The era of paper-based inventory management, spreadsheets, and logbooks is long gone. They leave room for errors and costly mistakes that could hinder your company’s growth and profitability. To streamline your business processes, it is essential you consider an inventory management system.
Managing inventory demands a high level of accuracy and foresight. Any error in inventory tracking, forecasts, or data entry can result in severe issues like shipping delays, inadequate stocks, and eventually, customer dissatisfaction.
While any inventory management software can help your company improve efficiency, making sure you are choosing the right fit for your company will help you save time and money. Here are five factors to consider when choosing an inventory management system for your business.
1. Type of Business
The first thing you should do before picking the ideal inventory management system is consider what your business looks like. Break down your business and analyze the requirements. This is a crucial step to finding the inventory system that will work the best for you in the short and long run.
A few questions you might want to ask yourself include—what is your business’ size? What industry do you operate in? etc.
You might not want to invest in an expensive inventory management system if you are just starting out. On the other hand, businesses can grow quickly, and a complex inventory will need a more expensive and thorough system.
2. Must-Have Features
While many inventory management systems are one-size-fits-all, some offer features that are specific to an industry. For example, some systems support functions like batch tracking, while others don’t.
So before getting into the inventory management system hunt, you should understand your requirements. Also, figure out the challenges your business faces in managing inventory and draw out a list of solutions you are looking for.
For instance, do you need the power to monitor shipment status? Or, would you prefer to keep track of inventory levels?
Explaining your requirements to the vendor will help you get a solid price fast. Remember that you may need to customize your inventory management system if you have complex specifications. Ask the vendor if the software can meet your specific needs and how long will the customization take.
Essentially, the price of the inventory management system will depend on your unique requirements. So, after figuring out the must-have features, you should decide on a budget and see if the price offered by the vendor is worth the offer or if it’s too expensive.
Make sure your business finances are stable enough for the move you are about to make. Also, check your budget and ask yourself if it is the right time to invest in technology.
Thanks to the numerous cloud-based software solutions in the market today, investing in and implementing an inventory management system is more affordable than ever. In fact, cloud-based inventory software is the ideal option for startups, SMEs, and businesses with low budgets.
4. Sales Channels
Your inventory management system isn’t the only tool your business will be using. You might already be leveraging several software and web platforms to run your business. So, it is essential that your inventory management system can be easily integrated with the tools you are already using.
A few things to consider are possible integrations with your accounting software, third-party sellers, or eCommerce platforms. If you sell across more than a single channel, you will need an inventory management system that can handle multiple sales channels. Most inventory management systems can be integrated directly with big names like Amazon, Shopify, eBay, Xero, Lazada, and PayPal.
5. Customer Support
After you get an inventory management system, you don’t want to be left alone and figure out ways to use it all by yourself. When your staff is unaware of setting up low-level stock notifications, or if you can’t find purchase transactions, you expect someone to offer you a solution as quickly as possible. So, ensure you partner with a professional vendor who offers support, training, warranty, and assistance.
Furthermore, your business can also benefit from partnering with ecommerce fulfillment services like Phase V to enjoy fast and efficient order processing.
Embrace An Efficient Inventory
Inventory is a massive part of business operations, and without the right software, many businesses struggle, and different problems arise that prevent them from achieving success. Not every inventory management system is created equal.
For this reason, you should put considerable thought into choosing a solution that meets your business needs. Take the time to come up with a list of features that matter the most to your business, and also consider what you are willing to spend.