In America, cars are a deeply ingrained part of our cultural identity. We celebrate the open road, customize our rides to reflect our personalities, and look at our cars as more than just a tool to get from point A to point B.
We’re a car culture.
Part of owning a car is maintaining it, which is why you’ll find at least one auto parts store in almost every town on the map.
Running an auto parts store presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing inventory. Cars are made up of thousands of parts. There are countless makes and models and things change from one model year to another. As such, auto parts stores could carry hundreds of thousands of different parts. Managing inventories of that size can be difficult.
Luckily, inventory management software can help auto parts stores better manage their stock levels to avoid costly carrying costs related to overstocks, while also ensuring they have the items they need to keep their customers happy.
Today we’ll break down the benefits of auto parts inventory management software, highlight the features you should look for, and list some of the best software solutions on the market.
Why Do I Need to Manage My Auto Parts Inventory?
Before we break down all the things you need to look for in auto parts inventory management software, let’s first tackle the big picture question: Why do you need auto parts inventory management software in the first place?
We touched on a few key points in the previous section. The sheer number of parts and products available for cars is staggering. It’s not physically possible to track every item, every part number, or every variation between parts for different makes and models.
Inventory management software can remove the labor and make managing your stock much simpler. This will both save you money and help you improve the bottom line.
Not having the key items your customers want will cost you money in lost sales. Inventory management software can not only alert you when stock levels are low on key items you sell, but it can also automate the reordering process, freeing you up to focus on running your business.
On the other side of that coin, you may find yourself carrying too much stock, which will cost you money in excessive carrying costs. With analytics and reporting tools, you’ll always know exactly how much stock you have in inventory, and the proper levels to have on hand based on your historical data.
Benefits of Auto Parts Inventory Management Software
Now that you have a better understanding of why you need auto parts inventory management software, let’s talk about the benefits these tools can bring to your business.
Improved point of sale transactions
With the sheer volume of product you sell in your auto parts store, it’s no surprise that many inventory errors happen at the point of sale. Employees ringing up wrong items can create stock headaches.
Inventory management software can eliminate these problems. Scannable barcodes ensure your employees always ring up the right item, and automatic inventory updates at the register mean your stock level is updated automatically.
Streamline inventory management
The use of barcode scanners or RFID technology makes your inventory management simpler. Real time updates as items are scanned at the point of sale or upon receipt means you’ll spend less time making sure your inventory levels are accurate.
Tracking inventory manually with pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets is a time consuming process where errors are common. Inventory management software will greatly reduce the potential for error and a lot of extraneous work.
Personalize customer experience
Inventory management software will track what customers buy, how often they buy, and how much they buy. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to customize the buying experience with personalized offers, upsells, coupons, and so on.
One of the biggest benefits of inventory management software is that it will allow you to automate most of your stock process. This means you will need fewer employees and increase the cost effectiveness of your operations.
Integration with a physical store
If you sell both online and in a physical location, inventory management software will allow you to keep stock counts up to date across all your locations without having to do a bunch of extra work. Scanned items at any location can be updated in a centralized software solution.
Auto parts data in a structured format
With so many items to track, it’s not feasible to keep everything in your location. Add in the sheer volume of parts out there and knowing what a customer needs can be a challenge.
Fortunately, auto parts inventory software will allow you to store huge amounts of part data so you can always find the items the customers need, and you’ll have it all in an easily accessible format that prevents you from wasting a lot of time trying to find the information you need.
Automotive business intelligence
With a full suite of analytics tools, auto parts inventory management software can give you business insights you wouldn’t discover if you were doing things by hand. Better insights into your business means you’ll be prepared to spot opportunities when they arise.
Do you sell bundled products made up of multiple parts? Tracking those kinds of products is much simpler with inventory management software.
If you’re fulfilling orders online or shipping items to customers, inventory management software can make things simpler by providing picking information, shipping details, tracking, and more. With an IMS solution, you’ll be sure products will arrive on time.
Want to have a 24/7 customer support rep available for your online storefront? Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence and chatbots, you’re always open for business.
Integrated email marketing
We talked about personalized customer experiences earlier, and with inventory management software, you’ll be able to integrate your email marketing efforts with your inventory. Target specific customer segments, offer deals on top sellers or overstock, or prepare for seasonal offers. An IMS will help you take your email marketing to a new level.
What Features Should You Look for in Auto Parts Inventory Software?
Now that you know the benefits of auto parts inventory management software, let’s break down some of the features you will want to have.
- Part lookup
- Integration with catalogs
- Integration with software
- Multiple location lookups
- Order levels
- Lot pricing
- Kit pricing
- Shipping products
- Creating work orders
- Ability to track multiple prices
These are some of the key features that apply to all businesses in the auto parts industry. It’s not an all-inclusive list, and you’ll want to determine what special features your business needs specifically and find a solution that offers them.
Implement an IMS to gain greater inventory control, and less costly mis-ships.
Top Auto Parts Inventory Management Software Solutions
Now that you’re aware of the features and benefits auto part inventory management software can bring to your business, let’s look at some of the best solutions on the market.
No matter what your inventory management needs are, SkuVault has you covered.
SkuVault inventory management software allows you to sync your eCommerce and physical sales channels, manage your inventory, and generate reports in an easy-to-use platform. SkuVault’s inventory management system features are designed to create better pick, pack, and ship processes so your customers receive the right products on time, every time. As a result, you will increase customer loyalty and achieve higher seller performance ratings.
SkuVault works with businesses in a wide range of industries, but their tools are particularly well-suited for auto parts retail and wholesale.
Sortly bills themselves as the “simplest to use auto parts inventory software management software ever.”
Like SkuVault, they offer a fully customizable system that allows you track inventory across multiple locations and set alerts so you never miss a reorder.
Sortly offers plans ranging price from free to $99 a month.
With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more, NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by automating core processes and providing real-time insights into operational and financial performance.
Featuring a fully modular system, you can customize NetSuite to meet your specific needs. The one big drawback here is the price. Smaller businesses may experience sticker shock, but if you have the means, this is a product that can help you get a handle on your inventory.
Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket Software
Epicor Eagle is a software solution aimed specifically at the automotive industry. Here’s how they pitch their product:
“Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket software is a powerful on-premises or cloud-based business management solution built specific to the needs of independent automotive aftermarket and commercial vehicle parts jobbers and distributors.
Epicor Eagle software helps power point-of-sale activities; manage inventory and pricing; utilize integrated accounting tools; monitor for loss prevention and much more. Built on a modular, highly scalable architecture for flexibility to expand its configuration as business grows, Epicor Eagle software automates purchasing/receiving, networks multiple stores, supports special ordering, sends invoices/statements electronically, and enables a full range of mobility tools that streamline business practices.”
- Fishbowl Software
Next on the list, we have Fishbowl Software. Here’s what you can expect from this solution:
“Fishbowl is a hybrid manufacturing and warehouse management solution designed for small and midsize companies.
Key features include inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP), job shop floor control, work order management, manufacturer orders and bills of materials. The solution can either be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud.
Fishbowl also offers features such as barcoding, asset management, raw materials management, cycle counting, reporting, automated ordering and purchasing. It provides real-time updates on the stock level to multiple warehouses of an organization. The solution can predict inventory requirements based on sales trends and allows organizations to transfer stock from one warehouse to another.”
SAP Business One
If you’re not already familiar with SAP Business One, they offer a robust software solution that can benefit almost any industry.
“SAP Business One is a modular and integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
This platform integrates financials, CRM, inventory, sales and operations management modules within a single system. SAP Business One automates many business practices to minimize duplicate entries and errors, measure efficiency in service management and manage MRP and inventory, track procurement and manage the sales pipeline.
The system’s reporting module offers reports that can be customized, exported into numerous formats and modified with drill-downs and ‘what-if’ scenario modeling.”
If you run a repair shop on top of selling auto parts, FullBay can help you better manage the auto repair portion of your business.
“Fullbay is a cloud-based shop management software designed for heavy-duty commercial repair shops.
The app allows shop owners, technicians, managers, and customers to stay involved throughout the repair process—even if they’re outside the shop. Fullbay tracks a vehicle’s maintenance history, and allows customers to submit repair or maintenance requests, view a vehicle’s progress, and approve work and settle invoice payments through a branded portal.”
This one makes a great companion product to your inventory management software.
LS retail is another full featured inventory management software solution that can work with almost any kind of business.
“LS Retaill is a flexible and highly scalable POS and ERP software solution based on Microsoft Dynamics technology. This unified business management system is suitable for a variety of retail stores including apparel, groceries, electronics, and auto parts stores, as well as restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores.
Whether you own one store or thousands of shops, LS Retail software grows with you.
Key features include inventory management, customer management, retail accounting, e-commerce, warehouse management, and mobile support. Users can track sales, stock and productivity live on sales channels, including physical locations, e-commerce platforms, and mobile apps.”
R.O. Writer is another great software product that does more than just manage auto parts inventory.
“R.O. Writer is an on-premise auto shop management solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. It is compatible with Windows operating systems and provides tools to manage time tracking, service writing, accounting, and inventory. Users can draft estimates, schedule work orders, and accept payment from customers through a single interface.
R.O. Writer also features communication tools to assist with customer outreach.”
The auto parts industry has some unique challenges when it comes to managing inventory, but fortunately there are software solutions out there to streamline and simplify the process.
Whether you select an inventory management system designed specifically for auto parts retailers or a more generalized set of software tools, using an IMS can save you time and money and help you take your business to the next level.
If you’re not sure where to begin, we’d be happy to discuss your needs and help you find a solution perfect for your business. Reach out to us today to talk about how inventory management software can change your business!
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