Are you tired of wrestling with spreadsheets, manual processes, and stock discrepancies that keep your business from reaching its full potential?
If you resonate with these struggles, it’s time for you to invest in inventory management software.
With real-time tracking, smart forecasting, and seamless integration with your favorite eCommerce platforms, modern inventory management platforms are the ultimate tool for businesses of all sizes.
Inventory is a company’s biggest asset, yet many companies struggle to understand the importance of inventory management.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Implementing online inventory management software will help you streamline your warehouse and logistics operations, reduce mistakes, and improve customer service. Let’s break it down further.
- 19 Top Effective Inventory Management Techniques and Best Practices
- 15 Successful Strategies for Inventory Management
What is inventory management software?
Inventory management software tools are programs designed to track inventory levels, sales, orders, deliveries, and other warehouse or distribution center needs.
Beyond this, inventory management software can help manufacturers create things like work orders, purchase orders, bills of materials, and a wide range of other documents needed in the course of business.
Related Post: 12 Best Inventory Management Apps
Benefits of using inventory software
- Easily track the flow of products and assets through your warehouse
- Spot issues in your supply chain (before they impact profitability)
- Ensure items are shipped quickly, accurately, and efficiently
The best inventory management software (IMS) will serve as a central hub for your inventory data.
It will manage and measure the amount, location, pricing, ordering, and fulfillment process for inventory across your platforms and channels.
Inventory management software and eCommerce software: A match made in heaven
eCommerce inventory management software gives you an accurate count of what’s in your system at any time, helps you forecast future demand, and ensures you have enough stock on hand to handle fulfillment.
One of the key ways it achieves this is by integrating with all your online sales channels and marketplaces.
eCommerce inventory management tools like SkuVault will sync the items in your warehouse with your online listings across all your different sales channels.
This helps ensure you always have the right amount of product available on all your different marketplaces, which in turn means you’ll be able to fulfill your orders and create happy customers.
Your eCommerce inventory management software will integrate with your existing supply chains, third-party sales channels and marketplaces, vendors, and drop shippers.
An eCommerce inventory management system can tell you at a glance which products are out of stock, in stock, understocked, and overstocked. Each of these items is important when it comes to the efficient management of your inventory.
Once orders are placed, SkuVault will generate pick lists for warehouse teams to pick and pack.
Then, employees can reference the SkuVault app on their mobile device to find the most efficient route to the warehouse, aisle, shelf, and bin location to prepare orders for shipping.
Related Post: 6 Best Inventory Management Systems for Ecommerce
Why is inventory management software important?
If you’re only using Excel, tracking sheets, or no tracking system at all, costly mistakes add up quickly.
Inventory management software can track your inventory and sync it across all eCommerce channels and warehouse locations at the same time.
It can help you forecast demand and make reorders easier. This prevents you from over-ordering, under-ordering, and sending mis-shipments of quantities from the moment they enter your warehouse to when they leave.
Better yet, if you’re a small business with an end goal to scale up, inventory management software such as SkuVault can grow with your business.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from using an IMS. If you’re a small business just starting out, an IMS will give you the functionality to run an efficient warehouse without all the complexities of a bigger warehouse management system.
Small to mid-sized businesses are great candidates for an IMS. That means low SKU counts with a high volume per SKU perform well within the inventory tracking functions of inventory management software.
Even larger enterprise companies can benefit from an IMS. Enterprise companies new to eCommerce, for example, can benefit from the inventory certainty and ability to go online faster using inventory management software.
Often, larger companies either have no inventory management system at all, outdated processes, or low maintenance environments.
An IMS like SkuVault is a gradual step into inventory tracking that doesn’t require months of training, a high learning curve, or an extensive implementation process.
Related Post: How to Control Costs with Modern Inventory Management
Can you use inventory software to manage multiple locations and multiple sales channels?
Absolutely, inventory management software like SkuVault is designed to handle multiple locations and sales channels efficiently.
By using advanced features and integrations, businesses can keep track of their inventory across various warehouses, stores, and online marketplaces in real-time.
Here’s how inventory software simplifies this process:
Centralized inventory management
Inventory management software allows you to manage all your inventory from a centralized platform, or “single source of truth.”
This means you can easily track inventory levels, stock transfers, and sales across multiple locations in real time.
This centralized approach helps you maintain accurate inventory counts and reduces the risk of stock discrepancies between locations.
Sales channel integration
Modern inventory management software like SkuVault offers seamless integrations with various eCommerce platforms and online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and WooCommerce.
This enables businesses to automatically synchronize inventory data across multiple sales channels, ensuring that stock levels are always up-to-date.
As a result, you can avoid overselling or stockouts and provide a consistent shopping experience for your customers.
Automated stock transfers
Inventory management software can automatically initiate stock transfers between locations based on pre-set rules and triggers.
For example, if the stock of a specific item falls below a certain threshold at one location, the software can initiate a transfer from another location with surplus inventory.
This helps maintain optimal stock levels at each location and prevents stockouts or excess inventory.
Real-time reporting and analytics
With inventory management software, you can access real-time reports and analytics for each location and sales channel.
This provides valuable insights into sales trends, product performance, and stock levels, allowing you to make data-driven decisions for inventory replenishment, pricing strategies, and promotional campaigns.
Related Post: Inventory Reporting Guide: The Key Reports & Best Practices
Streamlined order fulfillment
Inventory software enables businesses to optimize order fulfillment across multiple locations and sales channels.
By automatically assigning orders to the most suitable warehouse or store based on factors such as proximity to the customer, stock availability, and shipping costs, businesses can reduce delivery times and shipping expenses.
Six more benefits of using inventory management software
1. Better inventory oversight
Using inventory and order management software ensures that orders are filled and shipped in a timely manner. It also guarantees you have enough inventory on hand to meet demand.
2. Increased efficiency in operations
Inventory and order management software will not only guarantee you don’t tie up money in inventory you don’t need, but it can also help you make sure expiring inventory is prioritized rather than going to waste on a shelf.
3. Minimize inventory costs while increasing profits
Are you spending a lot of money on carrying costs for inventory sitting in warehouses? Do you have dead stock taking up space and eating into your profits?
Inventory and order management software can help you avoid these expenses.
4. Reduce costs by ensuring order accuracy
Incorrect order fulfillment and shipping issues cost you money. Inventory and order management software can help you get closer to 100% accuracy, which is guaranteed to improve your bottom line.
5. Better customer service
Having access to real-time order status is essentially expected these days. Customers want to know where their order is at each step of the process – from the moment it’s placed until a postal carrier leaves it in their mailbox.
Inventory and order management software make sure you can provide this information.
6. Fully automate manual tasks
Instead of having employees sitting around entering orders and figuring costs manually, why not automate the process?
Order and inventory management software can make creating purchase orders simple with barcode or RFID scanning.
What are the types of inventory management systems?
When it comes to managing inventory, it doesn’t matter if you track items manually on paper, use complicated spreadsheets, or invest in inventory management software.
No matter which method you choose, it will fall within one of two distinct inventory management systems: Perpetual Inventory System or Periodic Inventory System.
Perpetual inventory system
If you use a perpetual inventory system, you are continually updating counts, stock levels, and other key inventory elements in real time as items are received, sold, shipped, or transferred.
When managed properly, perpetual inventory systems can make inventory management significantly easier because they provide continual, up-to-date information about orders and stock levels.
The potential downside of the perpetual inventory system is that it requires specialized equipment like barcode readers or RFID technology (we’ll discuss both momentarily), which means there is a bigger initial investment when implementing this system.
Periodic inventory system
A periodic inventory system does not track inventory in real time. Instead, it tracks inventory by comparing a starting and ending number for tracked items during a predetermined period of time.
To track inventory with a periodic system, you will need to regularly schedule and conduct manual counts, look for discrepancies, and then manually reconcile your numbers for the starting point for the next period.
The downsides of the periodic inventory are that the physical counts often require you to suspend warehouse or distribution center operations.
They also require employees to move from their regular activities into inventory counting mode.
On top of that, periodic inventory tracking makes theft or shrink harder to spot and it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing discrepancies between count numbers and recorded numbers.
Barcode inventory systems
If you select a perpetual inventory system, you’ll often use either barcode or RFID technology to automate tracking. Let’s break down what each system brings to the table.
With barcode systems, you’ll get greater accuracy and efficiency than traditional manual tracking methods. Barcodes can be easily printed and applied to products, making the implementation process relatively simple.
Any time a barcode is scanned, inventory is updated. This allows you to continually monitor stock levels, track items in your warehouse, and spot places where logistics operations can be improved.
The downside is the same as mentioned in the perpetual inventory system section. The initial costs can be a challenge for some companies.
However, once the initial investment is made, barcode scanning systems can pay for themselves with increased inventory efficiency in short order.
Related Post: How To Make Your Own Barcodes: Small Business Guide
RFID inventory systems
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, and like barcode scanning, it allows for more automated real-time inventory tracking in your facility.
RFID technology uses radio waves to transmit data between tags and readers, making it a highly efficient and accurate method of tracking inventory.
Unlike the barcode system, where employees will often manually scan items, RFID systems place trackers throughout your facility.
As tagged items move past the readers, the inventory information is updated automatically in the system. This allows for greater visibility of inventory movement and helps reduce human error in tracking.
Readers can log tags from distances of 40ft to 300ft depending on what kind of technology you’re using, meaning you can easily track items throughout the entire facility without having to send employees to scan them.
Companies like Impinj and Alien Technology offer a variety of RFID readers and tags designed for different industries and applications.
The downside of RFID is that the tags are significantly more expensive than barcode stickers. There can also be interference issues between the tags and scanners, which can impact the accuracy of the system.
However, advancements in RFID technology continue to address these challenges, making it an increasingly attractive option for businesses.
Companies that move a lot of high-value items or have complex inventory management requirements will probably find RFID worth the investment.
To help you decide if RFID is the right choice for your business, RFID Journal provides a wealth of resources and information on the latest developments in the industry.
How can a good inventory management system help with supply chain management?
A good inventory management system plays a crucial role in supply chain management by providing better visibility, control, and optimization of inventory processes.
Here are some ways in which a robust inventory management system can enhance supply chain management:
A good inventory management system offers real-time visibility into inventory levels, sales, orders, and shipments across the entire supply chain.
This helps businesses to identify potential bottlenecks, stock discrepancies, and areas for improvement.
Streamlined Procurement and Replenishment
Inventory management software enables businesses to automate procurement and replenishment processes.
By using data-driven demand forecasting and setting reorder points, businesses can ensure that they have the right amount of inventory at the right time, preventing stockouts or excess stock.
Optimized Warehouse Management
Inventory management systems can help optimize warehouse operations by providing efficient storage and picking strategies, reducing order fulfillment time, and minimizing the risk of errors.
This leads to increased efficiency and cost savings in the supply chain.
A good inventory management system allows businesses to manage their relationships with vendors more effectively.
By tracking vendor performance, lead times, and pricing, businesses can make informed decisions about which suppliers to work with and negotiate better terms.
Related Post: What is Manufacturing Lead Time and How to Reduce It
Risk Mitigation and Contingency Planning
Inventory management software can help businesses identify risks and develop contingency plans for potential supply chain disruptions.
By monitoring inventory levels, lead times, and supplier performance, businesses can proactively address potential issues before they escalate.
Enhanced Collaboration and Communication
A good inventory management system facilitates collaboration and communication among various stakeholders in the supply chain, such as suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
By providing a centralized platform for sharing information and coordinating activities, businesses can streamline their supply chain operations and ensure all parties are aligned.
In summary, a good inventory management system is essential for effective supply chain management.
By providing improved visibility, streamlined procurement, optimized warehouse management, better vendor management, risk mitigation, and enhanced collaboration, businesses can significantly improve their supply chain operations, reduce costs, and increase overall efficiency.
Is an inventory management system suitable for small and midsize businesses?
One question we’re commonly asked is whether or not a small business can truly benefit from using inventory management systems and software.
The short answer is, absolutely.
For whatever reason, there’s a misconception that only major corporations with multiple warehouses and global shipping need inventory management systems.
This could not be further from the truth.
There are major benefits to using inventory management systems for small companies that can help them grow their business with fewer headaches.
Freeing up time by automating your inventory process will allow you to focus on growth opportunities. Gaining a better understanding of how a product sells (or doesn’t sell) will allow for better forecasting and stock management.
Beyond that, an inventory management system will help you become more efficient by streamlining your shipping and reducing errors in picking orders. You’ll even have a better handle on returns.
Inventory management systems and software are game-changers for small businesses. Waiting to explore these tools until your company is “bigger” is a mistake that can delay your growth and cost you money.
Related Post: Small Business Inventory Management Software: How to Get Online Faster
Inventory management for enterprise businesses
Enterprise businesses face unique challenges when it comes to inventory management, as they often deal with high volumes of products, multiple sales channels, and complex supply chains.
A robust inventory management system is essential for addressing these challenges and ensuring seamless operations.
Scalability and customization
A key feature to look for in an inventory management solution for enterprise businesses is scalability.
The system should be able to grow with your business, handling increasing volumes of inventory and transactions with ease.
Customization is also essential, as enterprise businesses often have unique workflows and specific requirements that need to be addressed.
Integration with other systems
An enterprise inventory management system should integrate seamlessly with other software and tools used by the business, such as ERP systems, warehouse management systems, and accounting software.
This helps streamline processes, reduce manual tasks, and improve overall efficiency.
Related Post: ERP Inventory Management System vs. IMS: Know the Difference
Real-time inventory tracking
As with any inventory management system, real-time inventory tracking is crucial for enterprise businesses.
This ensures that inventory data is always up to date, allowing for better decision-making and improved stock management.
Advanced reporting and analytics
Enterprise businesses need powerful reporting and analytics capabilities to gain insights into their inventory and make data-driven decisions.
A good inventory management system should provide customizable reports, trend analysis, and other tools to help businesses optimize their inventory processes.
Multi-location and multi-channel support
Enterprise businesses often operate in multiple locations and sell through various channels, making inventory management more complex.
An inventory management system should support multi-location and multi-channel operations, ensuring that inventory levels are accurate and synchronized across all sales channels and warehouses.
By choosing an inventory management system that addresses the unique needs of enterprise businesses, companies can improve their operations, reduce costs, and ultimately, increase profitability.
Related Post: 6 Top Multichannel Inventory Management Software and How to Choose
Advanced inventory features of SkuVault to help you manage inventory and increase profitability
If you’re ready to learn more, we’d love to introduce you to SkuVault, our browser-based, integrated inventory management software designed to help increase your profitability and streamline your logistics.
Here are some of the specific ways SkuVault helps.
Real-time inventory tracking
SkuVault offers real-time inventory tracking, which allows businesses to monitor their stock levels, sales, and order fulfillment processes continuously.
This ensures that inventory data is always up to date and helps businesses make informed decisions about stock management and replenishment.
With real-time inventory tracking, SkuVault can automatically generate low-stock alerts, so businesses are informed when they need to reorder items or adjust their inventory strategies.
This helps prevent stockouts and ensures that customer orders can be fulfilled efficiently.
SkuVault’s real-time tracking also provides insights into incoming stock and helps businesses manage their supply chain more effectively.
This data can be accessed through SkuVault’s platform on mobile devices, so managers and team members can monitor inventory levels and make decisions on the go.
Barcode scanning and label printing
SkuVault supports barcode scanning and label printing, which streamlines the process of receiving, picking, and shipping inventory.
By automating these processes, businesses can minimize errors, improve accuracy, and increase efficiency in their warehouse operations.
Demand forecasting and reorder points
SkuVault’s demand forecasting and reorder point features help businesses accurately predict future inventory needs and determine the optimal time to reorder products.
This helps prevent stockouts, reduces excess inventory, and ultimately increases profitability.
Kitting and bundling
With SkuVault, you can create and manage kits and bundles, and sell multiple products as a single unit.
This feature can help increase sales, improve inventory turnover, and optimize warehouse space.
Related Post: Kitting: How It Works and Its Benefits in eCommerce
SkuVault’s cycle counting feature enables businesses to perform regular inventory audits without disrupting their daily operations.
By identifying and addressing discrepancies in stock levels, businesses can maintain accurate inventory records and reduce shrinkage.
Related Post: 11 Inventory Cycle Counting Best Practices and Tips
Quality control and holds management
SkuVault offers quality control and holds management features, allowing businesses to track and manage damaged, expired, or otherwise unsellable inventory.
This helps businesses maintain high product quality, protect their brand reputation, and minimize losses due to unsellable stock.
Multi-warehouse and multi-channel support
SkuVault supports multi-warehouse and multi-channel operations, allowing businesses to manage their inventory across multiple locations and sales channels seamlessly.
This feature ensures that inventory data is consistent and accurate across all platforms, making it easier to manage and optimize the supply chain.
Comprehensive asset management
SkuVault plays a crucial role in asset management and asset tracking with a comprehensive set of inventory tools.
With its automated workflows, SkuVault makes it easy to manage and track assets throughout their lifecycle, from procurement to disposal.
By using SkuVault’s inventory tools, you can maintain accurate records of your assets, monitor their location, and track their movement within your warehouse or distribution center.
The automated workflows help to minimize human errors and save time by reducing manual tasks associated with asset management.
Integration with point-of-sale (POS) systems
SkuVault integrates with various point-of-sale systems to help businesses streamline their inventory management processes without the hassle of manual data entry.
This integration allows for real-time syncing of inventory data between SkuVault and the POS system, ensuring that stock levels are accurate and up-to-date across both online and brick-and-mortar stores.
By connecting SkuVault with your POS system, you can efficiently manage your inventory, avoid stockouts or overstocking, and maintain a seamless sales experience for your customers.
Related Post: Omnichannel Inventory Management: What It Is and Best Practices
Integration with popular eCommerce platforms
SkuVault integrates with popular eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and WooCommerce.
It also seamlessly integrates with accounting software like QuickBooks, so you can easily manage your financial data alongside your inventory and assets.
This integration helps streamline your financial reporting, so you can monitor your expenses, revenue, and overall financial health with greater accuracy and efficiency.
By connecting SkuVault with QuickBooks (or your accounting system of choice), you can automate the flow of data between the two systems, reducing manual data entry and the risk of errors.
SkuVault has partnered with various CRM software vendors (like SalesForce) to provide seamless integrations that facilitate the flow of information between inventory management and customer relationship management.
This collaboration ensures that businesses can access accurate inventory data within their CRM systems, supporting informed decisions about customer orders, product availability, and promotions.
In turn, this helps to save time, improve the accuracy of your financial records, and simplify the overall asset management process.
Businesses can sync their inventory data across all sales channels, ensuring accurate stock levels and reducing the risk of overselling.
In short, businesses can optimize their supply chain operations and achieve greater success with inventory management software and its many powerful features (like real-time tracking, barcode scanning, demand forecasting, kitting and bundling, cycle counting, quality control, and multi-warehouse and multi-channel support).
We’d love to show you SkuVault in action. If you’re ready to stop working in your business and start working on your business, book a live demo today.