Barcodes & QR Codes

How Inventory Automation Can Help Businesses Prepare for Unexpected Events

April 28, 2020 • 6 min read

Right now, we’re all in the middle of what can only be called an “unexpected event.” Many businesses across the world have been forced to close up shop temporarily. Even more brands have been forced to adapt to drastic changes in consumer behavior. 

While plenty of organizations are feeling the effects of the unexpected events caused by the coronavirus, there are still steps you can take to get organized and get some aspects of your business under control using inventory automation software. We can also adapt, learning from this experience, so that we’re ready for any other unpredictable twists and turns in the future.

Inventory automation is one crucial strategy that you should consider implementing to help your business prepare for unexpected events, and in this post we’ll discuss the five key reasons why. 

What Is Inventory Automation? 

Inventory automation is the process of finding ways to automate and streamline your inventory management. In most cases, inventory management tools and apps are a key part of this.

Management tools with inventory automation features may include the following:

  • Easy product check-in or check-out with quick scanning of a barcode or QR code
  • Alerts to tell you when you’re low in stock on a certain product and need to reorder
  • Notifications telling you that certain products in your inventory are nearing the end of their warranty or expiration date 
  • Automated data syncing from a user’s app on their smartphone to the business’s cloud-based system, providing an instantly-updated and secure inventory list 

Inventory Automation Means You Won’t Need to Have As Many People On-Site 

Imagine working at a grocery store right now, with massive influxes of products coming into the store daily that are flying off the shelves the second they’re stocked. 

Or think about being an administrator at a hospital, trying to receive and monitor an abundance of new medications or personal protective equipment (PPE) the second they’re available. (Note that we’re currently offering Sortly Ultra for free right now for healthcare and PPE providers.)

The last thing you’d want during any kind of chaotic event is to have to call more people into the business than is absolutely necessary, and you definitely wouldn’t want to need to hire new team members. You want to keep your efficient team that knows what they’re doing, with the smallest number of people actually managing the inventory as possible during the crisis even if you normally work with much more expansive teams on hand. 

An auto-syncing cloud-based inventory management app will make this possible. 

Team members can keep an eye on what’s happening with inventory both remotely and from in-store. If your inventory manager was on leave when the virus affected your area and they can’t get back right away, they’ll still have the ability to stay on top of everything. 

In unexpected events, this is an enormous advantage, because you can’t always know where you or your key team members will be when disaster strikes. 

Inventory Automation Makes The Process of Inventory Management Faster & More Accurate 

Inventory automation, unsurprisingly, will often make management faster and much more accurate.

Automation that takes place by using barcodes or QR codes, for example, will streamline the entire check-in and check-out process while reducing human error that’s much more common with manual inventory management.

Remember that when people are stressed, they become increasingly likely to make mistakes. This is human nature, and it’s okay to be human.

That being said, avoidable mistakes are not good for business, especially during an emergency when profits may be slimmer. 

While your team is knocking out inventory management tasks faster and more efficiently, this will free up more of their time so they can be more productive later on, tackling other critical tasks for the business. 

Saving time and improving accuracy are two great ways to save money. This is an enormous asset during unexpected events, which have an unfortunate tendency to lead to tighter financial situations for most businesses. 

Automating Your Inventory Allows You to Assess Inventory at a Glance 

A hospital employee in charge of inventory management will want to carefully track all inventory under normal circumstances, but it’s become even more crucial now. With items like personal protective equipment (PPE) in short supply but high-demand, you want to ensure that every last mask is accounted for and exactly where it’s supposed to be. This information will help determine how much to ration out to the staff, and when it’s time to place another order.

Inventory automation will update your database in real time as soon as something changes. You’ll be able to see your entire inventory without rummaging through cabinets or having to check things in-person when you and your employees may be safer at home. You’ll be able to make decisions about your business’s inventory without stepping foot into a stockroom.

With Automated Inventory Software, You’ll Be Alerted to Low Stock Instantly 

Emergencies can make it hard for people to focus on the little tasks and details that keep our businesses running smoothly. Inventory automation can help with this, keeping track of everything for you and alerting you when there’s something that needs your attention.

Right now, business owners have a great deal on their minds, keeping them anxious and worried. A disorganized stockroom or a sloppy inventory system only contributes to the anxiety. Knowing exactly what you have on stock and where it is will help you feel more grounded and can help keep your business running smoothly. 

Inventory management tools like Sortly will notify you when there’s something happening with your supply that you need to know about. If you’re approaching your in-stock minimum, you’ll get a reminder to reorder. And if you’ve got products on the shelves that are due to expire soon, you’ll be notified about that, too.

Whether you’re dropshipping your products or receiving parts from a manufacturer, you want to be able to stay on top of your entire inventory without having to obsess over every detail. Automation will help you do so, ensuring that nothing slips between the cracks. 


Whether it’s a small hiccup like having a short power outage or a major, word-stopping crisis like the current coronavirus, there will be unexpected events that throw you and your business for a loop. This is all part of owning a business, unfortunately, and being prepared for unpredictable and sometimes less-than-desirable circumstances will benefit you in the long run.

If you haven’t made the shift to a tool that allows for inventory automation, now is the time to do so.

Inventory management tools like Sortly offer incredible automation features so that you’re able to stay on top of everything happening in your store without worrying about missing something within the inventory management department. It will give you more time to focus on other essential tasks and ensure that your inventory is exactly as it should be.

Ready to embrace inventory automation at its finest? Start your free trial with Sortly today