Wasp Barcode Technologies: The Barcode Solution People

The Sleep Revolution And The Inventory Management Revolution

rsz_gettyimages-495661770finalone One of the biggest buzzwords in all of business is efficiency. How can we as individuals work more efficiently? How can the systems and tools we rely at the office help us work more efficiently? How can we work more efficiently as a team? The answers to all these questions are likely different, but they come from a similar place, we are most efficient when we remove the barriers, distractions and other obstacles to success, whether that’s poor organization or insufficient sleep. The latter concept is one being championed by Arianna Huffington, one of the world’s most successful business leaders and a prolific author who just released a new book, “The Sleep Revolution.” Huffington recently explained the impetus for writing a book on sleep in an article on her website: As I went around the country talking about Thrive, my book about redefining success, I found that the subject that came up the most, by far, was sleep. By the end of an evening, I’ll have had that same conversation with any number of people in the room. And what everyone wants to know is, “What should I do to get more sleep?” It’s clear that if we’re going to truly thrive, we must begin with sleep. It’s the gateway through which a life of well-being must travel. [Tweet "It’s clear that if we’re going to truly thrive, we must begin with sleep."] One of Huffington’s main points is that many business owners, entrepreneurs and even hard-working employees feel they have to sacrifice sleep for success, when in reality great success is often the result of good sleep (Huffington is worth over $50 million, so we are happy to take her word on it). Putting aside the real and important health risks that a lack of sleep creates, the ripple effect of insufficient sleep can sink a workday, or project, or entire company: concentration and reasoning suffer, as do energy and motivation for completing important tasks. Thus, good sleep is the foundation of success in the short- and long-term. sid-free-consultation-0516 We’ve begun to take a similar approach to building more efficient systems in all aspects of business with the understanding that we must start with a peak-condition foundation and go from there. For example, there’s been something of an “inventory management revolution” taking place over the last few years, as more small and medium-sized businesses recognize that an automated system for tracking their products is the basis for a successful company. The era of manual hand counts and guesswork forecasting, with the hope that efficiency in other areas to make up for the late shipments, incomplete orders and inventory shortfalls during peak demand, is being replaced by one of accuracy and quickness.


Though the analogy of sleep for humans and inventory management software for warehouses and supply chains isn’t perfect, the parallels are there. For too long, humans have short-changed sleep for accomplishing other goals, without realizing they may be taking more time and energy to complete those goals precisely because they lack sleep; and all the while, people are still obsessed with the concept, tagging photos on Instagram with “#sleep” and asking Google “Why am I… so tired all the time?” We know that we can’t live without it, yet that is often the first thing to get the shaft when in a time-crunch (as well as other things like good diet and exercise). Similarly, businesses that don’t use inventory tracking software are often dealing with issues like theft and loss; holding costs; unbalanced inventory turnover ratio; a lack of data to help predict ebbs and flows in demand; and much more all while sinking a great portion of their profit into creating more inventory. Even the numbers are similar: Over 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep a night, and 48 percent of small business owners don’t track their inventory at all or use a manual process to do so. This means that only about half of us, and half of our businesses, are maximizing their potential.  Much like a sleep-deprived CEO who still isn’t thinking clearly, business owners who continue to rely on spreadsheets or estimations to calculate inventory levels and track their goods from start to finish may not see what they’re missing. Why move away from a system that the company has used for years, without major issue? Tired businesswoman in the office Just as tired people tend to overspend their way out of the deficit created by a dearth of sleep (multiple cups of coffee, energy supplements, cutting short completing tasks to take a nap, etc.), businesses tend to spend the money they don’t invest in inventory management software in a number of ways:
  • Fixing input errors: Typing serial numbers into a database or spreadsheet is literally guaranteed to lead to inaccurate records. The time it takes to double-check, triple-check, update or otherwise alter inventory that turns out to be invalid is a major detriment to the bottom line. Those who use a barcode-based system to track inventory have one step: Scan the barcode, and that’s it.
  • Adjusting for real-time changes: Speaking of barcodes, companies that use them don’t have to worry about coordinating among various employees to make sure real-time data is accurate. Barcode scanners that are connected to the cloud make changes to the inventory database seamlessly, and don’t require a group huddle at the end of the day to compare notes on which products were moved, and where.
  • Investing too much in holding costs: For some, having enough inventory on hand to meet demand is the only goal. Those who pay high fees to store their inventory in warehouses, not to mention pay for insurance, know that there’s such a thing as too much inventory. Money spent on things like maintenance and mark-downs on unsold products is money unnecessarily spent.
  • Replacing employees: Workers who spend all day on tedious work that could be done faster and better by a computer are not happy workers. The cost to replace employees is too high to risk giving them unfulfilling and ultimately impossible work.
At one point, Huffington presents statistics that show that just a few days without proper sleep is enough to throw our thought processes into chaos, so much so that it’s like we’re drunk rather than just tired. Clearly, a hard-working business owner or employee is nothing without their brain. Ditto an inventory management system without a unifying software or automated system, using these things frees up everyone at the company to focus on more important aspects of the company, such as creative marketing initiatives or more efficient routes through the warehouse. Obviously, these are not easy or even cheap changes to make: Huffington installed soundproof windows in her bedroom and purchased a silk nightgown which she calls “special clothes for sleeping.” Companies will need to choose inventory management systems that are best suited for their needs.  In the long-run, payoff is clear: Some money upfront to build a more substantial base results in a myriad of possible ways to recoup that money, from a more focused mindset to the peace of mind that comes with inventory tracking all the way to the customer’s door. Is there a better reason for upgrading your sleep routine or your warehouse tools than that?