What Is an Inventory Management System, and What Features Do You Need
Being better at tracking the stuff you have is a great way to make more money.
When you track your products, you can predict how much you’ll sell in the future, find them faster for your customers, and reorder before you run out of product. How novel!
One of the best ways to do all that tracking, predicting, and reordering is to use an inventory management system. Today, we’ll look at what that means, what features to be on the lookout for, and what you can accomplish with a good system in place.
Every business is different, and so are their inventory processes. There are many features of inventory management systems that you can use to be more efficient. Here are six inventory features you should have:
- Inventory Tracking
The main focus of this system is to be able to track your inventory levels. You can see what you’re receiving, filling orders, and when you need to order more. It’s important to make sure that your system is able to track your inventory the way you need it to. There are inventory features you can use for tracking. To list a few, kitting, barcodes, lot or batch control, RFID tags, serialization and more. All of these inventory features can help you stay on track. But, not all systems have the same tracking capabilities. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that the what you choose has what you need.
- Security and Backups
Are you sure that your inventory management system is secure? Regardless if it is on the cloud or a local installation, there should be security measures put in place. After all, you want to protect your data from theft or hacking. Loss of data can harm your workflow and be very costly for your business. To keep your data safe and private, your software should have top notch security. In addition, your system should provide you with the security of daily back-ups. In the case you do experience a loss of data, you can quickly get back on track.
Whether you’re small or large, your inventory management system should have room to grow. In other words, your choice should be scalable. Make sure it can handle a larger capacity of inventory, more users, and upgrades. Investing in this type of system will pay off in the long run. If you change inventory systems, you’ll have to retrain staff and rework the current workflow. This will throw off your inventory operations. Switching systems each time your company expands is costly. Planning for the future will make managing your inventory a lot smoother down the road. Just because it isn’t a problem now doesn’t mean it won’t be later.
Right now, you may not be ready to integrate your inventory management system with other software. But as your business grows, this will become more critical. You may eventually need multiple systems to manage your operations. Integrating is key in order to have a seamless flow of info. Make sure that your data is the same across systems. Common examples are between inventory management, CRM, ERP, ecommerce, and accounting software. Integrating has many benefits such as eliminating manual data entry and real-time updates. Also, it will allow for visibility and will increase overall customer satisfaction.
- Automatic Replenishment
This is the process of your system automatically creating purchase orders based on your reorder points. When your stock reaches its min level, it will generate orders with the correct quantities for each item. Once these orders have been created, they will be approved and then the items will be shipped. This feature is a must-have so you can stay on top of your inventory. Be sure you can eliminate stock outs and overstocks.
Reporting is a critical feature to have in inventory management. Reports will help you increase your efficiency and create a seamless workflow. They can show you data of product supply and demand. This can show you how much inventory you need and where you need it. You can see which products are more profitable and can also discover sales trends. Some common reports include transaction reports, order history and inventory totals. There are many different types of reports, and some may be more vital to you than others. Identify what your company needs for your inventory processes. No matter which reports you choose, it’s important to have a system that has or can develop the reports that your company needs to stay competitive.