Looking to choose an inventory and warehouse management system for your company? We've collected the five key points to look for when selecting a system.
We hate to be stingy right off the bat, but this is a big one for us. If it's an amazing, perfect, wonderful system for your hot new startup but costs 300k per year... it's not a good fit. By the same token, if it's a convoluted, messy, black hole of a system but it's free, what use is it? This isn't to say that you should neglect higher or lower cost systems, but rather, that you should be able to justify the cost of the system you choose. The cost of your inventory and warehouse management system should feel like a worthwhile, necessary investment, that is appropriate for the features and benefits you're receiving.
2. Planning for Growth
While cost is an important factor, it's good practice to choose a system with just a few more whistles and bells than you need, even if it costs a little extra. And here's why: crimping on price only to be stuck with system limitations will only bring you headaches along the road. The point of a good inventory and warehouse management system is to improve efficiency and help your company grow. If the system itself doesn't allow for your company's growth, then the system is falling short of it's most basic function. Small companies may not require large-scale systems now, but there's no need to limit your capacity so early on.
3. Ease of Use
System simplicity is something we just can't stress enough. You need to maintain the proper warehouse inventory levels - and that's hard work. An inventory and warehouse management system should make all that easier, right? It won't if the management system is convoluted, not user friendly, and requires onsite training, tutorial videos, extensive documentation, and headaches just to perform basic functions. So what if a system has amazing features x, y , and z? It's useless if it's counter-intuitive and difficult to implement. We recommend to always check out a demo of the system you're considering before any money changes hands - and if it's not easy to use, it's more trouble than it's worth.
Any decent inventory and warehouse management system will come with some sort of reporting built in. Ideally, the system should provide reports for absolutely everything - you need full flexibility and customization options. You shouldn’t have to depend on the predefined set of reports providing by the vendor, and you absolutely shouldn't have to pay said vendor to enhance the report set.
5. Standards and Regulations
Finally (and this is something that can but shouldn't be forgotten), it's important that the system is designed to comply with all the necessary government oversight, including taxation and valuation. A good system will automate most of that.