Create a streamlined workflow with inventory management technology for the feedyard
Feedyard managers are in business to produce healthy, high-quality food for families and communities. That passion for quality drives operations, but day-to-day logistics like inventory management can sometimes fall through the cracks. Without solid, reliable inventory management technology, feedyard managers can find themselves running out of product and struggling to get what they need.
Even when an inventory management solution is implemented, there could still be problems. Lack of compliance can create shortages and drive up costs. If employees fail to follow procedures when pulling medication, for example, inventory isn't updated and the next time a person needs to pull a shot, they find the bin empty.
"[Lack of user compliance] turns into emergency orders and expensive, delayed product, or sending somebody in the truck to the vet clinic to search their shelves," said Zach Beutler, animal health inventory product owner, Micro Technologies.
Solutions that automate the inventory updating process create an easier workflow for employees on the ground.
Digitizing the workflow
For feedyards, inventory control systems bring a completely digital workflow. Using biometric fingerprint technology and PIN code access, such systems ensure high-value items are safely stored at the highest possible security level with customizable access restrictions. They integrate with existing practice management systems, so employees can seamlessly manage inventory and keep product details linked to animal health records.
Employees can access the system with a simple fingerprint scan, select the medication they need and the patient record, and remove what they need. Inventory is automatically updated and there is no need to press additional buttons or update logs. All compliance-related data and replenishment requests are automatically recorded.
"It provides the user a quick and easy way to come and go," Beutler said. "Our solution is very efficient. The user comes in the door, scans their fingerprint, pushes a button saying they took two syringes and two bottles of saline or whatever it is, and hits exit on the computer screen after verifying what's on the screen is what's in their hand."
The system will also keep track of product expirations, which makes it easy to rotate first in, first out. To further simplify the process, a centralized web-based dashboard can track product inventory, expirations, and usage across multiple locations.
What about feedyard management? An integrated feedyard management platform can track and automate everything from feed to medication to other animal data in one integrated system. Mangers access real-time information and statistics on feed inventory, medication administration, and other animal and inventory data, using simple barcode scanners or QR code scanners. The system can even be used on mobile devices for easy inventory management in the field. Automation via inventory management technology gives feedyard managers more time to provide top-quality animal care.
"Automation can help producers streamline their inventory management process," Beutler said. "They don't have to think about it or worry about it. Once a week, they can go to their basket and verify that's what they want, maybe add a couple things, or remove a couple things if they're making some changes in protocols, and submit the order. They don't have to spend time cycle counting and all that goes into that. Internally, it's a huge savings on pick, pull, and ship processes. On the manager side, it's a huge time savings when receiving, checking against your purchase order, and making sure that what you got matches what you ordered. When it comes to restocking, it's the same thing. It's expensive on both ends."
Inventory management technology does more than save time and money. It also makes the entire inventory system – including replenishment and deliveries – more efficient and can help improve sustainability efforts. With an efficient inventory system, fewer one-off deliveries are needed, which means fewer truck hours on the roads. Depending on the size of the operation, that can cut down significantly on carbon emissions.
Efficiency extends beyond the number of deliveries and fewer truck hours on the road. It also reduces the amount of time staff spends on inventory-related tasks.
"If a worker doesn't need to spend 15 minutes poking around on a computer to pull product, they can just come, grab what they need, and go," said Beutler. "They don't have to receive multiple times a week. They can receive once, stock the shelves, and have what they need."
When everything is organized with an automated inventory system, or a full-fledged feedyard management platform, people can focus on the real work: caring for animals and running a top-quality feedyard operation.
Inventory management is about much more than products on a shelf. It's about ensuring animals have the care they need to stay healthy, giving staff members access to the medications they need to do their jobs, and creating an environment where fewer carbon emissions result from the delivery of product.