with our InventoryTrace warehouse management solution, which collectively provide a transparent and secure way to manage your inventory.
The records are immutable and cannot be deleted or altered once they are created. And all of this is only possible with smart warehousing. Smart warehousing ensures that your inventory is secure by making the entire process extraordinarily transparent.
Monitor and Track Your Inventory
As our smart warehouse includes the tagging of inventory to allow the tracking of each item, with an active IFA you can keep tabs on your inventory in real time. As inventory owner, this feature allows you to keep tabs on your inventory in real time.
One of the most important facets of the location tags is to enable trust between all parties involved. InventoryTrace is used to keep track of all items in the IFA.
The information is then shared on the blockchain, which is accessible to both the merchant and member. Notifications of key activities such as arrival and tagging, sale and dispatch are sent to both member and merchant.
Automation Increases Accuracy in Handling Inventory
The last of the key benefits of smart warehousing is automation. Smart warehouses are heavily automated, which reduces the need for human labor.
As an inventory owner, automation helps to increase the security of your stock by reducing the risk of damage or loss due to human error. Automation in smart warehouses also helps to increase efficiency in the warehouse, which can have excellent results on the entire supply chain.
Let’s look at your IFA as an example.
Automation will help to eliminate delays when processing the inventory in the warehouse. Packing and shipping of the inventory will also be fast, and thus items will take shorter time reaching the customer.
This means that you will receive your investment plus the profit at a much faster rate than you would if you were doing things using a traditional warehouse.
There are many benefits you can reap from smart warehousing. It provides your inventory with an extra layer of security, thus increasing the safety of your business interests.
By allowing connection of the inventory to the internet, smart warehouses also help to increase transparency in the handling of the inventory. This allows for fast, smooth, and conflict-free dealings with the merchants, resulting in you experiencing desirable financial returns.
Interested in learning more about how InventoryClub can help you take advantage of the tremendous financial opportunity that is happening right now in the Commonwealth? Check out our whitepaper.