It’s difficult to understate how crucial proper inventory management is to your business. It’s not just a matter of making operations flow smoothly; it’s about saving money, not wasting effort, and keeping your customers happy.
Managing your inventory can be a daunting task, though. Between maintaining spreadsheets, keeping track of products, handling returns, and calculating future additions, there’s a lot of room for error, frustration, and wasted funds.
It’s in your business’s best interest to invest in a system that streamlines the entire inventory process. Enter inventory management software: a technological tool that enables you to oversee every aspect of your supply chain that not only helps in the present but gives you precise suggestions for the future.
Other methods are insufficient
Many other means of inventory management are insufficient. Excel spreadsheets can only get you so far: they require lots of manual labor, making them tedious and time-consuming. A software solution will save you a great deal of time that would be better spent tending to other aspects of your business.
Manually entering data into a spreadsheet also opens the door for potential errors—no one is perfect, and someone is bound to make a mistake sooner or later. Administrative errors are costly because they can result in returns because the incorrect products were shipped, the need for repackaging, shipping the correct order, and maybe even lost sales.
Goods can be misplaced and misidentified. What if you lost an item that expired or became obsolete while you were looking for it? It’s now a wasted item, and you won’t get reimbursed for it.
In addition, traditional spreadsheets don’t scale well. The larger your business grows, the more complicated typical inventory management techniques will become. It helps to have a technological solution that allows room for expansion and can communicate with other platforms you employ.
For improving customer service
When you have an inventory management software system in place, you always have real-time access to whatever knowledge you need about available stock. Isn’t it awkward when a customer asks you a question and you have to respond, “Wait here for a moment while I check the backroom, please.” The customer stands waiting, and you rush off to learn the potentially disappointing answer to their question.
What if you could simply look down at your tablet screen to see if you have any more product on-hand? This way, neither of you need to wait, and the system can even recommend related products that the customer might prefer. If the software is built into your point of sale system, then you can also avoid making false promises to customers because it subtracts inventory every time someone makes a purchase.
If you are an eCommerce business, customers expect to wait a few days for their orders to arrive—but they still like to know precisely where it is. Implementing a tracking system is easier when an inventory management system is involved because it extends to other parts of the supply chain. If a customer calls about a late order, then you or your customer service representatives need to handle the situation. If the customer can find the answer themselves, then they’re less likely to be worried.
It forecasts more effectively
The best inventory management software options don’t just help you keep track of everything; they aggregate data and make predictions about your future sales based on recent purchase history. With this information in mind, you can make data-driven decisions regarding how much inventory to order or manufacture for the next cycle. You’ll avoid costly overstocking and understocking. You likely make similar calculations, but having a technological tool means you don’t need to do the math yourself, and it will (hopefully) be more accurate and understandable.
It saves you money
You might assume that paying for software upfront or on a monthly basis is more expensive than traditional techniques, but it will save you money in the long run because it helps you control your spending.
Again, much of it has to do with avoiding losses. Inventory mismanagement can result in spoiled goods, lost items, and other costs that exceed the price of the system. Plus, some software options allow you to automate particular inventory management techniques, like FIFO, which serves to prevent losses.
Sure, inventory management software is nice to have—but as your business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary. Odds are, a technological assistant (especially one accompanying a point of sale system) is better than whatever methods you were using previously, and it will save you future headaches when things go awry. How else do you expect inventory management software will benefit your business?