November 16, 2015      4 min read

Inventory management has a huge impact on the success of any retail business. Inefficiently controlled inventory is a root cause of escalating costs and dwindling profits, which is why retailers are increasingly turning to cloud-based inventory management software to meet their inventory management challenges.

While there will never be a silver bullet solution to all inventory challenges a retailer is likely to encounter, there are a number of smart and highly effective solutions on the market that no longer require a sizeable contribution of working capital to acquire.

Ditching the traditional approach to drive down overhead costs

Cloud inventory management software is revolutionizing the way businesses – big and small – control their inventory challenges. The overwhelming majority of businesses switching over to cloud-based inventory software solutions do so to drive down the high initial overhead costs more traditional systems demand.

Unleashed’s SaaS solution has been built to provide powerful integrated inventory management solutions for retailers looking to maximize efficiency and accuracy in the way they manage the flow of inventory through their business.

Full functionality – anywhere, anytime on any platform

This means that a retailer acquires the full functionality of a powerful inventory management system capable of integrating all the components of the supply chain into one fluid, real-time informed inventory tracking, tracing and accounting system (via Xero or QuickBooks).

When a retailer is able to track, trace and account for every item of inventory within its supply chain with pinpoint accuracy, from any mobile device connected to the internet, anywhere in the world, a new host of possibilities become available to them.

Sluggish inventory can be identified and liquidated, freeing up valuable storage space and much needed cash flow. Shortages of in-demand inventory can be highlighted and timely re-orders set and automated. This ensures that cash flow is directed to the inventory with the highest and fastest R.O.I. and customer targets can be met and expanded.

Precision leads to better performance – minimizing the risk of under and over stock

A retailer that does not have an accurate appreciation of its inventory levels puts itself at immediate risk of either overstock and under stock issues – or both. Having inventory over stocked or under stocked is very, very bad for business, and if left unchecked can lead to losses capable of bringing the business to a standstill.

Overstock occurs when a retailer is holding on to too much unusable and unneeded inventory. Apart from the storage and labor costs involved in keeping inventory on stock, overstock places inventory in a position where it is vulnerable to tampering, damage and theft – all of which cut into profitability. And worse – this ties up cash flow.

A retailer without access to sufficient cash flow to purchase needed stock and to capitalize on opportunities as they arise, puts itself at immediate risk of being unable to meet customer service targets. This results in lost sales and an overall depreciation of the company’s brand and reputation amongst its customer base.

On the other hand, when retailers over-estimate the amount of in-demand inventory they have on stock they are likely to under forecast and fail to purchase enough inventory to meet their customer service targets resulting in lost revenue through missed sales.

Seamless integration and information sharing

Accounting, forecasting, purchasing and sales are all integrated, leading to enhanced collaboration inter-departmentally. This makes reconciliations easier and reduces data entry. The broken telephone communication problem so many traditional inventory management based-businesses suffer from is rendered obsolete. In its place is the ability for the decision makers across all departments to experience communication driven by real-time data.

This leads to the situation where a retailer begins to maximize the efficiency and thereby the profitability of their business by increasing sales volume, while actually reducing inventory on hand to optimal levels.

Automation and safety

A final consideration, but no less important, is that cloud-based inventory management software solutions automatically update according to the latest products and technologies. This means that a retailer looking to scale up will be able to so without having to overhaul their inventory management system.

Cloud-based inventory management solutions make inventory control faster, safer and easier to manage. A major concern for on-site inventory systems is the potential for the loss of data through damage or theft of the office computers. When all data is stored remotely on the cloud, the risk of loss is removed. So, if theft occurs or a virus wipes out the hard drive, the business’s data will still be safe and accessible on any mobile device with an internet connection.

The Software-as-a-Service model offering cloud-based inventory management software solutions to retailers – online, offline, local and international – has effectively leveled the playing field. Now, the power of the most sophisticated and powerful inventory management software is within reach (literally) of every retail storeowner and manager at an affordable price.

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