This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project addresses an automated vendor-managed inventory (VMI) system for distributors of small parts. Small parts inventories introduce several difficulties because of the large quantities that are maintained and the multitude of different part types that have similar physical appearances. For such systems, where inventory is stored in many racks of bins, it is labor intensive to provide continuous accountability for each part. Distributors are often left with two choices: maintain high inventory levels to avoid short-term surges in demand; or monitor levels closely by hand to ensure an adequate supply without unnecessary overhead. Phase I will develop an economical means of providing real-time usage statistics for small parts through the use of intelligent electronic sensing bins. Each bin reports the quantity of parts enclosed to a central communications module, which in turn compiles a report listing the replenishment requirements for each part. This information is then provided to vendors so that they may create a timely order for the customer.
VMI technology will find use by suppliers that wish to provide VMI services to a large number of small clients. By avoiding continuous human monitoring and intervention, VMI will be applied to small contracts, resulting in savings for both parties. This technology is expected to be used in the industrial fastener market, which is growing at a rate of 3.7% annually.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Redpoint Controls, LLC
364 Patteson Drive, Suite 279 Morgantown, WV 26505
Number of Employees: