How to Choose the Best Inventory Management Software for Your Business
You’ve been able to expand your business from one step to something far greater, from selling jewelry at arts festivals to managing a warehouse filled with your original designs. Keeping track of your inventory is crucial, especially with all the earrings and bracelets that are now in transit. This is when a warehouse management system comes into place. Inventory management is a must-have for any company who wants to grow and prosper. With the appropriate software that centers on inventory management, you can easily adjust to shifting market conditions, obstacles, or changing business strategies. Fast-growing manufacturers need to consider scaling up, expanding their markets, increasing sales, and developing their customer bases while enhancing profitability after overcoming early-stage obstacles. However, you’re already losing money and customers if you’re still using spreadsheets to manage your inventory, constantly finding yourself in either an overstocked or understocked situation, and dealing with inventory counts that don’t mirror the real inventory available.
Today’s manufacturers opt for SaaS-based software for inventory management that doesn’t only fulfill their present demands but also swiftly adapts to the future needs of a growing business rather than losing time, money, and resources maintaining a complicated IT infrastructure. Scalable inventory management software can lower costs, increase efficiency, and boost production by assisting manufacturers in automating tasks and streamlining their processes. Manufacturers can find answers to their most pressing problems by using contemporary software. The right solution will grow with your company as you continue expanding, so it’s important for manufacturers like yourself take the time needed when exploring all options available on this subject matter before making any final decisions about what kind of system best suits your current and future needs.
Do a Pain Point Assessment
Achieving optimal inventory levels requires a delicate balance. Have too little and you end up with stockouts and unhappy customers, too much and you’re carrying additional costs, taking up valuable space and potentially stocking obsolete inventory. You can’t afford to let your customers down, especially when they’re counting on you. The last thing you want is to see a customer not get that emerald bracelet in time for their significant other for their anniversary.
Manufacturers must evaluate their inventory management procedures and develop plans that may both satisfy customer expectations and reduce inventory expenses. Businesses must also concentrate on minimizing uncertainty brought on by changes in demand, stockouts, duplicate orders, etc. These issues could result in significant financial losses. All of these issues can be avoided by employing software that provides real-time inventory visibility.
Maintain Excellent Quality Control
Your staff can swiftly identify and separate non-conforming inventory thanks to quality management. It helps in building stronger relationships with your customers, vendors, and distributors and is crucial to inventory control. Prior to the completion of the production run, manufacturers must gather all the data they can on their manufacturing procedures. Modern, cloud-based software can assist manufacturers in problem-solving, downtime reduction, and output measurement, all in real-time. Your ERP (environment resource planning) system must have access to all of this data in order for advanced analytics to continuously look for potential process improvements.
Facilitate Real-Time Data Sharing
From the point of origin to the end-user, inventory management encompasses the entire supply chain. It can either tie up money and lower your profitability when you overstock, and affect customer satisfaction when you don’t keep adequate inventory on hand, or when managed well, it can lower expenses and boost bottom lines. Previously, businesses attempted to escape these problems by performing the manual, error-prone process of conducting physical counts in the warehouse and then verifying those numbers. However, real-time updates of inventory counts are made possible by contemporary SaaS-based software, and all users across various business units and locations can easily receive this information.
Configure for Scalability
Older architectures could have been used when developing outdated applications and software, which makes it impossible for them to scale to accommodate rapid expansion or integrate with other systems. Manufacturers should use cloud-based platforms with capabilities that can be scaled up or down based on company demands rather than relying on proprietary, on-premises systems with limited flexibility.
Take It One Step at a Time
Manufacturers can create a strong inventory management strategy and set the company up for success in the future by adopting a step-by-step approach instead of jumping into a major implementation. Manufacturers have complete access to their inventory and are able to allocate orders and products quickly and accurately. Setting manufacturers on the proper course involves evaluating their existing situation, spotting any technical gaps, and looking over their future goals.
What to Look for in an Inventory Management System
It’s a major undertaking to choose the best system for your business, but if you know what to look for, you’ll be more prepared than others. Be deliberate and patient when making your choice, and be sure to keep the following features in mind as you search:
Tracking of Inventory
You must be able to monitor the status of raw materials and finished products across the supply chain in order to establish an inventory control system. You can automate inventory tracking with the use of inventory systems, doing away with the necessity for laborious and time-consuming manual work. To save time and mental energy that can be utilized elsewhere, many systems, for example, automatically generate tracking numbers when they create a receipt or invoice.
Barcoding for Inventory
Barcoding is a widely used technique to monitor and control inventories because handwriting or manually keying an SKU can be tiresome. Imagine having to write down or key in an SKU for every piece of jewelry you are selling! In addition to eliminating data entry errors that are frequently made, barcode scanning simplifies processes that involve interacting with other components of the system.
Analytics are crucial for comprehending customer behavior and business performance. However, inventory management software must go beyond simply gathering data and deliver information in a tangible and useful way. After all, what use is data if you can’t understand it or use it to your advantage? Many systems for inventory management include pre-defined reports with the key indicators you require, but some may go a step further by allowing you to design reports and delve deeper into the insights that are exclusive to your business.
An order management system that receives continuous updates means that the program is constantly updated with the most recent data. In simpler terms, the inventory counts are live and show the current stock levels. Periodic updates, an alternative to this strategy, involves stock takes occurring at specific intervals (daily, weekly, monthly). Continuous updates are frequently preferable because these numbers only represent what was available at the time the count was done. Real-time inventory counts allow you to monitor the levels of your raw materials and ensure that out-of-stock items can’t be ordered. This way, you can replenish just in time to satisfy the demands of the customers.
You probably use a variety of management tools to run your business. It’s ideal that your inventory should be connected with each of the back-end applications you use. If these platforms aren’t integrated, you’ll end up manually entering data, resulting in serious delays. Warehouse management, accounting software, and purchasing systems are frequently connected with an inventory management software. The more these various apps can communicate with one another through integration, the more your supply chain will be optimized, and as a result, you’ll save time and money.
Don’t disregard the significance of ease of use, even if pricing will undoubtedly play a role in your purchasing decisions. The usability of inventory management software influences how effective the overall system will be, a point that business owners sometimes underestimate. For instance, it’s probably not a worthwhile investment on your part if learning the program will take your employees hours and hours. You need a solution that will streamline your operations rather than make them more complex. If the learning curve is excessively steep, it will probably take more time, money, and effort in the long run.
Having access to top-notch customer service is essential to your success with this software once you’ve decided which system to use. Having someone available to assist is crucial when you encounter problems, such as failing to locate your purchase transactions or your team being unable to set up stock notifications. If you don’t have easy access to customer support, your problems might not be fixed and cause a supply chain management delay. For this reason, confirm that your vendor will offer full support, including training, a warranty, and round-the-clock assistance.
Built to Expand
When choosing a system, keep in mind that you might not have an endless amount of money to devote to this software. While looking for a system, keep in mind that you should also opt for one that is future-proof and highly useful. Even if you might not have the money right for a lot of extra features, you still want something that you can improve as you implement sensible, sustainable growth. In the same way that you expect your business will grow, look for software that can accommodate your demands as they are today while also expanding and improving for future optimization.
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Let FTx Warehouse do the work for you!
The fact is that, unfortunately, a lot of business owners don’t think about investing in software solutions until they have to deal with things that are missing, destroyed, or damaged. Inventory management solutions are made to assist businesses of all sizes in automating their procedures and enhancing their overall operational effectiveness. Human errors are considerably decreased by automation, and in some cases, eliminated altogether. And this has far-reaching implications, including improved profit margins, higher customer retention, fewer stockouts, and so much more. An inventory management system is undoubtedly the best approach for you to save numerous hours, avoid unnecessary spending, and come up with even bigger goals.
Here at FTx POS, we want to provide you with the slew of benefits offered by FTx Warehouse, our warehouse inventory management tool that will help you fulfill all of your current needs, as well as make your future goals a reality. Let us help you experience the success you’ve been dreaming of with the help of our highly qualified team of experts. We are here for you every step of the way with our warehouse management solutions!