For the modern distributers, managing inventory supply chains can be a task that fits anywhere between simple and reasonably predictable, to highly complex with massive fluctuations. Each supply chain tends to have its own challenges to overcome, along with a wide variety of potential problems caused by any number of variables.
While there is a perpetually growing understanding among all industries of what techniques and tools are required to get the most out of any given inventory, the most successful distributers are utilizing cutting-edge inventory management software solutions to facilitate better control, greater efficiency and higher visibility.
The best software solutions available offer a range of modules and tools to help distributing businesses meet their goals and streamline their operations. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at why inventory management software is a must have for distributers.
Superior inventory tracking and high visibility
At the heart of any distributing business, is inventory. Parts, products and raw materials are ordered, made, sold and shipped to all parts of the world and to all manner of customer. One of the most essential tools for any distributer is accurate inventory tracking.
Even the most basic of inventory management has this task at its core, as how well this is done can have a huge impact on how well the business does overall. Imagine running a business without inventory tracking? You wouldn’t know what you had on hand, what you needed to order or how much stock has been lost to obsolescence or damage.
One of the things that good inventory management software does is provide high inventory visibility and real-time, accurate stock tracking. While the benefits of this are particularly noticeable among large distribution companies, even small businesses can greatly improve their operations with quality software solutions.
Maximizing ‘push’ and ‘pull’ production
For distributers using some variation, or combination, of a ‘push’ or ‘pull’ production plan, inventory management software helps provide both automation and accurate data. This is a crucial step towards developing customized plans and push/pull hybrids.
Real-time access to data
So many parts of a modern business are directly made better or worse by the quality, accuracy and immediacy of meaningful data. Having the right information at your fingertips, as well as a framework to render data meaningful, is one of the benefits of good inventory management software.
Mobile and barcode technologies
Offering some great solutions for distributing businesses are the many advancements made in mobile and barcode technologies. Barcoding alone has had a huge effect on inventory and warehouse management, facilitating the increase of stock accuracy and a decrease in human error and incorrect order processing. While blanket automation is only as good as its users, barcoding has helped to revolutionize the way stock is handled, stored and accounted for.
Across all industries, mobile technology (often in partnership with cloud computing) is now adding new and exciting scope to a variety of inventory management tasks. Now managers and owners can access their inventory management systems anywhere that has Internet, often with nothing more than a tablet or laptop. Warehouse managers can access a real-time read of inventory transactions and levels while on the go and salespeople can check stock levels while offsite before selling to a client.
Maximizing business opportunities for distributers
Putting all of these factors together, inventory management software is providing a range of exciting and innovative solutions to distributing businesses, granting better control and maximizing operations and opportunities for businesses across the board.
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.