GPUs and the Need for Effective Inventory Management

By Adrian Thompson, Global VP of Marketing at SAPPHIRE Technology

One of the biggest pain points for consumers is when products are not available in store, therefore it is crucial for retailers to have a well-planned inventory management method. With brand loyalty becoming more important than ever before, ensuring products are available to purchase when the customer wants is a key part of retaining customers.

Today, technology is driving both disturbance and opportunity. Technology is playing a huge part within the retail industry and realistically the sector would not function without it. Combining both online and in-store inventory management is a way retailers are able to blur the line between competing models and offer their customers the best of both. Whichever way customers prefer to shop, it is vital that retailers are meeting their needs and demands, meaning inventory needs to be managed efficiently.

In the past, a retailer would manage its inventory manually – meaning that store staff would stay late to manually count and record each individual item. However, in today’s fast-moving environment, manual inventory management is no longer good enough, even though there are still businesses who either do not track inventory at all or do so manually. Manual inventory management does not provide an accurate record which can be detrimental to retailers.

Through the adoption of GPU powered databases, retailers are able to track and analyse large volumes of assets, due to the need to analyse large numbers of inventory across the entire supply chain in real time. GPUs provide immense processing power and the ability to offer retailers an improved inventory management solution. They work by accelerating the performance of IoT data, whilst being able to operate significantly faster and more efficiently than CPUs. GPU powered databases are able to support analytics and queries across millions of rows of data, whilst responding in milliseconds. Additionally, these sophisticated databases are able to help retailers forecast future purchasing behaviours.

GPUs are able to power deep learning and artificial intelligence which can further enhance the efficiency required of retailers. “Omnichannel” and “BOPIS” (buy online pickup in store) used to simply be buzzwords. However they have now become part of a fully-realised retail strategy. With its popularity growing rapidly, maintaining an accurate view of inventory is essential in delivering on the promise of these shopping experiences. E-retailers are realising the true value of GPU powered databases and the benefits they hold. Online retail engines require a high speed database in order to analyse the most popular items customers are purchasing and correlate it with the number of those products in the supply chain. By doing this, retailers are able to ensure they have enough stock and as a result keep their customers happy.

One technology that has seen an increase in adoption across the retail space is radio-frequency identification (RFID). RFID technology makes reference to whereby digital data is integrated into RFID tags or smart labels, which are then captured using a radio wave reader. These tags are attached to products at the manufacturing process or when arriving at a retail store, allowing retailers to track products as they move across different stages of the supply chain. RFID enables retailers to keep up with customer demands and meet their expectations. Although it can be an expensive solution, the benefits can outweigh the costs and retailers who have adopted RFID usually see an increase in improvement in accuracy of inventory and profit margins increasing. GPU technology can be combined with RFID to further enhance performance.

With the number of retail stores closing, it is more important than ever for retailers to ensure they are maintaining an accurate inventory procedure and remain competitive against competition. Retailers that are equipped with fast and efficient decision making technology can not only meet their customers’ needs and improve their journey but also increase their profits and reap the awards.

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