Most of us have a smartphone close by at all times, which means our next purchase is only ever a few clicks away. Increased online shopping and the expectation of fast delivery has retailers and suppliers scrambling to keep pace. And when it comes to inventory management, time is money.
But inventory suffers from the Goldilocks problem: You need to have just the right amount of stock or you risk losing revenue and/or customers. Not too much, but not too little.
Striking that balance is challenging, but thanks to technology and software innovations your business doesn’t have to rely on manual methods. Automation and digitization—available through inventory management solutions—can save your business significant time.
Whether you're adopting inventory management software for the first time or upgrading your existing tool, look for solutions with the following features to optimize your operations.
A system that offers order management is especially helpful if you make sales via multiple channels (e.g., a website, brick-and-mortar store, over the phone). This feature is crucial to ensuring that as soon as an order is placed, inventory levels are updated and visible to everyone in your business.
Order management capabilities can also help automate orders. Triggering processes when an order is placed means employees will have more time to focus on other aspects of the job.
In addition to managing orders, many inventory management solutions will also take care of reorders. If you have a product that is especially popular, an order management feature can ensure that more items are headed your way before you’re ever out of stock.
If you haven’t done so already, you need to implement barcode and QR code tracking. Tracking inventory manually using data ledgers or physically searching a warehouse to check for items is time-consuming and error-prone, yet of organizations still report using such methods.
Using barcodes along with inventory management software will give you real-time insight into everything you have in your inventory. This might sound like a nice-to-have rather than a must-have feature, but the amount of time this saves you, your employees, and your business can’t be ignored.
The more accurate your inventory, the less likely that you’ll over-order and have to sell at a discount, or run out of stock and miss out on potential sales. With just a few changes to your production processes, your business can reap tremendous benefits.
With the help of inventory management solutions you’ll be able to analyze these trends to avoid losing sales by underestimating stock levels or spending on inventory you don’t need.
Forecasts go beyond inventory by helping you run a more efficient operation overall. Accurate forecasting improves scheduling and reduces the number of surprises you encounter. Managers will also be able to make strategy decisions faster with better results.