Manage inventories carefully during economic restart, says Zebra Technologies

As manufacturers ramp up production during economic recovery, they need to ensure they do not create too much inventory, says Zebra Technologies Corp., which designs and manufactures products and solutions to identify, track, and manage assets, transactions, and people.

November 2, 2009

Material Flow Suite, by WhereNet, part of Zebra Enterprise Solutions, is a manufacturing execution management solution.

Recent signs of economic recovery are making many manufacturers grapple with how much to ramp up production of goods, according to Zebra Technologies Corp., which designs and manufactures products and solutions to identify, track, and manage assets, transactions, and people.

Government programs offered consumers’ incentive to purchase high-ticket, energy efficient items like cars and appliances helped to boost consumer spending in July, and report from the Institute for Supply Management notes U.S. factories saw output rise in August for the first time since January 2008, the company noted.

However, with other parts of the economy and job market weak, it is possible consumer demand and spending could slow once incentives end. Zebra Technologies advice for manufacturers includes:

– Take care to increase production to meet market demands without creating excess inventory;

– Increase visibility into the supply chain to monitor production, factory management, and supplier networks;

– Use the latest technologies to deliver visibility and greater velocity for measurable business improvement and navigate uncertain and fluctuating customer demand.

– Synchronize with recovery, the marketplace, and customers.

Enabling technologies include direct thermal and thermal transfer label printers, radio frequency identification printer and encoders, dye sublimation card printers, digital photo printers, and related accessories and support software.

Zebra Technologies Specialty Printing Group provides specialty printing devices that print variable information on demand at the point of issuance.

Such printers can produce bar code labels, passive radio frequency identification (RFID) labels, receipts, plastic identification cards, wristbands, and tags; printer supplies products comprising stock and customized thermal labels, wristbands, smart labels and tags, plastic cards, card laminates, and thermal transfer ribbons; printer management, label design, and driver solutions; and depot maintenance and repair services.

Products are used for various applications including inventory control, small package delivery, baggage handling, automated warehousing, just-in-time manufacturing, employee time and attendance records, file management systems, shop floor control, in-store product labeling, employee ID cards, and access control systems.

The Enterprise Solutions Group offers asset tracking and management solutions for the aerospace and defense, aviation, automotive, industrial manufacturing, maritime, and transportation and logistics industries, as well as provides maintenance, support, and consulting services. This segment also sells real time asset management hardware.

Zebra Technologies offers case histories from:

LandRover video and

Getrag video .

Also read, from MBT: Good forecasting tools point the way to lower inventories , and

Business intelligence-based insight to lean supply chain performance .

-Edited by Mark T. Hoske, electronic products editor, Manufacturing Business Technology MBT