In this digital age, a great deal of local business owner especially in the retail industry are currently addressed with the thought of buying digital solutions to handle supplies not simply to obtain competitive advantage but also to offer a much better quality of service to consumers.
As the marketplace today supplies a huge selection of options of products or services, if the selecting procedure seems to be made complex, looking into business’s requirements and also treating them as one of the most vital factor to consider is usually the key. This also applies in finding the right inventory management software for your business.
The History of Inventory Management Software
Back in the days, businesses had no other choice but to do everything manually and it is no secret that the manual recording of transactions and product inflows and out flows has been found out to be time inefficient as well as more susceptible to error. The failure to do the necessary updating in a timely manner had also majorly contributed to the misleading analysis of inaccurate and unreliable data. As a result, inventory mismanagement became frequent and the rampant product overstocking or understocking, and stock wastage clearly hindered the normal flow of the business capital. Because of this, the industrial revolution saw the need to transform production processes with the help of machines and modern tools.
In 1880s, readable punch cards to record data were introduced. In 1940s, the barcoding system was created. However, at that time, it did not prosper as its hardware requirements were too expensive. In 1980s, inventory management software began to join the scene with a goal to improve inventory tracking. It covered the whole business cycle from purchasing to monitoring of inventories, and vice versa. Nowadays where support for technological innovation has been over pouring, inventory management systems are already dominating in the business industry. Companies, retail stores, and businesses of different types can be seen using them because of their undeniable perks.
Selecting an Inventory Management Software
You can request for suggestions from fellow entrepreneurs or know your options on Google which will certainly present to you a great deal of appealing options. However, do keep in mind that although a lot of inventory management software may be marketed the same, they still differ in terms of cost and attributes. Those with more promising functions are usually priced greater and a number of their features are not present in the standard package but that does not necessarily suggest that they are better investments. If all you are after of is a streamlined inventory management process that does not require you to spend excessively, you can stick to standard packages which can deliver the job just the same. As long as they have the following features, then you are good to go:
BASIC INVENTORY MANAGEMENT. There actually are many detailed, crucial works under the hood when it comes to managing inventories and this is precisely why you should automate the processes under the entire inventory cycle using this feature. With this’s help, all of the tedious and unreliable paperwork and spreadsheet recordings that can be easily lost, deleted, or infected with viruses will be eradicated and replaced with dedicated, regularly backed-up database that stores and keeps the integrity of all transaction-related data. If you are using web-based inventory management software, access to these data will be available anytime and anywhere as long as the authorized user is connected to the internet. Because the database is stored in cloud, viewing the inventory data even if you are out of town is always possible.
BARCODING AND SCANNING. One of the struggles businessmen would face back in the old days was keeping up with the increasing number of daily orders and making sure everything was put on record. Fulfillment of orders then was extremely challenging – one of the problems this feature intends to address. The barcoding and scanning technology now aids in the retrieving, packing, and shipping stages, streamlining the counting of inventories with accuracy.
DEMAND FORECASTING. This feature presents a forecast of product demands according to their historical movements to help you determine which stocks need restocking and which do not, thereby enabling you to invest appropriately and wisely. Some inventory management software provide a more spoon-fed information, i.e. end users will just have to generate reports that show which items need to be bought first to utilize the space of the warehouse at an optimum.
OTHER IMPORTANT FEATURES
LOT MONITORING. This feature helps manage products that may potentially be included in a recall for some reason. Usually, these include food and other items regulated by FDA or the food and drug administration. This feature aids in spotting items that need to be pulled out sooner from the current inventory and allows users to identify easily which clients were able to get the recalled items from the lot. It is also pro-customer in a way that it collects relevant data from the customer like their name, address, and contact number and notifies them through if they happened to buy recalled items.
ACCOUNTING INTEGRATION. Since all these in and out inventory transactions are also forwarded to the finance section for documentation and accounting purposes, it would save a lot of time and secure the integrity and accuracy of data if the inventory management software you are using already comes with an accounting system. With the help of this feature, business owners will be able to easily monitor inventory and overhead expenses.
BUNDLED PRODUCTS OR KITS SUPPORT. Gimmicks and other promotional strategies have been commonly used in retail businesses to dispose items that are not salable. An example of this is those bundles or kits that you can find in the malls which are often marketed as “gift ideas”. To ensure that your inventory management does not get hampered, having an inventory management software that can readily cater to these bundling practice is vital. This feature can even identify and suggest which items are better bundled after taking the historical sales data into consideration.
Since nowadays, almost everyone is using their smartphones to connect to the internet world, you might also want to ensure that your inventory management software is mobile-ready and friendly.