Like any business tool, inventory management systems get better every year – meaning that older solutions eventually become obsolete. Deciding to upgrade your inventory management system can save your business money and help you deliver a better service to customers. Waiting until you cannot function anymore with your software will cost you money and sometimes even customers. Perhaps your legacy inventory software doesn’t play nice with your new IT systems, or perhaps those spreadsheets have been causing frequent data errors. But how do you know when to upgrade? Here are some ways to tell that it might be time.
Productivity is Low, and Morale is Lower
Many of the common inventory management tools in use today were designed over two decades ago – and that’s not counting spreadsheets, which are much more common in the inventory space than they should be. Having to use tools that aren’t fit for purpose is a sure-fire way to reduce staff enthusiasm and drive. In contrast, shifting to a best-in-class online inventory management platform will give your team the tools they need to confidently make informed decisions and to meet customers’ needs.
Errors are Getting in the Way of Business
Even with quality software, some degree of human error is unavoidable. That said, having the right inventory management platform in place is key to preventing the most avoidable data entry mistakes. Having to regularly correct data errors ties up staff time, preventing your team from doing genuinely productive work. Preventing errors does not just increase productivity, it also improves the customer experience. If a new online inventory management system can prevent many mistaken orders from being dispatched, your newfound customer satisfaction is likely to justify the upgrade expense.
You’re Getting Feature Envy
If your competitors, suppliers and partners are all using the latest and greatest inventory management tools, it’s natural that you and your staff might experience some feature envy. Perhaps you’ve wanted to introduce tools like barcoding, batch number tracking or mobile sales for some time, but have been told that these new tools aren’t supported by your existing software.
Upgrading your inventory just to access some new features might not always make sense. But it’s worth doing the maths – if features like barcoding or batch number tracking have the potential to improve your business’ profitability, it might make sense to invest in an online inventory management system.
You Don’t Want to Upgrade Your Legacy Software Again
If you’ve shelled out for an expensive piece of legacy software, do you hold on years after the cost has been fully depreciated? Do you upgrade as soon as the next best solution becomes available, or do you wait until your business is struggling to function? Perhaps you have to wait until there’s some spare space in the annual capital budget. However, your business makes the decision, the upgrade process is almost always costly and disruptive.
If you’d rather not go through another upgrade in five or ten years’ time, consider whether a cloud-based online inventory management system might be the right option for your business. Many online inventory management tools are constantly being improved – new features are released to the customer as they’re developed, rather than bundling them into one release. This means that your inventory management platform will be as cutting edge in five years as it is today.