Benefits of Inventory Management Software
As a small business retailer, you probably have some sort of system in place for keeping track of the products you have in stock. You need to know what you have, how much you have now, and how much you need to order — and when! Is the way you manage inventory now enough?
Inventory management solutions can be found in countless shapes and forms. Many business owners and managers use spreadsheets to keep a tally of stock quantities, and perform regular physical inventory counts to keep the numbers up to date. Others may deduct inventory with receipts or invoices against the numbers from their purchase orders, or simply rely on the inventory counts kept by their shopping cart.
But how can you be confident in those inventory numbers without having sight of the bigger picture? Do you know exactly how much of each product you have available for sale after accounting for orders that are placed and waiting to be shipped out? Do you know how much inventory is incoming from your suppliers? If you keep inventory in multiple bins or warehouses, do you know the stock counts for those individual locations?
The truth is that if your inventory count isn't reliable, then it isn't of much use to your business. You may find yourself keeping too much of one product in stock and not enough of another, causing you to oversell in one area while losing valuable storage space somewhere else. You may simply be spending too much time and effort managing your inventory instead of the rest of your business. With that in mind, let's explore just some of the benefits that inventory management software can offer you:
Improved inventory accuracy
Inventory tracking isn't just about taking a count of what you have in your warehouse. You also need to be able to track inventory as it comes in and out. This means sales receipts and purchase order invoices need to all be processed and the stock levels need to be adjusted accordingly. Any errors in this chore will result in an inaccurate inventory count, and even the smallest disrepancies can mean trouble.
Inventory management software takes the guesswork out of keeping track of your stock levels. With the right software, you can automatically keep track of where and when every transaction takes place, ensuring that you always have an up-to-date stock level count.
Automated and effortless management
Nobody tracks inventory as a hobby. There is nothing fun about counting stock, filing purchase orders, or making inventory reports. These chores drain away hours of your week, taking time away from marketing, management, sales, and other crucial parts of keeping your business running smoothly.
As more and more tasks are automated by inventory management software, you'll need to spend less and less time performing those tasks by hand. Less time shuffling through receipts, sorting through bins, or tallying stock counts. Take that time back and spend it running your business.
Save money in stocking and restocking inventory
A key part of inventory management is having the right amount of inventory on hand. If you order too little of something, you will oversell or run out of stock early. If you order too much, you'll waste valuable warehouse space while waiting for those units to sell. But how do you determine the right amount of inventory to order if you don't have the right stock levels recorded?
Having greater confidence in your current stock levels will make a huge difference in what you spend repleneshing them. You can clearly see how much needs to be ordered and when, allowing you to trim costs where they aren't necessary.
See what's coming and what's going
Tracking inventory isn't only about keeping track of what you have in stock. As you purchase new stock from your suppliers, and as you ship orders out the door, you need to keep track of where your supply is coming and going and how that's affecting your inventory needs. This supply chain picture is critical to knowing what to create purchase orders for and when.
Inventory management software can give you a bird's eye view of your entire supply and distribution chain. You can keep track of not just current stock levels, but what's incoming from pending purchase orders, what's outgoing through processing sales orders, and historical trends in receiving and sales.
Solutions that scale with your business
As your retail business grows, your needs and requirements will naturally grow as well. Tasks that you could get away with performing manually in the past are now begging to be automated, and small inaccuracies here and there are turning into dangerously expensive mistakes. Will your inventory management workflow be able to keep up with your business?
The best ecommerce tools and workflows are the ones that work just as effectively at the beginning as they do throughout your growth. Moving from a garage to a warehouse shouldn't require you to reinvent how you perform your day-to-day operations. The right inventory management software will grow with you.