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Inventory Management Software

Inventory Management Software

Knowing where your inventory is and how much you have is the ultimate tool provided by an inventory management software

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The Problem

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. To mitigate current and future problems, implement an inventory management software to help you streamline your warehouse and logistics operations, reduce mistakes, and improve customer service. Let’s break it down further.


What is Inventory Management Software?

Inventory management software tools are programs designed for tracking 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 production.


Using inventory management software can help a business better understand:

01
The flow of products through their warehouse
02
Spot issues in their supply chain
03
And ensure items are shipped quickly, accurately, and efficiently
The right 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.

What is eCommerce Inventory Management Software?

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 your online sales channels and marketplaces.

eCommerce inventory management tools 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, your IMS can generate pick lists for warehouse teams to pick and pack. eCommerce inventory management software can guide them through the most efficient route to the warehouse, aisle, shelf, and bin location to prepare orders for shipping. The eCommerce IMS should integrate with shipping solutions to create a more efficient workflow.

Similarly to an IMS, an eCommerce IMS tracks and manages inventory, but also comes equipped with features for eCommerce sellers.

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. IMS is a gradual step into inventory tracking that doesn’t require months of training, a high learning curve, or an extensive implementation process.


Here are 6 key benefits of using inventory management software:

Better Inventory Oversight

Utilizing 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.

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, it can also help you make sure expiring inventory is prioritized rather than going to waste on a shelf.

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.

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.

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 makes sure you can provide this information.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

The downside of RFID is that the tags are significantly more expensive than barcode stickers. There can be interference issues between the tags and scanners as well.

Companies that move a lot of high value items will probably find RFID worth the investment. Others can benefit from barcodes and save money.

Is an Inventory Management System Suitable for Small 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 mid-sized businesses and 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 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 a game changer 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.

Why Do I Need Inventory Management Software?

By this point, you’re probably starting to see the real value of inventory management software and how they can help transform your business.


However, if you’re still on the fence, here are five reasons why you need inventory management software for your company:


Better Inventory Tracking

The first, and most obvious reason, is because a good inventory management software allows you to better track your inventory.

By understanding the flow of products through your supply chain and warehouse, you’re better equipped to spot problems and resolve them before they grow into bigger issues.

Better inventory tracking can help you spot theft and shrink, avoid ordering items that won’t sell, and ensure you don’t run out of things customers want.

A detailed, centralized view of your inventory will give you insights that will translate into dollars.

We’ll talk more about costs and savings in our eBook.

Ready to scale your business with an IMS?
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Better Cost Control

Inventory management software can help control costs by maintaining proper stock levels.

If your business is carrying overstock or dead stock items that languish in your warehouse, that’s costing you money.

If you frequently can’t fill orders because you’re out of stock of the items customers want, that’s costing you money.

Inventory management software can help you solve both of these issues by finding par points for products so you always have the right amount of stock on hand.


Better Customer Service

Customers who order items that aren’t in stock are likely to purchase that item elsewhere. They’re also unlikely to consider you for future purchases.

As mentioned in the previous point, inventory management software can alleviate this issue by ensuring you have the necessary stock on-hand to meet demand.

Beyond that, it can help prevent unhappy customers by improving order fulfillment accuracy rates (decreasing returns in the process), and by making your shipping process more efficient so items arrive at the customer’s door in a faster fashion.


Better Forecasting

The wealth of data you can glean from studying the analytics information house in your inventory management system is worth its weight in gold.

Understanding your inventory analytics on a granular level will help you with demand forecasting for future purchase decisions, and potentially help you spot opportunities to maximize growth and revenue.


Better Time Management

The automation afforded by modern inventory management software means you can spend more time focusing on running your business.

Today’s inventory management tools can track, locate, fulfill, and facilitate the shipping of orders with minimal human involvement, meaning your employees can spend time working on tasks that have a bigger impact on your business.

How Much Does an Inventory Management Software Cost?

When it comes to choosing an inventory management software, one of the biggest concerns businesses have is cost.

A common misconception is that all inventory management software is expensive and really only feasible for large corporations with huge amounts of money to spend.This is incorrect.

There’s never been a better time to start exploring inventory management systems than right now. As technology has advanced and the market for these products expanded, there are more options to consider than ever before.

We’ll go into more details about the exact costs of adding a suite of inventory management tools in our eBook, but the key takeaway here is that IMS is affordable no matter what your budget or needs are. There’s a solution out there to fit almost every business, it’s simply a matter of determining what you need from your inventory management software, scheduling demos of products, and selecting the solution that’s right for you.

Ready to scale your business with an IMS?
Download the IMS for Beginner's Guide to get started.
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While there is some truth to the old adage “you get what you pay for,” many inventory management software solutions pay for themselves in short order by helping you reduce carrying costs on unnecessary stock, eliminating mistakes in ordering and shipping, as well as other key areas.

When looking at inventory management systems in a cost vs. return scenario, many companies discover that their IMS investment is relatively low compared to other tools they use to run their business.

 

Benefits of Inventory Management Software

Before we wrap things up, we’d like to highlight some of the benefits of inventory management software so you have a better understanding of how this technology can make an immediate impact on your business.


Centralization

An IMS system will help you manage your inventory and supply chain across multiple locations and around the globe.

By using inventory management software, you’ll be able to take a bird’s eye view of your warehouses and distribution center(s) from anywhere. You can also dig down to a granular level of detail if you’re interested in seeing how one item or location is performing.

Rather than have to manage inventory in a variety of locations and many different vendors and supply chains, an IMS can centralize all of your inventory into one easy-to-use solution.


Simplification

Beyond centralizing your inventory management, an IMS will also simplify the process of managing your stock.

By removing the need to manually count and track items or regularly conduct time consuming physical counts, your inventory management will become much more manageable, freeing you and your employees to focus on things that will actually grow your business like marketing and sales.


Automation

Much of the simplification in the previous bullet point comes from an IMS automating large portions of your inventory management process.

With barcode and RFID scanning, automatic reordering, and other automation tools, your warehouse management will require less human involvement. As an added bonus, the automation increases accuracy in fulfilling orders, thereby lowering return rates.


Better Forecasting

The wealth of data you can glean from studying the analytics information housed in your inventory management system is worth its weight in gold.

Understanding your inventory analytics on a granular level will help you with demand forecasting for future purchase decisions, and potentially help you spot opportunities to maximize growth and revenue.


Reporting and Forecasting

Inventory management software will give you greater insight into all aspects of your warehouse operation. Detailed reporting allows you to see issues and correct them to better forecast for the future so you’re not losing money by carrying too many or too few products.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of inventory management software, be sure to check out our full eBook!

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If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of inventory management software, be sure to check out our full eBook!