What Features Should You Look for in an Inventory Management System?

September, 2020
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Are you having problems managing your Inventory? Then it might be time for you to consider getting an Inventory Management System that will make your business processes more efficient. Although, knowing the features of an inventory management system should be also one of your considerations.

Feeling confused looking for the right Inventory Management System to fit your business needs. How will you find the right solution for your business and what features should you consider?

Aside from looking at the features for your business requirements, you should also consider the following:

Sales Channels

An inventory management system allows you to sync all your sales channels and simplify all your processes. For example, you have a brick and mortar store. When the pandemic happened, you had to adapt and establish an online store by using Shopify. Shopify has a very basic built-in inventory management system. Thus, it cannot cope with complex movements of your products. To get an accurate picture of your inventory you will need a full blown inventory management system.

The good thing is if you already are using an cloud-based inventory management system for your physical store, you may integrate it with Shopify so you can get an accurate stock level of your products. This way, it streamlines your processes which help reduce the possible errors that you may encounter. You may be present in one or two of these sales channels where you might find having an Inventory Management System is beneficial for you.

Retail

It is the process of selling a product or service directly to customers, which is mostly done in a brick and mortar store.

B2B/Wholesale

A Wholesale business is selling of products to business or outlets but not directly to the consumer or user of the product. As a wholesale, you would need to manage multiple suppliers and numerous customers which makes it quite complicated. That is why, having an inventory management system is essential to a wholesale business aspiring for long-term success and profitability.

eCommerce

This is the selling of products through the different digital platforms available. The orders directly take place online and the product is shipped directly to the customer. There are quite a few platforms you can use to engage customers online to further increase your reach for new customers.

EDI

Is the transfer of important information from one company to another company digitally. It allows a fast way of doing business.

Average Cost

The average cost is a method of stock valuation wherein the cost is computed by getting the total inventory value and dividing it by the quantity of the stock-on-hand.

FIFO

First-in, First-out is a method wherein a company older units are documented as sold first. By using this cost valuation method, the oldest unit on hand is calculated as the product cost.

Contract Manufacturing

Is the outsourcing to a third party of the production process. It can mean the production of a component of the product or the finished product itself.

Light Manufacturing

This is processing, fabrication, assembly, or disassembly of your products takes place, wherein it usually produces smaller items.

Landed Cost

It is the cost of the product, the cost of the shipment, and other charges that may be incurred while the product is in-transit until it reaches you.

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Drop Shipping

It is the method of selling products without the need of keeping any stock or warehouse for that matter. The product is delivered directly to the customer directly from the supplier.

Warranty Management

Is the guarantee that the product sold to the customer would perform as expected. Any poor performance or defect would mean either a product replacement or repair. This is usually given to the customer in a limited period of time.

Point of Sale (POS)

This refers to any site where a transaction can be made, whether it is for a service or a product.

Batch/Serial Tracking

Batch tracking is done for a group of products created during a specific period. On the other hand, Serial tracking is a unique identity of a single item. This is an effective way to keep track of your products with expiration dates to keep your stocks fresh.

Having this feature also makes you trace products with ease. If in any case you encounter a defective product, you can easily track and recall the whole batch if necessary or trace a single item.

Barcode and Tagging

Putting a barcode on your products makes it easier for you to monitor your products. These barcodes allow you to quickly identify the product going in and out of your warehouse. Once these are scanned, you can now get information regarding the product such as the stock level in your inventory, lot number, batch number and so much more..

Reporting Tools

Another feature you should look for in an Inventory Management System is a real-time data update that tells you the product status, driver’s whereabouts, order, shipment and much more. You can integrate into your Inventory Management apps various reporting tools and features to carry out the reporting tasks smoothly. With an optimized reporting tool,you will have smooth and flawless communication, reduced common human error and enhanced productivity.

Dashboards

In any inventory management system, the dashboard should be reviewed carefully and identify what data should readily be available once you open the IMS.

Maximizing Inventory and Notification on Stock Levels

This would help you to maintain just the right quantity of inventory for each of your products. This will help prevent you from stocking too much of a product or too less. This comes particularly useful if you are carrying products that are greatly affected by seasonal increase and drop in demand.

Being notified when to order your product, when it reaches the quantity you have set as its minimum threshold would be great for your business. It can help in preventing your product from going out-of-stock. On the other hand, it can also help inform you if a certain product has stayed in your inventory for a certain length of time. That would make you act on the product so it can move it out of your inventory by offering special promotions or discounts.

Manage Multiple Warehouses

When you expand your business, you put up an additional warehouse to hold your products and cater to more customers. Having to maintain several warehouses in different locations could be challenging, especially in maintaining the inventory of each location. You want to have a certain level of stock per location.

Being able to order or even transfer stocks to each of your locations would be a great feature to have to maximize your inventory. It also allows you to minimize the cost of letting a product sit in your warehouse if it can be transferred to another of your location, where that product moves faster.

Cloud-based Software with Real-time updates

Data is particularly important, so much so, that it is good that you can access it anytime you will need it. Having a cloud-based Inventory Management System offers just that. It doesn’t matter where you are in the globe, if you have a connection, you can retrieve the data and review the status of your inventory. It is possible to order from your supplier to prevent your product from going out-of-stock even if you are somewhere else.

Accessibility to your business gives you the opportunity to adapt and be more flexible on how you manage your Inventory.

Adding a new software, sometimes makes you think twice because you are not sure if it will work with what you have. This does not have to be a problem you have to dwell on for too long. Most cloud-based Inventory Management Systems, that are available in the market, can integrate with your existing systems.

All you need is to avail the service of a solutions provider, who can do just that for you. Once your systems are integrated, this would make your processes more efficient and lessen the time you spend on updating the systems you have.

If you want to fully understand what systems can an inventory management system integrate, you may want to click the link to the article below.

There is a wide range of features that an Inventory Management System can provide your business. All of which can help you on how you manage your business. Looking for the right solution for your business is the reason we are here. To know more, you can contact us at www.waoconnect.com

Are you ready to bring that perfect system in your head to life?

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