Inventory is many businesses’ most valuable asset – both on the balance sheet and in terms of its central role in keeping the business ticking. Managing inventory well is a complex task, but it is also one that can help your business be more profitable and deliver more for your customers. Here are five signs that you might benefit from subscribing to a cloud-based inventory management platform.
You experience frequent stock outs
For many small businesses, running out of stock is a big no-no. You can’t sell something if you don’t have it and that means a loss of revenue and possible damaged brand reputation. This is a sure sign that your business could benefit from using online inventory management to automatically track inventory levels and place orders when they are falling dangerously low. This is also true if you have unnecessarily high levels of stock taking up space in your warehouse. Put simply, poor stock control is counter-productive to the operations and logistics of your business.
Managing customer orders is a drag
As we all know, once you have acquired a customer, it is just as vital to keeping them satisfied and shopping at your firm. As you scale your business, this can become more and more challenging. Online inventory management systems can assist in this by issuing automatic email updates to your customers. For example, a customer can be updated when their order has been processed, shipped, and arrived at their destination eliminating the need for time-consuming, manual updates.
There’s too much manual counting
Every now and again, manually counting can be a telling, albeit time-consuming process to record accurate levels of stock. However, one trap that is all too easy to fall into is undertaking a manual stock take too frequently. This process is often an inefficient use of time whilst also being vulnerable to human error.
An inventory management software can accurately track your inventory stock in real time, from the moment you place the order with your supplier to when it lands in the hands of the customer. This reduces the need to repeatedly check on your stock levels as you can be sure they will be accurate!
Clipboards and spreadsheets aren’t scalable
Often, newly developed businesses will find that a basic spreadsheet is sufficient for their requirements and do not see the benefits of investing in an online inventory management system. Whilst this might hold true in the early stages of a business, relying on spreadsheets is not a scalable and sustainable approach to business. Inventory management through manual means is feasible if the business is working with five products and a handful of local customers . But what happens when the business scales up to twenty-five products operating throughout New Zealand and Australia?
What has worked before will not always work in the future. As a small business owner, a key indicator of success is one’s ability to identify weaknesses in the logistics of your company and solve problems before they arise. When you begin to see signs of your business expanding, this in itself is a key sign that you should analyse the suitability of your current inventory management system and consider upgrading to a more comprehensive online inventory management software.
You need a dashboard
Many inventory management software programmes provide a fully personalised, visual dashboard. An effective dashboard can be a game-changer for your business providing you insights at a glance. As they automatically update, you can be sure you receive up to date information at all times.
In this increasingly complex world, how we track, store and manage our data is becoming increasingly important when managing a small business. By investing in suitable online inventory management software, you can ensure that the logistical side of your business is well placed for the future. If you notice any of these signs mentioned today in your own business, then it may be time to consider upgrading your inventory management software!
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.