Many business owners will agree that a careful eye on inventory is a make or break factor in running a successful stock-based business. Whether your business holds stock of goods, raw materials and finished goods, or a combination of both, inventory can be a key driver of cost as well as revenue. To put it simply, if you are in a stock-heavy industry (such as manufacturing, importing or retailing) the success of your business in the short and long term will depend at least in part on how well inventory is controlled. So, with this in mind, let’s look at the best way to take control of your stock with dedicated inventory management software.
What is inventory management software?
Inventory management is a process that ensures visibility of the purchase, processing and sale of the goods or products a business deals in. It does this by tracking physical events such as orders, sales and shipping, as well as capturing financial data such as the cost of goods sold.
Although using generic software for inventory is a significant improvement over using a pen and paper system or even a complicated system of Excel spreadsheets, this cannot provide the same degree of visibility, oversight and data control as a dedicated inventory management software solution. In addition to being more robust than a manual inventory management system, dedicated software will automate and speed up inventory tasks such as creating invoices and raising purchase orders.
Moreover, best of breed inventory management products are available in the cloud, making your inventory data and intelligence easily accessible across all of the business’ sites and indeed from anywhere with an Internet connection.
What are the key benefits of investing in improved inventory management software?
As mentioned earlier, inventory management software takes care of the manual tasks that you and your staff should not need to do. That said increased employee efficiency is not the only reward your business will enjoy by switching from those old Excel workbooks to dedicated software. Your team will also gain inventory visibility; you’ll always know where your stock is and how much of it you have at any given location.
This stock visibility matters – both in terms of preventing lost sales as well as keeping production on track. On the sales side, the stock visibility that a best of breed inventory management system provides means that you’ll never incorrectly tell a customer that the product they want is out of stock.
And when it comes to manufacturing, inventory management has a role to play in ensuring the factory does not run out of the raw materials it needs to keep production going, avoiding costly delays and dissatisfied customers. Moreover, because a cloud based system lets you easily keep an eye on stock levels in real-time you do not need to carry nearly as much safety stock, opening up the possibility of higher profitability by operating lean.
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.