Just like online accounting platforms, CRM systems and more, the benefits that inventory software can bring to a business are wide-reaching and varied.
For some of your clients, it will solve a specific problem, such as overstocking or lost goods. For others, it provides the key to unlocking business potential: growing sales, increasing productivity and enabling them to scale.
Here’s a guide to the benefits your clients could see when you introduce them to Unleashed.
Which businesses will benefit from cloud inventory management most?
Any product business will find that upgrading to cloud inventory software is a revolutionary moment.
But ‘product business’ is a broad term. They vary hugely in terms of size, what they sell, the customers they sell to and more.
“We’ve worked with the Unleashed team for a number of years now. Their patience with, and support of, Beever and Struthers and our clients is second to none. We really value our relationship with Unleashed — especially our cloud team”
John Toon – Beever and Struthers
An artisan bread maker and a lighting parts wholesaler, for example, have little in common — except that both are passionate about the products they sell. And while both will benefit from taking their stock management online, they may do so in different ways.
However, we can break down the reasons why medium enterprises upgrade their system into two broad categories: problems we solve, and headline benefits.
Problems cloud inventory management can solve
As companies grow, their inventory requirements evolve. A system that works for a small business will start to cause issues as they deal in complex orders, add new SKUs and increase headcount. At some point, your client will need a system that supports their growth: and cloud inventory does just that.
There are lots of issues that might make your client realise that their current system is no longer sufficient. At Unleashed, though, we see the same problems time and time again.
Here’s an outline of a few common issues that a move to Unleashed will solve.
New SKUs, sales channels, warehouses, suppliers and staff add complexity to a business. As a business gets more complicated, relying on stocktakes for an accurate idea of what’s on hand — and where it is — becomes increasingly problematic.
If your client is sick of having to physically check the warehouse to find out what’s in stock, or if you’re having to correct numerous stock discrepancies in their reports, then they probably need a better inventory system.
So many product businesses live in fear of the dreaded recall. While Unleashed won’t make recalls a thing of the past, it will enable your clients to make them much less costly and disruptive.
Tools including serial and batch tracking help ensure that the location of every product sold is known. No more manually having to sort through sheets to work out who needs contacting, or recalling stock that doesn’t need it.
Unleashed has been a part of our app stack for a number of years. They have provided us with training materials and helpful guides to aid our understanding and knowledge of the platform. This helps us when scoping with clients to make the correct assessment and recommendation.
The team have been supportive when discussing specific client requirements, collaborating on demonstrations and with on boarding.”
Katherine O’Carroll – BDO
Stressed out salespeople
Rapid sales growth should be the target for 99% of businesses. But it will quickly lay any issues in sales processes bare.
Unleashed comes with a Sales App to help consultants close on the road, a B2B eCommerce Store to automated wholesale order and a host of other features to help salespeople focus on what they do best: selling.
Permissions can be tricky with spreadsheets or an ERP. You want to keep complex data sets clean, and avoid distracting staff with access that they don’t need. With Unleashed and Xero together, you have a separate system — with separate users — for inventory and accounting. And because they’re fully integrated, there’s no need for double data entry.
Honey, I shrunk the margins
Accurate margin data can be the difference between a successful business and a failing one. Unleashed comes with accurate landed cost tracking, to see the margin on every single sale. Plus, you’ll be able to see margins at a product, sales channel, region or customer level — so you can advise your client on where to focus first.
Some of these problems are easy to spot, some are a bit harder. If you’d like help identifying which clients need inventory management, book a chat with me and I’d be happy to help out.
Unleashed’s key benefits
But inventory software doesn’t just enable businesses to solve their stock issues — it also brings significant improvements to their bottom line. These improvements are numerous, and like the issues we solve, they vary from business to business. But they can be split into three broad areas: growing sales revenue, improving efficiency and scaling.
Sales are the backbone of any business. An effective inventory system is often the key to maximising sales; making sure that salespeople and channels are performing to their maximum potential and customers want to come back for more.
Syncing sales channels
Unleashed comes with managed two-way integrations with leading sales channels including Shopify, Amazon and Vend — plus its very own B2B eCommerce Store. Your clients will be able to scale their sales operations, without adding new staff or neglecting other value-adding tasks.
“We have a great relationship with Unleashed who are always on hand to offer us as much support as they can, to in turn support our clients.
They’ve helped upskill us to ask the right types of questions when dealing with clients, and understand how Unleashed can help support our clients to grow.
They have a great help centre full of useful guides and videos. Steve has produced custom-made how-to videos for us in response to our queries before, and John has provided us with links to Unleashed info on specific industries, which helps assure our clients that Unleashed is a product which fits with their industry.
Alana Hamson – PKF Francis Clark
Keeping customers happy
Dedicated inventory management doesn’t just help in bringing new customers on board. By facilitating fast order fulfilment — and giving customers all the information they need to make a purchase — it’ll help your clients improve customer satisfaction as well.
Learning from past mistakes and successes is pivotal to ensuring sales growth. Cloud inventory management systems come with comprehensive reporting tools to analyse which products, channels, salespeople and regions are delivering ROI.
Inefficient inventory management holds businesses back. Growing a company is difficult when stock is going missing, levels are off and suppliers aren’t performing properly.
Seeing where stock is
Upgrading from a periodic system to perpetual inventory management enables businesses to know exactly where goods are without relying on stocktakes. With Unleashed, your clients are able to see what’s in each warehouse from any location — and track all materials and goods across the production process.
Matching levels to demand
The balance between risking stockouts and overstocking is hard to achieve. But by looking into past sales data to forecast demand — and using extra features such as low-stock alerts and fast reorders — stockouts can be avoided without wasting money on excess safety stock.
Supplier relationships are crucial to any product-based business. With cloud inventory management, your clients will be able to see who’s delivering on time, and who’s got the most competitive prices — it’s indispensable when negotiating on future contracts.
Your clients look to you for advice on how they can grow their operations without increasing costs and wasting time. Introduce them to cloud inventory management to help them add new locations and SKUs, save time and keep their staff costs in check.
Adding warehouses and SKUs
Adding a new stock location is a key milestone for a product business — but the extra complexity it brings can stretch their system to breaking point. With Unleashed, adding a new stock location, SKU or sales channel takes minutes, not days.
By automating the tasks that eat into their day-to-day as their company grows, SME owners can spend their time growing their business and talking to their customers. It’s a great way of delivering sustainable growth that doesn’t burn out employees and owners alike.
Improving efficiency means doing more with the resources you have. Unleashed customers have used cloud inventory management to scale their operations without employing a supply chain expert, or eating into their margins with an increased wage bill.
John Horton is the EMEA partner lead for Unleashed Software where he focuses on helping advisors support their manufacturing and wholesale clients move to the cloud. With over 15 years experience in cloud technology with big names like Intuit, Microsoft and Sage he’s no stranger to accounting and supporting businesses build efficient scalable systems.