Using Online Inventory Management to Give Your SME a Competitive Edge

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As a small business competing in a large market, tracking inventory is the first step to grow into a successful company. Online inventory management for businesses of all sizes is becoming the new norm, with customer expectations of delivery times and stock availability becoming tougher for smaller businesses to meet. By updating to an online inventory management solution, it is easier for small businesses to access stock information, track products in real-time, lessen the amount of paperwork, and allows for better preparation for the future.

Transparent information access

The advantage large companies have over small businesses has always been their ability to access information and deliver stock faster. However, with developing technology and increasingly affordable online inventory management solutions, this advantage is now becoming available to small businesses.

The benefits of online inventory management include access to information at any time. Inventory tracking software offers details about every aspect of inventory management, including manufacturing information, purchasing history, stockholding data, and sales accounts. Because of this, businesses have clear insight into the weakest points of their operation and what needs to change in order to become more successful. This level of insight offers feedback on how much stock should be held, and when purchases need to be made, ensuring that over or understocking is not an issue. This allows for more security as demand fluctuates.

Real-time stock tracking

In the same way that online inventory management solutions offer a wider access to information, they also offer faster data updates. With real-time tracking, issues with manual counting such as time delays and human error are eliminated. Online inventory management solutions allow for live updates, meaning data is updated every time a product is sold or something is restocked. This allows for accurate information and reassurance for customers that products can be delivered without delay.

Taking advantage of this aspect of online inventory management means less effort and time is required to complete stocktakes, and also allows for product tracking throughout the manufacturing and selling process. Rather than relying on manual stocktakes that can only occur weekly or monthly, online inventory management systems that rely on barcodes or similar tracking software can keep data up to date with relatively little effort.

Lessen paperwork and take advantage of new solutions

Along with eliminating the need for manual stocktakes, online inventory management solutions reduce the amount of paperwork required. Tasks such as inventory records that were recorded by hand can now be done directly into the management system, saving time and resources, freeing up staff to focus on customer satisfaction and decreased delivery times.

Online inventory management systems also offer a variety of solutions to previously manual tasks. Customisation is a key theme in successful management systems, enabling your business to shape the tool to best suit your needs. Offering features such as integrated eCommerce platforms, inventory reports, forecast analysis, and automated shipping means management systems can use in-stock and sales data to offer valuable solutions with little to no extra effort.

Preparing for the future

It isn’t a surprise that cloud-based solutions are prevailing in commercial practices, and it is important to keep up with these changes as they shape the way business s conducted. These online inventory management systems are not only convenient, but also crucial for the integrity of your business. In any case of technology breakdown or malfunction, online data systems can be accessed through alternative devices. This backup of vital information is important regardless of business size and will be important in the long run as your company continues to grow.

The Internet of Things is a buzzword in the current commercial arena. This refers to the relatively new topic of electronic integration through the internet regarding all tasks relating to business. For small businesses, this means online inventory management, improved POS, accurate data, improved ordering and delivery practices, and futuristic enhancements such as the use of AI and robots. For small businesses, this may seem like a plan for the distant future, but it starts with the use of tools such as online inventory management systems, enabling the forward planning for the growth of your business.

It is important in this fast-paced economy to consider the tools used by others to maintain satisfied customers and keep up with demand. Adopting an online inventory management system is key to improving internal operations through more transparent and accurate access to information, real-time tracking of stock, decreased need for paperwork, an increase in online solutions available, and preparing for the future demands of the industry. By investing in online inventory management solutions now, your business will be better prepared for the future in the competitive market.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

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.

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