10 Obvious Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Inventory System

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How effective is your inventory system? If you’re trying to optimise your operational processes, save time, or boost stock accuracy then a switch to a more reliable solution may be exactly what your company needs.

We asked each of our customers the same question: What led you to upgrade your inventory management system?

To determine the top 10 reasons growing firms upgrade their inventory systems, we’ve analysed 1287 responses across multiple industries and business sizes – this article breaks down our findings.

1. You’re spending too much time on manual inventory processes

The number one reason most businesses move to a new inventory system is to save time.

Inventory management can be a slow process – especially when you’re relying on a manual system. Complex and time-consuming tasks such as taking stock, forecasting future demand, and managing suppliers can all be streamlined by switching to an automated inventory system.

Upgrading to perpetual inventory management software also gives you access to live inventory data, helping you to respond quickly to any important updates.

A new inventory system can enable you to:

  • Save time previously spent performing manual stock takes
  • Find your available inventory levels at a glance
  • Record, track, and analyse historical sales data
  • Identify trends and accurately forecast demand
  • Centralise key product and supplier information
  • Easily compare supplier pricing, performance, and other important vendor metrics

2. You lack sufficient inventory visibility and product traceability

supply chain management software

According to our data, a lack of inventory visibility and product traceability is a major reason companies decide to upgrade their inventory system.

If you aren’t certain how much of a stocked item is currently available in your warehouse, your business is at risk of understocking or over-purchasing.

From a business perspective, this means less efficiency, higher costs, and unnecessary waste.

Cloud-based inventory systems allow you to continuously track stock as it moves in and out of your warehouse. Software features such as live stock control, batch tracking, and serial number tracking boost inventory accuracy and traceability while helping you maintain optimal stock levels for every item.

3. You’re still using outdated spreadsheets that don’t support growth

It’s commonplace for new businesses to implement a spreadsheet-based system for tracking inventory. But as your order volume and product portfolio grow, maintaining these spreadsheets can become an onerous task.

Spreadsheets are also prone to errors and limited in their ability to perform complex tasks. They aren’t designed for tracking purchases, managing stock across multiple warehouses, or assembling manufacturing components.

Upgrading to an automated system will make it easier to scale your inventory management as your business grows in size and complexity – giving you the freedom to focus on your most important tasks without stressing about stock discrepancies.

4. Reporting is a nightmare because your business data isn’t centralised

Another main reason businesses choose to upgrade inventory systems is to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.

Manually duplicating and transferring data isn’t just a time-consuming process; it also puts you at greater risk of producing errors. When inventory and sales data are stored on the cloud, they can be easily integrated with your other systems – such as your accounting software or CRM tool.

Cloud-based inventory systems solve this challenge by synchronising sales and inventory across the business. All your stock movements, inventory purchases, and sales are relayed in real time – unlocking greater accuracy when it comes to reporting on the health of your business.

5. Your current inventory system lacks key features or scalability

With over 1200 inventory management software products listed on Capterra, it’s clear there are plenty of options to choose from. While each product comes with its own benefits and limitations, few (if any) offer all the features every business needs.

Many companies switch to a new system when their inventory needs outgrow the capabilities of their old system – whether that’s a series of spreadsheets, a pen-and-paper system, or just a different software platform.

We often see businesses making the switch to Unleashed, for example, because they needed a tool that offers manufacturing and eCommerce features not available in their old system.

6. Your current inventory system is too expensive or has been discontinued

Price is a factor in nearly all purchasing decisions, and inventory management systems are no exception.

If the monthly subscription costs of your current software exceed your budget, you may have no choice but to seek a more affordable option.

The good news is that there are inventory solutions for every size of budget.

The bad news is that you’ll need to do some research to find the one that’s right for you.

Another issue many businesses encounter is their current software provider pulling the plug on their offering.

There are many reasons why a company may choose to discontinue a certain product. In the infamous case of QuickBooks Commerce (formerly TradeGecko), the same inventory software product was discontinued multiple times – much to the chagrin of their customers.

When this happens, businesses have no choice but to find a new provider and migrate their data.

7. You’re struggling to build an accurate picture of your costs and margins

Unleashed software dashboard

Understanding your true costs of selling goods is essential to strategic business growth.

If you aren’t sure how much a product is costing you to sell, you can’t be sure of your profit margins. Without this data, it can be difficult to make key decisions about which products you sell, how you market them, and where to invest your budget.

Modern inventory management systems keep track of all the costs that go into producing, storing, and selling goods. Upgrading to a software solution that tracks these metrics is also essential for accurate business reporting.

8. Your business is migrating to a cloud environment

Once a company decides to switch to cloud software, the benefits compound as you integrate additional systems. This is why, when shopping for inventory software, integration with your existing cloud systems ought to be a key consideration.

In a fully integrated cloud environment, business data is shared between each platform.

For example, when a customer places an order in your online store, that order information can be transmitted from your eCommerce platform to your inventory management system and CRM platform, and then on to your accounting software.

In this way, cloud-based inventory management reduces the need for manual input and data duplication, saving you time and minimising the risk of human errors.

9. You lack high-quality integrations for your eCommerce solutions

If you’re selling products online – or planning to – then it’s likely your business will benefit from integrating your online sales platform with your inventory management system.

This can be especially helpful for managing sales across multiple channels.

While some modern inventory management solutions provide integrations for eCommerce channels, these aren’t always seamless connections. Depending on your requirements, some tools can be more trouble than they’re worth.

Upgrading to a system with reliable eCommerce integrations will make life easier for everyone involved in your inventory management and fulfilment processes.

10. Your current software provider’s customer service is unsatisfactory

The final reason companies switch to a new inventory system comes down to the level of support and satisfaction they get working with a specific provider.

In some cases, a customer-friendly company may be acquired by a more profit-focused organisation, resulting in a tangible dip in the level of support existing customers receive.

We’ve heard plenty of horror stories from businesses that have switched from one of our competitors’ products to Unleashed. We won’t name and shame those providers here (to do so would be a Cin), but we encourage you to conduct your own unbiased research.

Unleashed currently holds the record for the best customer service in the industry, backed up by over 500 five-star Trustpilot reviews. We understand that efficient inventory management isn’t just about the software you’re using; it’s also about how easy it is to install, use, and troubleshoot that software – all of which comes down to having access to reliable support when you need it.

Is it time to upgrade your inventory management system?

Let’s recap the signs it might be time to upgrade to a new inventory management system.

If you’re on the fence, this checklist sums it up nicely:

10 signs it's time to upgrade inventory systems

Ready to make the switch to a robust and reliable inventory management system?

Speak to one of our software experts or start your free 14-day trial of Unleashed today.

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Oliver Munro - Unleashed Software
Oliver Munro

Article by Oliver Munro in collaboration with our team of specialists. Oliver's background is in inventory management and content marketing. He's visited over 50 countries, lived aboard a circus ship, and once completed a Sudoku in under 3 minutes (allegedly).

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