Inventory system tailored for S Africa

21st October 2022 By: Nadine Ramdass - Creamer Media Writer

Inventory system tailored for S Africa

COMPLETE SOLUTION BoB is a cloud-based, barcode and inventory control system

Supply chain specialist Strategico has developed the Barcode Out’a Box (BoB) system that is tailored to meet the requirements of local warehouses with its barcoding, scanning and inventory functionalities, besides others.

The cloud-based, barcode and inventory control system functions as a complete warehouse management solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to streamline warehouse processes.

The company identified the need for a locally built and supported inventory system suited to local circumstances, particularly in terms of functionality and pricing, explains Strategico MD CP van Vuuren.

Strategico prioritised the system being easy to deploy and cost effective to run through its pricing packages. Companies can use their own hardware or buy it from Strategico, further enabling companies to choose the most cost- effective option suited to their requirements.

BoB has native iOS and Android applications, enabling users to run it on any mobile platform and access its features. The system was developed on Architecture, making it flexible to use in the office environment.

The system is designed for multiple branch capabilities and can integrate warehouse management systems or inventory control systems such as enterprise resource planning systems SAP, Oracle and Sage.

Optimised Warehouse Processes

Van Vuuren explains that the biggest hurdle warehouses in South Africa face, compared to European warehouses, is literacy levels.

Therefore, systems developed for European markets are complex and require information and choices from the user, which can make it more difficult for users with lower literacy levels in South Africa to use.

In response to this challenge, as opposed to giving users a choice, Strategico built intelligent workflows into the background which then ask the user ‘yes or no’ questions. Based on the response, the workflow then guides the user step by step through the process.

BoB’s functionalities assist users from the beginning to the end of their internal supply chain. The system can receive stock, provide purchase order verification and match products being received against the point of sale to ensure correct stock quantities.

The system can guide users on where to store and locate products such as fast-moving or slow-moving goods.

It can also integrate AI and machine learning to run algorithms at the end of a working day to reclassify items. Therefore, warehouse stock can be stored according to daily updates of purchases made.

“Normally, this process is done over a number of months, where warehouses will do a reclassification of items and rely on the warehouse employees. However, this can now be done by BoB in real time,” explains Van Vuuren.

The system can also do automatic or manual stock-cycle counting. Users can set up a fully customised warehouse stock count, provide the location and set up a stock count of each item category to classify stock, which the system will then automatically create in cycle counts that need to be done.

For dispatching purposes, users can import the sales orders from their respective company’s enterprise resource planning system. BoB will then generate intelligent picking slips, based on the company’s customised business rules, thus automating the process.

BoB then follows a pick, pack and ship verification process, which assumes that everything picked will be packed into boxes or handling units.

Such items are scanned for a second time and matched against the orders to ensure that the correct items are being packed.

For shipping purposes, the handling units are scanned, and companies or users can flag the units on the system to automatically set up whether they would like to scan all the items again, or scan the boxes or handling units when it reaches their destination.

BoB features intuitive reporting on warehouse stock and a bill of materials functionality. The bill of materials functionality automatically deducts the required raw material used to make a finished product when the finished product is scanned.

The system is also linked to Strategico’s distribution optimisation software. Through this functionality, order information from the system can be sent directly to the distribution optimisation software to receive an optimised distribution plan.

The plan provides details such as which orders must be delivered, which vehicles will be used for the routes and the expected times of arrival at every delivery or pickup point.

BoB also features an electronic proof-of-delivery functionality. Once products have been shipped, they can be scanned again in its destination location to obtain a signature from the customer on a mobile device for a digital copy of acceptance.

“We're really aiming to be the leader in inventory management technology and services in South Africa in the years to come. We're looking forward to expanding our horizons outside of South Africa with it as well,” Van Vuuren concludes.