Are you fed of managing your inventory in an obsolete inventory management software? Do you realize it is time for your business to take the next step to automation? Then consider a new Inventory Management Software.
After a lot of reading on Inventory Management, you are finally at that stage of choosing an Inventory Management software for your business. But how do you choose? What are the considerations?
When managing your inventory, it’s important to maintain a high level of data accuracy so that you can plan your stock purchasing, your warehouse management better. Any mistakes or human errors can have drastic and negative financial effects on your profitability, your ability to track your inventory, demand planning and forecasting. These mistakes can make you purchase more than what is needed, have products run out-of-stock and even delays on the arrival of the product. All of which will lead to customer complaints and poor customer service, this is not what you had in vision for your business.
Inventory Management Software has been developed to support business owners, just like you, to improve their business efficiency and maximize profits. We all know that just like any product, not all Inventory Management Software are made the same. Therefore, there are a lot of variables that you have to consider when choosing your Inventory Management Software.
Here are some of the thoughts that you might want to consider before making that big decision for your business:
1. Know What You Really Need
You must first establish what your business needs, what is important now, and what is going to be important for your business in the future. The investment into your Inventory Management Software, in money and time is critical because this is the operation heart of your business and your warehouse. You should have a complete understanding of all areas of your business. Firstly you need to understand the system that you are already using in your business. These systems may be able to be connected to your inventory management software through integrations.
Choosing an inventory management system is a choice that affects all areas of your business from the sales team, to your warehouse, from the sales department, all the way through to finance. Furthermore, identifying your why’s is also an important element of making a better decision on your inventory management software. Your why’s is your pain point, what problems are you experiencing right now that we need to make sure to solve in your business today and in the future.
We have already mentioned that not all inventory management software is created equal. Many systems look the same on the face of it.if you read the website they all tick the same boxes and say they all do the same thing. But when you get into the nitty gritty detail of how a system works, the workflows, the processes, and what it feels like to yourti
2. Consider Your Budget
Too many times we see businesses make rush decisions on the inventory management software that they use in their business without fully analyzing their needs, their workflows and integrations they require.
The rush decision is not always just based on the choice of the system, but if the system is fully implemented all your staff are not well-trained and don’t know how to use the system to its greatest potential. This can often cause major stresses emotionally and financially on the business.
We can’t say enough that inventory management software is the operational heart of your business. If you are a product selling business, you need to ensure that you have the right stock levels, the right stock coming in and the products you need to service the wants of your customers that are ready to buy from you.
So having just a budget in mind that you want to pay 50/month, 200/month or even 2000/month for your inventory management software may limit the inventory management software that you choose to review as part of your decision making process. It is more important to fully understand exactly what your business needs and what daily life looks like in your business for each of your team members that would be using the system and what they need. Rather than focusing on the budget.
Yes, if business can afford a particular system, then it comes down to reviewing whether it is possible to use that system. But sometimes that system may replace one of the staff rooms that you have because of the automation that it requires.
There are many facets of improvements that an inventory system can make and we can’t stress enough how important it is to understand the needs, workflows, processes, and integrations that your business requires before focusing heavily on your budget. Have an idea of what your business can afford but don’t get caught out thinking that you have to pay a certain price and miss out on inventory management solutions that are useful because of the price.
Good news Cloud-based inventory management software often costs much less than desktop based, old server based inventory management software or ERP systems. If you haven’t made up your mind already, you could save countless hours researching these different solutions and chat to one of our solution providers today, who can help you make a better decision. Contact one of our solution architects today at waoconnect.com who can help you make a better decision.
3. Can Adapt to Your Needs
One of the features you might want to consider, is if the Inventory Management System can be customized to better suit your needs.
At WhichAddOn, we try our best to find the solutions that suit your needs without the need for customization. Often, the systems that require customization can have adverse effects on your business down the track more and more you customize them. Where possible, we will give you a better out of the box solution rather than trying to give you a lesser solution that is able to be customized. You would never know what needs your business might have coming into the future as your business expands and customization might sometimes be required.
It would be frustrating for you if the system you have setup cannot adapt to the changes that your business will go through. However, we recommend using out of the box solutions more than customization when possible.
We completely understand that some businesses are unique. The processes, the needs, and even the connections between your existing systems may not exist natively or have a high demand in the market and you need help in this. That is why at WhichAddOn, we do have a development team who can provide customization. But when you are trying to choose the right
inventory management software in the first place, you want to ensure that the customizations that you require can be covered by the out of the box solution.
4. Seamless Integration with Other Systems
At WhichAddOn, our business started out helping people choose which add-on, software to use to connect to Xero. To build on the functionality that Xero itself did not provide. The Xero ecosystem is a true example of how many software can be connected together to provide a well-rounded solution that can solve many problems in a business.
However, in some cases, you can end up with too many systems. Some other providers in our industry can sometimes suggest up to 8 different software solutions connected together to help manage your business. We do not believe this is always the best case. When you have integrations between systems, there is always a greater risk of having problems between two existing systems no matter how great the integration has been built.
However, when making your choice in your inventory management software it is crucially important to understand the software systems that you already have in your business. The ones that work and the ones that you want to give up through this process of finding an inventory management solution.
A common problem that people encounter when choosing their inventory management software is they want a CRM solution as well as an Inventory Management Solution. Many cloud-based inventory management software do not have highly featured CRM functions like a CRM system does. So when it comes to choosing an Inventory Management Software, if you need a CRM built-in to the system, this is a very important choice you need to make. Systems like Odoo and
Netsuite have fully functioning CRM systems as well as the Inventory Management Software and accounting component, they are ERP systems.
Inventory Management Software like Dear Inventory, Unleashed, Cin7 are Inventory Management Software with very light CRM capabilities and they all rely on Xero, Quickbooks Online, or other accounting systems for their accounting module. Understanding the software systems that you have now and your needs now and into the future is very important. So you
can determine whether the Inventory Management Software you want to use can connect to these solutions.
Most startups nowadays use up to 4 software systems to make their business processes easier.
An Intuit Quickbooks Survey conducted showed that 68 per cent of small businesses use 4 apps on average in solving everyday problems in making their business efficient.
Remember, your Inventory Management Software is the operational heart of your business. Yes, sales, CRM, marketing are all very important parts of growing your business. However, if your Inventory Management Software, your fulfilment and your warehouse operations required to fulfil those sales is not efficient and well managed this can be a letdown for your business. As your business grows, you also want to consider these common integration options:
- Ecommerce – If you are planning to sell your goods online, you will need an online inventory management system to track your inventory as your business grows. If you have multiple sales channels being able to have one Inventory Management System that merges together the sales, manages the stock on hand, and gives you reporting across your entire business and product range is super important. This is where Inventory Management Software is going to benefit an eCommerce business like yours.
- Shipping – As online purposing grows dramatically across the world, having an efficient fulfilment and shipping process is more important than ever. Shipping software like Starshipit, Shippit, or Ship station will save you tons of time. With apps like these, you can automate your order fulfilment process, easily and quickly print labels from the various couriers you use, track the shipment from when it leaves your warehouse all the way to the customer and update your customer throughout the entire shipping process. Shipping software like this also saves time and human error by populating the shipping software with all orders details easily from the Inventory Management Software through integrations.
- Accounting – One of the roadblocks of business owners in achieving work-life balance is having efficient bookkeeping software. There is no longer any need in spending hours manually entering data into your accounting system when there are processes like bank feeds that automatically bring through bank transactions from your bank every night and systems like A2X that can automate the reconciliation process for Amazon and Shopify payouts in minutes. There is so much time saved when connecting your Inventory Management Software to your accounting system from invoicing to chasing data, making payments to suppliers and much more.
Inventory management software varies in their functionality, their cost, and their integrations, as we have discussed above. When a has many features, it can often be complicated for you and your team to learn. However, this is not always the case. Do not assume that cheaper software means more simple software, sometimes it is often just the way the system has been built and by whom. The usability of the software further highlights the need for you to fully understand the workflows, processes, and day to day requirements of your entire team when choosing your Inventory Management Software.
You must understand how things are done in your business now, how they need to be done, and how your team wants it to be done. To ensure there is suitable functionality within the system and there are not going to be any roadblocks along the way.
Further, to choosing your Inventory Management System and its ease of use. You need to ensure that you provide ample time for your team to be trained in the new inventory management system. Have all areas of their day to day and important business tasks. Talk to them before going live with the new system, or you will create undue stress on your team and reduce the productivity of your business as a result. Expert and thoughtful training is much more valuable than people often think.
Having access to quality customer support is also a commonly overlooked aspect of choosing an inventory management system. One of the nightmares that you want to avoid after buying a new system is to be left out in the dark trying to figure out how to do things. Consider a software provider that provides training and 24/7 support that will guide you in traversing the system until you get familiarized with it.
Furthermore, Do not just trust their support guarantee, test it out, ask some questions and see how long it takes for them to respond. Most importantly do not just choose the software based on their support, more often than not we see people choosing software solutions that are not right for their business. Just based on the fact that they had great support from the
sales team prior to making the choice. It is an important aspect to ensure that you have the right support but don’t make support the only reason why you chose the solution. You must take into account everything that we have said above first before the support.
Finding inventory management software is not an easy task. But given all the information you acquired and understanding what features to look for when searching prepares you better than most. The most important task you should not forget is to take time and be strategic in choosing because one small hasty decision you make can make a big impact.
If you want to save hours of time researching and choosing the Inventory Management Software yourself, we can help. At WhichAddon, we provide a free discovery call to help you understand your business and help you draw up the workflow, processes, and day to day requirements of your software. Help you narrow down the list of solutions that will be the right fit for your business.
More often than not, we finished this discovery call with people saying “I wish I had spoken to you a few weeks earlier”. Book in a free discovery call with one of our solutions architects today. Click Here.