History of inventory management

First signs of inventory management

Probably the first "inventory counting" that comes to our mind is Adam naming all animals, and, latter Noah counting beasts entering the Ark.

Related imageImage result for adam naming animalsThe first signs of inventory management go way back in history. When you look achievements of ancient architecture and read about great battles of past, you need to ask yourself how did they manage it, how did they manage logistics of such monstrous projects?
Supplies, tools, manpower
We think of first inventory management systems as primitive and ineffective, but the latest archeological and science breakthroughs give us a totally new insight in old inventory times

Dr. Gunter Dreyer of the German Institute of Archaeology is perhaps the most prominent of a number of archeologists who believe that writing actually developed out of early marks that were used to tally the kinds and amounts of goods in stock at ancient warehouses.

Dr. Dreyer recently discovered numerous inscribed bone labels attached to bags of oil and linen in the tomb of King Scorpion I at Abydos, Egypt. The labels date back 5300 years, are the world's earliest known writing, and describe inventory owners, amounts, and suppliers.

One could even conclude that Inventory control goes back further than writing. Even before systems of representing specific sounds by specific pictures arose - the systems that let you look at a letter "s" and associate it with the hissing sound one makes by pressing the tongue lightly behind the upper teeth and squeezing air out of the lungs, for example - there were simpler inscriptions in Egyptian and Babylonian warehouses and granaries, with pictures that represented the inventory owner and numbers representing amounts in stock and taxes due.

Middle Ages

Merchants couldn’t really account for stolen goods unless they did time-consuming physical counts on a regular basis. They also had trouble making sure they got the right number of products when orders came in because of sparse record keeping.
Great battles in the past with more than 100 000 knight included-needed to be prepared. There was an inventory system that enabled armies to be equipped and prepared in time. With the invention of accounting and new world explorations, inventory management climb its leaders. There are tons of documents regarding inventory preparations and counting. But still, inventory counting was done manually and it was a much tedious process.

Industrial revolution or : 

"Do not fold, spindle or mutilate"

was a generalized version of the warning that appeared on some punched cards.
Yes, during the Industrial revolution PUNCH CARDs were a real revolution. They were commonly used in business and even used as financial records for storing bound and check info. Of course, they also found their place in inventory management.

Here is the short timeline history overview of punch card evolution:

Basile Bouchon developed the control of a loom by punched holes in paper tape in 1725. The design was improved by his assistant Jean-Baptiste Falcon and Jacques Vaucanson
Semyon Korsakov was reputedly the first to propose punched cards in informatics for information store and search. Korsakov announced his new method and machines in September
Jules Carpentier developed a method of recording and playing back performances on a harmonium using punched cards.
1896 - IBM era started
Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896) which was one of four companies that were amalgamated (via stock acquisition) to form a fifth company, Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) (1911), later renamed International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) (1924).
The UNITYPER introduced magnetic tape for data entry in the 1950s. During the 1960s, the punched card was gradually replaced as the primary means for data storage by magnetic tape, as better, more capable computers became available.

Modern times

Barcode Scanning
Tracking of inventory is another major area of overall inventory control and management. Traditionally there was no foolproof method to keep an exact track of inventory items. Nowadays, barcodes are extensively used on products in supply chain or production processes which can be scanned by bar code readers which then sends the data to the central control unit regarding the product details and updating various details about the product.

Use of RFID
Radio Frequency Identification Technology is the advanced technology to increase equipment, inventory and business process visibility. It helps to accurately track the location and exact count of materials and store them in a central database which provides a bird’s eye view on the inventory levels in the organization hence empowering the users to make informed decisions based on facts.

The Future ..will I be pretty ..will I be rich...

With industry 4.0 there will be synergy between logistics, production and inventory management/
Finally, we are reaching to the golden milestone of  "ultimate supply and demand"  that drives goods allocation. How, when and changes You can read about it in our next blog.



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