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Patrick Daly Interlinks Podcast: Inventory Control Made Mobile

Below is a transcript of the conversation between Patrick Daly and Ellen Malfliet. You can listen to the full recording here.

Patrick: Hello, this is Patrick Daly, and welcome to "Interlinks Intelligence," a program about connections, international business supply chains, and globalization. Today, we have Ellen Malfliet, Head of Marketing at Ventory, a Belgian software company specializing in field inventory management. Welcome, Ellen.

Ellen: Thank you, Patrick. Glad to be here.

Patrick: Ellen, before we delve into Ventory, could you share a bit about your background and how you came to be the head of marketing at Ventory?

Ellen: Certainly. I joined Ventory's founding team about a year ago. Prior to that, I spent five years in the aviation industry working on enabling drone traffic in our daily lives. Before that, I marketed and sold ERP systems for a decade. When Ventory's founder Vishal Punamiya approached me about his new venture, I jumped at the opportunity to return to the world of supply chain and logistics.

Patrick: Interesting. Now, let's talk about field inventories. Can you provide examples of what they are and why they are challenging to manage?

Ellen: Today, supply chains have evolved, with inventory moved closer to customers but farther from centralized control. Field inventories are often spread across various locations, managed by third parties, and fragmented. This lack of standardization makes it difficult to manage and track inventory effectively.

Patrick: What are the consequences for businesses when field inventories are not managed effectively? And what are the benefits of implementing a solution like Ventory?

Ellen: Inefficient operations and waste are common consequences. Without proper visibility and control, companies struggle to optimize inventory usage and face issues such as expiration, damage, and stockouts. Implementing Ventory brings increased efficiency, reduced waste, and improved usability. It streamlines tasks for warehouse staff, field engineers, and nurses, allowing them to focus on their core responsibilities.

Patrick: Which types of companies and organizations benefit most from field inventory solutions?

Ellen: Any organization dealing with valuable or time-critical stock can benefit. For example, infrastructure companies require prompt response to breakdowns, and having complete visibility and efficient inventory management is crucial, even for less valuable items.

Patrick: How does Ventory's system work in practice, and how do field personnel interact with it?

Ellen: Ventory offers a web application, a mobile app for smartphones and devices like Zebra scanners, and an API for integration with existing systems. We enhance customers' data and allow flexible configuration of additional workflows. By breaking down complex tasks into smaller, guided actions using multi-barcode scanning, Ventory simplifies cycle counting and helps transfer data to legacy systems effectively.

Patrick: So, if I understand correctly, field personnel like maintenance engineers or small depots can use Ventory to manage their inventories and even facilitate exchanges between colleagues?

Ellen: Absolutely. With Ventory, personnel can locate the nearest inventory, whether it's in a depot or a colleague's vehicle. This saves time and enables efficient inventory sharing.

Patrick: And how does Ventory integrate with existing business systems like ERP and warehouse management modules?

Ellen: Ventory utilizes a standardized approach to connect with various systems, such as SAP, Manhattan, or Microsoft. We adapt to the fields required by each system, allowing seamless integration and data exchange.

Patrick: What is the reason that existing systems struggle to handle these field inventory challenges?

Ellen: Existing systems are primarily designed for straightforward workflows, where items come in and go out. However, they struggle to handle the complexity of workflows involving returns, spare parts, disassembly, or alternative usage scenarios. Ventory fills this gap by providing a solution that can handle the diverse and intricate needs of field inventories.

Patrick: Thank you, Ellen, for sharing valuable insights into field inventory management and how Ventory addresses these challenges. It's clear that Ventory's solution offers significant benefits in terms of efficiency, waste reduction, and usability for businesses dealing with field inventories. We appreciate your time and expertise today.

Ellen: Thank you, Patrick. It was a pleasure to be here and discuss the importance of effective field inventory management. I believe Ventory's innovative approach can make a significant difference for companies in optimizing their operations. Thank you for having me.