Digital Transformation

Sensor-driven shelving could help SMBs automate their inventory processes

Inventory automation offers SMBs not only an easy solution to inventory, but can also serve as a foot-in-the-door for implementing more tech.

Black and Decker's new product, FlexSense by Cribmaster, utilizes CribMaster software and sensor platforms to automate the inventory process.

SMBs and businesses with fewer resources can utilize the shelving technology to begin automating their supply chain, giving them a better chance to keep up with larger competitors. FlexSense automatically monitors and re-orders critical inventory items to make sure businesses always have the supplies needed, based on user preferences.

According to a press release, FlexSense will help eliminate stock-outs. The product sends inventory data in real time to any web-enabled device, keeping business owners aware of their inventory at all times.

SEE: Digital transformation in retail: How consumers are using tech to make shopping easier and more enjoyable (Tech Pro Research)

The standard FlexSense unit supports 50 sensor platforms, according to the report, but can be expanded to include 100 sensor platforms. These sensors can be used with each existing bin on the shelves, allowing users to set individual requirements for each bin.

When a bin gets low, the system will automatically generate an alert or create a purchase order for the item, based on the user's set stocking requirements, according to the release. Additionally, the shelves have color-coded LED indicators to let users know which bins need attention.

The retail industry is undergoing numerous changes because of evolving tech. Smaller stores, unfortunately, are struggling to keep up. The FlexSense unit could serve as a stepping stone for SMBs to keep up with the evolution of tech by slowly integrating automation into their daily processes.

Additionally, technologies like voice input, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and more continue to drive digital transformation in retail. For a full list of 10 technologies that could help keep brick-and-mortar stores going strong, check out our sister site ZDNet.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • FlexSense can speed the inventory process and offer quick solutions to eliminate stock-outs.
  • To keep up with the ever changing tech and retail environment, many SMBs can begin adding automation into their supply chain.

Also see

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Image: Black and Decker

About Laurel Deppen

Laurel Deppen is the 2018 summer Editorial Intern for TechRepublic. She is a student at Western Kentucky University.

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