4 Features of a Great Inventory Management System
An advanced inventory management product that is also flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of your growing business is the backbone of an efficient inventory control process. If you’re looking to upgrade your stock and related processes, it would not be a mistake to invest in a technologically superior system that is equipped with essential features that make inventory management a breeze for businesses such as yours.
Here are four must-haves features to look for when buying inventory management software for your company.
Real-time tracking of inventory levels across locations
The main reason why any modern business invests in an advanced inventory management product is to be able to use technology and real-time data to track inventory across locations. The system shows you the goods coming in and current quantities, and it also flags low inventory in each category.
A great stock control system is one that can be tweaked to suit the specific needs of your business. From barcoding, RFID and batch management to serial number tracking, a good product will have a host of different features to facilitate high-level inventory control at all your premises.
To ensure seamless and hassle-free implementation, ensure that the system you intend to purchase has all the features essential for your inventory processes.
Scope for growth and scaling
You may be a budding startup or small business today, but it’s only a matter of time before your inventory needs increase manifold and a small-scale stock management system that was serving you well until now can no longer function efficiently. Therefore, it is essential to take into account your future growth and scalability when shopping for technology solutions for your business.
Does the system have the capability to scale to handle large volumes you might have a year down the line? Is it designed to adapt as your operations expand to more than one location and as more users are added? Installing an advanced inventory management system and training your employees to use it efficiently is a time- and cost-intensive task. Therefore, it does not make economic sense to buy an inexpensive, subgrade system now only to have to upgrade it a couple of years later.
Automation of sub-processes within the system
When you start researching stock management systems, you’ll find plenty of options at various price points to suit every budget, scale of operations, and need. If you spend enough time understanding the features of a good system, you’ll figure that some features are essential if you really want to fully automate your inventory control processes, even though the smarter the software, the higher will be its price.
Automation of sub-processes means that the system has the ability, for instance, to generate a purchase request based on past trends and inventory levels. When the inventory for a certain product hits a specified level, the system will create a new purchase order on its own. Of course, your team will need to approve each order before it’s processed. This feature empowers a business to avoid running out of stocks or having excess stock, both of which cause loss of valuable resources.
Other key features that you might look for in an advanced inventory management product include tracking sales and fulfillment, generation of invoices, and CRM (customer relationship management).
Data analysis and real-time reporting
A system without in-built reporting and data analysis are missing a feature indispensable to efficient stock management. Reports allow for greater efficiency and enable drastic improvement in the workflow. Reporting also provides valuable insights into demand and supply for each product, which helps a business get better at planning inventories and predicting sales.
Based on the specific requirements of your business, you may want a system that generates reports such as purchase and sales history, inventory order reports, and so on. Don’t worry if a system you really like does not have the default functionality to generate specific types of reports that are essential for your company. Most modern inventory management software is designed to be tweaked to suit specific business needs—the key is to choose a system that will be able to develop and generate reports needed by your business as the need arises.
To sum up, if you’ve been managing your stocks on Excel and feel that it’s time to take your business processes to the next level, look for software that’s intuitive, affordable and scalable so that you won’t have to hunt for a new inventory management product for a long time to come