The biggest challenge of inventory control is to have the right product in the right place, at the right time. However, getting this balance precise is a struggle for many businesses and the investment in inventory management software provides an attractive solution.
Online inventory management software is undeniably, a valuable tool for inventory control. However, it does not remove the need for good inventory management processes in place. Before you invest in inventory software technology you must first understand your inventory needs, determine your inventory goals and evaluate the efficiency of your current systems.
Individual business will each have a unique set of inventory management needs. For retailers, stock-outs can result in lost sales, while overstocking can leave you with surplus, outdated or obsolete stock. So if you find yourself at either extremes, you may need an inventory control system that provides better management of stock levels.
It is practically impossible to deliver consistently great customer service when you don’t have sufficient quantities of the right inventory stock on hand. Software systems can be programmed to send an alert when specific items drop below a certain quantity or can even automatically reorder when items hit pre-determined minimum levels.
Seeking to improve the visibility of merchandise movements or the ability to track orders? Then implementing barcodes and scanners into your operations will make it easier to trace the flow of goods into and out of your business. Barcode technology enables you to track sales as the occur, provides timely identification of restocking needs and early detection of any discrepancies in your inventory stock.
Perhaps you find that your existing system requires a lot of manual work, double handling or you have difficulty accessing high-turnover items. This means you should look for solutions to help automate your processes and improve picking, packing and shipping activities.
Inventory technology enables your business to undertake these tasks more efficiently and investment in the right system will streamline your inventory control.
What are your inventory goals? Do you have clear objectives detailing the areas of inventory control you want to improve with online inventory management software?
Establishing clear goals will improve the overall success of online inventory management implementation. Having specific goals and structured procedures in place will clearly identify if the cost of the implementation adds value, reduces operating costs or can be offset by the extra profit it will raise.
Online inventory management can provide a complete picture of your inventory health to support strategic direction and inventory planning accuracy. It will improve forecast management, will significantly reduce mistakes and help to strengthen customer service and retention.
Evaluating the performance of your inventory stock, enables you to identify those areas of your business that are operating to full capacity and the areas where improvements need to be made.
Inventory turnover ratios assist in determining the number of times your business sells and replaces inventory within a specified period, helping you to access how well the business is performing. Applying inventory ratios to understand inventory performance, is however, only part of the performance puzzle.
To achieve a reliable evaluation, it is also important to assess your current inventory processes and habits. Determine what and how activities are currently being performed. Are they being done in a certain way and if so, is there is a better more efficient way to undertake these tasks?
When deciding to implement an online inventory management system you can maximise your results by effectively reviewing and evaluating current inventory practices.
Inventory management software can be applied to an array of business models, providing numerous features and benefits. A credible software provider will take the time getting to know your business and inventory processes so they can proficiently identify problem areas and customise the right solution for your business needs.
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.