Why is Offline Mode Important for Cloud Inventory Management?
In today’s real-time business environment, your warehouse employees and field technicians need to be able to stay connected and productive at all times. This form of connectivity is primarily achieved through the use of mobile devices and apps in the workplace. Most of us already know this.
What we fail to realize is how much time is still wasted due to intermittent internet and cellular connection. Even with the prevalence of Wi-Fi, working in large facilities and at off-the-grid locations creates significant operational challenges for inventory management professionals relying on mobile devices and applications.
According to a recent survey performed by research firm MarketLab, one of the most common complaints from Wi-Fi users is internet dead spots. For leisurely internet users, dead spots are annoying, but for users of the cloud inventory system, they can be detrimental to productivity and potentially costly to the bottom line.
Think about it: Without online capabilities, you can’t use your mobile device to perform any inventory activities, such as searches or transactions or sending/retrieving real-time data. And to make matters worse, there is no way to plan for these unexpected occurrences or know how long they will last. At the end of the day, dead spots amount to increases in labor costs and decreases in production efficiency or inventory turnover, depending on your operational model.
What is Offline Mode
Offline Mode is a new feature in our Inventory System and Asset Tracking Solution Pro mobile app (iOS & Android) designed for storing inventory data directly on your mobile device instead of in the cloud (online). You may choose to sync data to your online database once a Wi-Fi or cellular network becomes available. It is the solution to the aforementioned connectivity problems within cloud inventory management. The new feature available in our Inventory System and Asset Tracking Solution allows your team to continue to perform inventory activities when an internet connection is unavailable.
Technically there are many scenarios where offline mode can help you out, but here are a few of the most common:
- Fieldwork– For service-based businesses that involve IT, Environmental, and Energy solutions, employees often must account for their inventory activities away from the office. Technicians might consume parts during a repair, install products, or check out equipment, all of which affect inventory levels or asset counts, and must be logged and tracked. In certain remote job sites, internet access can be scarce or non-existent, making these transactions impossible using mobile apps without offline mode.
- Warehousing– According to Material Handling Experts, Cisco-Eagle, 64% of US warehouses are larger than 25,000 square feet in size. Many of these facilities have been newly built because of logistical and energy efficiency needs. Depending on the density of materials used in the construction of these large warehouses, many facilities are susceptible to signal interference and dead spots. These factors make the offline mode a necessity for warehousing professionals concerned with maintaining a productive workflow.
If you are currently using a cloud inventory management system and dealing with dead spots or shoddy internet access, having offline capabilities makes a lot of sense. It’s worth considering even if the need does not currently exist, especially if your company is expecting growth or an office and/or storage facility relocation in the near future. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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