9 January 2023
Picking the Right Inventory Management Software
Finding the right inventory management software for your business can be a daunting task. With so many options out there, it is important to consider each one carefully and make an informed decision. This article will help you understand the different features of an inventory management system and how to narrow down your choices to find the right one for your business. By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge and confidence to select the best system that meets your unique needs.
Basic features of Inventory Management Software
An inventory management system typically provides the following features:
- Tracking and monitoring of products
- Stock level management
- Automated ordering processes
- Sales analytics
- Reports generation
- Low stock alerts
It is important to consider all of these features when selecting an inventory system so that your needs are met. Different systems may offer additional features such as barcode scanning, third-party integration, email/SMS notifications, and more.
Benefits of using an Inventory Management System
An inventory management system can help businesses save time and money by providing visibility into their entire supply chain. It allows for accurate item tracking and eliminates any guesswork, resulting in better insights for making informed decisions about purchasing, restocking and pricing strategies.
Additionally, an inventory system can help identify opportunities to reduce costs by highlighting areas of overstocking, minimise discrepancies between inventory levels and actual sales, as well as streamline ordering processes which can help save time and increase efficiency.
Types of Inventory Management Systems
The next step is to consider the type of inventory system that best suits your business needs. There are several different types of software available, including cloud-based systems and web-based solutions.
Cloud-based inventory management systems are web-based solutions that offer the same features as traditional software programs. The main benefit of cloud-based systems is scalability and flexibility; users can access their data from any device with an internet connection, while also avoiding installation and maintenance costs. Cloud-based systems are also typically more affordable than traditional software solutions and come with built-in security features to protect important data. Additionally, cloud-based systems are often updated more frequently which can be beneficial for businesses that need access to the latest features.
Web-based inventory management systems are software programs that require installation on a server or computer. While they may require more setup, these systems offer a range of benefits such as customisation and comprehensive user management capabilities. Web-based systems are often considered more reliable than cloud-based solutions because they are installed on a private server, so users have more control over their data.
Which types of businesses are suitable for a web-based system?
Web-based inventory management systems are well suited for larger businesses or those with complex stock levels that require frequent monitoring.
ERP Systems vs Inventory Management Software
You might have seen or heard the term ERP System and wondered what is the difference between one and inventory management software. Inventory management is a core part of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. ERP Systems help businesses manage the various activities involved in the movement and storage of materials from beginning to end. This includes tracking all aspects of inventory, such as stock levels, order fulfilment, warehouse locations and supplier information.
Fortunately, we have an article that covers the basics and all you need to know about the features and benefits of ERP software. Read it here.
Why would I need an ERP System over Inventory Management Software?
An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system offers an all-in-one solution for managing a range of business processes and activities, whereas inventory systems are often limited to just the management of goods. An ERP system can help streamline operations by integrating different departments and functions across the organisation. This allows for faster response times, better information sharing and improved planning capabilities.
What should I look for when choosing Inventory Management Software?
When selecting an inventory management system for your business, it is important to consider several factors such as the features offered, cost, scalability, user reviews, customer support options and more. You should also evaluate your own business needs in order to determine which features are most important for you. Once you have narrowed down your choices, make sure to compare products side-by-side and get user reviews from people who already use the software in their business. This will help you get an accurate assessment of its performance and make an informed purchase decision.
Finally, be sure to review the customer service options offered by the vendor before making a purchase decision. This includes support documents, tutorials, online chat capabilities, phone numbers and email addresses if needed.
Can you automate processes in Inventory Management Software?
Some inventory software offer automation capabilities that can help streamline processes and save time. Automation features may include automatic re-ordering when stock reaches a certain level, automated barcode scanning for faster data entry, automated email notifications when orders have been received or shipped and more.
However, ERP systems tend to be more comprehensive here as they offer additional features including financial data recording and analysis, customer relationship management tools and project tracking capabilities. This allows for a more automated approach to managing business operations, as all of the different departments can be integrated into one system. This makes it easier to access information quickly and make decisions. They also allow for integration with other programs such as accounting software if necessary, which can further simplify processes.
What are the benefits of integrating an Inventory Management System with other business applications?
Integrating an inventory management system with other business applications can help streamline processes and reduce costs. It also allows for better visibility into the entire business operations, allowing you to accurately manage inventory levels and track movements across multiple locations.
Additionally, integrating an inventory management system with other applications such as accounting or customer relationship management can further improve efficiency and maximize the impact of the inventory data. By providing a comprehensive view of your inventory, you can better manage costs and increase profitability.
How can I get the most out of my inventory software purchase?
The best way to ensure you get the most out of your inventory software purchase is to do thorough research beforehand. This means researching industry trends, understanding your business needs, evaluating different vendors and their features, and asking for user feedback.
Additionally, you should create a plan for implementation and training to ensure all employees are familiar with the system and its capabilities. Finally, make sure to have regular review sessions to assess the performance of your inventory software solution and determine whether any changes or updates are necessary.
What is the difference between inventory tracking and inventory control?
Inventory tracking is used to manage stock levels and track inventory movements across multiple locations. On the other hand, inventory control refers to the processes and steps taken to manage inventory levels in order to meet customer demand while avoiding overstocking or running out of stock. Inventory control entails setting up a system for recording inventory data, analysing trends, forecasting, and making decisions on inventory purchases and allocations.
What is the difference between an Inventory Management System and Warehouse Management System?
Inventory management systems are designed to manage the inventory of a business, while warehouse management systems manage the storage and movement of goods within warehouses. Both types of software can be used together to create an efficient system for tracking inventory levels and managing stock.
The key difference between the two is that inventory management systems focus more on tracking and monitoring products, while warehouse management systems manage the physical storage and movement of goods.
If you would like to find out more about the differences between a Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System, read our article here.
Inventory software and ERP systems both provide invaluable insights, depending on the size and needs of your business. However, using the inventory module as part of an ERP system is almost always more beneficial as it provides visibility into all aspects of your business operations, from sales and marketing to finance and accounting.
By integrating data from multiple departments, you are able to gain better insights into customer behaviours and purchasing trends, manage costs more effectively and streamline operations for increased efficiency. Additionally, an ERP system can be easily customised to fit specific business needs, allowing you to maximise the impact of your investment.