How to Choose the Right Inventory System for Your Business
Whether you run a small physical store with less than 20 customers a day or a large online store serving thousands of customers every day, one thing that will always remain constant is the fact that you need to know your inventory. You should always be aware of how much stock you have at any given time.
Traditionally most businesses have relied on spreadsheets to do the job but while this solution might be effective enough for a small business, it becomes near obsolete when you have a large business with thousands of items in your inventory. Not only because of the fact that collecting and feeding that information into a spreadsheet is time consuming and labor intensive but also because of the possibility of human errors that are likely to be made when typing data into the spreadsheets. The only way out of this problem is automation. An automated inventory system will, effectively, take the guesswork out of inventory management and allow you to know exactly how much stock you have at any given time.
With tons of inventory management systems on the market and all claiming to be able to get the job done, it can be quite difficult to choose the right one. Fortunately, you do not necessarily have to try out each and every one of them in order to find the right one if you know exactly what you need and you understand what you need to be looking for. Some of the most important factors to consider when searching for an inventory system include the following;
- Inventory tracking- this is probably the most important feature of any inventory management system and one that you must absolutely make sure is available before you even think about buying the software. Inventory tracking helps you to maintain real-time information about all the stock in your inventory and allows you to keep track of inbound and outbound stock at all times. This is important because it will help you to avoid understocking or overstocking both of which are dangerous for your business.
- Warehouse management- if you have more than a single warehouse and the warehouses are located in different places then it can be quite difficult to manage all of the manually. However, a good inventory management system will usually come with a warehouse management feature that you can use to track inter-warehouse transfers and maintain more accurate records of your inventory positions across all the warehouses.
- Analytics and reporting- reporting and analytics are important because they do not just tell you about your inventory positions but provide you with useful insight into the performance of the inventory. Through these features, you will be able to know which stocks are not performing and need to be reduced as well as the ones that are performing well and need to be increased.
- Pricing- when it comes to pricing of the software, do not just look at the total amount of money that you will be expected to pay but also look at the payment schedule as well.