Inventory management in a business setting is one of the significant things you cannot do without. But then, it doesn’t come easily. There are lots of ideas and procedures you need to vehemently consider and put in place before it finally becomes a success. So it has grown considered one of the few things you should consider a good challenge for building your business.
Be that as it may, if you happen to have issues with managing your inventory, or you have run out of stock situation than you expected conversely, maybe you have lots of excess inventory on-hand that might or already is affecting your profit margins, then there’s no better time than now to start looking more in-depth for an inventory management system to help with your order and out your inventory processes under correct check and proper control.
But, it doesn’t just happen quickly. With the varieties of options readily accessible and available today, how do you come about the best solutions for you and your business as well? In summary, what are the features you should look out for?
Well, this article explicitly takes care of those features by going into concrete details. There is still one important factor you need to know before considering the soon to be highlighted features.
The fact remains that all businesses are structure cannot be the same. The same applies to their inventory processes. Therefore, there are quite a lot of features of inventory management systems you can make use of to be more efficient. In the same vein, we have highlighted about six general inventory management features you should take note of, they include:
Primarily, the primary focus of this system is its ability to track and monitor the levels of your inventory. This way, you are not oblivious of how your organization is being run. You get to visibly see what you’re receiving, your filling orders, and when you need more of those orders. Most importantly, you need to be as retained that your system can track your inventory the way you want without flinching excuses. Also, you don’t have to get to go this alone; there are loads of help materials software and hardware features that can help you get the job done. Some of them include; RFID tags, kitting, lot or batch control, bar-codes, serialization, and more but to mention a few. Every one of these inventory features will enable you to stay on course. Again, you need to know that every one of these systems has different tracking capabilities, and their functions differ. Hence, you need to critically apply caution when ensuring that you choose or practically go for only what you need.
2.Security and Backups
Second, on our list is Security and Backups. Practically, it is not a good idea if you jump on an inventory management system (IMS) without knowing if it is easily vulnerable or not. Without mincing words, you need to be double sure that your inventory management is as secure as it can be. Not minding the installation type; either locally or by cloud, you need to be certain that there are adequate security measures put in place in your IMS. Except if you don’t care about your data or possibly not mind if it is connected to a third-party hack, would you not mind of its protection. In case you don’t know, losing your data can tender your workflow vulnerable to harm and in that same vein, cost your business a lot that you might not be able to handle. For you to protect your data and keep it private, your IMS needs to be properly protected with maximum security. Additionally, your stay should be able to provide you with daily backups in case of an unforeseen or more advanced threat. So even at any point, you experience data loss; you definitely will be able to get back on track without any hassles.
Why did you go into business at first? It was for profit and scalable growth for your brand, isn’t it? So regardless of the size of your business, whether large or small, you should have an inventory management system that allows room or better still adjustable to any extent of growth. In simpler terms, your choice of system should be scalable. You need to be sure that your system can handle a large capacity of features; inventory, more upgrades, more users, and many of such vices. Presently, you might not know the benefits of it, or maybe you see it as a waste of space, but then, in the long run, you will be very appreciative of it as you would reek on with the immense benefits. In the case that you want or intend changing your inventory system, you will have to retrain your staffs as well as rework your present workflow; and this as it is, will throw off your operations off balance, which you may not be able to regain before your competitors catch up with, overtake or even outrun you by far. Each time you switch systems, your company expenses and possible loss is more likely to be much. So, if you want to avoid that, you need to do adequate planning for the future that will make managing your inventory a lot easier and smoother without issues as you proceed. The fact that it isn’t a problem now doesn’t mean it won’t be in the nearest future.
You might not be overly ready to integrate your management system with any other external software. But then, you might not be able too to hold on for too long. As time progresses, you’d discover the critically that comes with integration. At some point, you may even need to integrate your business with more than one or two systems to effectively manage your operations. This way, your system wouldn’t have to depend on a single or dual source for necessary information. With the integration, you have the key that can he flow of awesome information seamlessly. What you have to do to ensure that is by ensuring the share of your specific data across the variety of systems available. You have to be certain of this as it would ensure that the data coming into your database isn’t foreign to what exactly you want. Some notable examples for making sure of this is between the inventory management, ERP, CRM, e-commerce, as well as a good, statistical oriented accounting software. With the integration, you are open to lots of benefits to ensuring that your database is void of foreign materials and also eliminating the entry of data manually and also for real-time updates. Then again, there is more likelihood of promoting visibility and also increasing the overall satisfaction of customer always.
You are in business to make profits from your products and services. So, when these products (better we refer to them as stock) begins to get low from sales, you need to compliment them by getting more. The process of automatically getting your system to create purchase orders based on your reorder points is referred to as Automatic Replenishment.
This is how it functions;
The moment your stock begins to decline to its minimal level, the software auto-generate orders in their right proportion and quantities. Once the rules are created entirely, they get approved by the necessary company board and the items the shipped gets shipped down to the base. With this top rated feature, you can be sure of staying on top of your inventory system game. With this feature, you can be assured of doing away with overstocks as well as stock-outs.
Now we have intensively discussed five viable features you should consider when choosing an inventory management system for your business. Every one of the points mentioned here is as critical as they can be and should be looked into very well and utilized mainly after scrutinizing the business model you intend using it for. Only when you have critically structured the points mentioned above can you conclude which of the features you should primarily consider. Nevertheless, this isn’t to say there’s a significant preference of one over another. Instead, it is a matter of prioritizing which feature should come first. If your capabilities are good enough, you can go ahead to implement every one of the elements without hesitation.
But it doesn’t end there. There’s one other important you really should consider looking at; Reporting. Reporting as it is is an important feature you really should not do without in inventory management. Reports are responsible for helping you augment your efficacy and also to make a seamless workflow. They present you a visible showcase of information covering product supply and demand. This way, you can see as much inventory you really would be needed as well as when and where you need them. With it, you’d be able to see which products or services are more profitable and monitor their progress in the sale trend. Other standard reports usually include; order history, transaction reports, and inventory totals. There are more reports available than the ones mentioned here. But then, you need to identify from the list of options available the needs of your company to increase your inventory processes proficiency. However, not minding the kind of it is you settle for, you need to make sure to have a system that matches the necessities of what your company to remain tops in the competitive market.
So there you have it; the top six features you should look out for when choosing an Inventory management system. It is challenging. It is even more challenging when the business owner has more than one business. On the off chance that you have quite a lot of business locations or maybe you’re planning to open more branches, then you know you will be settling for a centralized tool that will help you in managing your business’s inventory. You need to make sure that the system you’re investing in support the potential of scalability; business growth and expansion.
One major mistake some business owners make is overlooking the importance of accessing viable and quality customer support. You wouldn’t love the idea of employing an inventory system and be lost on how to make use of it. Except you’re very sure that you can handle the inventory management system, you need to make sure that the specialist that offers the system train you on how to use it. Even more, the specialist should have a medium for communicating with you about the “How-to” of the system every second of the day.
On a final note, it is essential that you know that finding the best inventory system for your business was going to be an easy task. But now that you have understood fully well the necessary features you should check out for; you’re better prepared than when you were ignorant of this information. What you need now, more than ever before, is to take your time and be very strategic when choosing your pick. A single, unwise, little uncalculated decision might cost you more damage than you ever envisaged.
Brian Obinna Obodeze is a content developer and co-manager at W45 Inc, with over six years of experience and a founding member of W45. He is also a trained technical writer and researcher well versed in developing and producing content along with editing, proofreading , layouts and formatting for publishing. He is currently writing for Lincoln Distribution and helping them in content collaboration as well.
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