When it comes to choosing an Inventory management system (IMS). It is important to know what features you should look for in an Inventory Management System. Different solutions have different feature sets, and not all of them are relevant to your system. On the hand, a lot of solutions promise the world but don’t always deliver.
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:
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.
It is the process of selling a product or service directly to customers, which is mostly done in a brick and mortar store. So this would mean you need a point of sale (POS) to connect to your IMS. This is an important feature if you have a retail store, and an online store.
A Wholesale business is selling of products to business or outlets but not directly to the consumer or user of the product. A good feature to have is a B2B interface with your IMS. As a wholesaler, 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. Again only relevant if you have a wholesale branch to your business. If you do, this is a must-have feature!
This is the selling of products through the different digital platforms available. This might be Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommere, Magento or might be a completely bespoke website. Can your IMS connect and keep track of orders, and update stock on hand in realtime? This is a very important feature of an inventory management system, if you are running an e-commerce business.
Is the transfer of important information from one company to another company digitally. It allows a fast way of doing business. This feature is if you are dealing with large department stores, like MYERS, David Jones, Coles, Woolworths, Bunnings, etc. These large retailers communicate directly with your Inventory management system and is a key feature that you would need if your major customers are large retail. If you want to no more about EDI, check this article out.
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. Important to know how you want to cost your stock, most systems can do this.
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. Not all systems can do FIFO costing, so it is important to investigate this if it is important to you. For some businesses this is a must-have, for others not so much.
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. Not all Inventory management systems have this feature or do it well, in our experience the best in the industry is Locate Inventory.
This is processing, fabrication, assembly, or disassembly of your products takes place, wherein it usually produces smaller items. A lot of different solutions have light manufacturing, and use builds to run production. However, some solutions are better suited to different industries. It is a key feature that is not always what it promises to be. So it is important to thoroughly understand your process so that you can ensure that the system covers your needs.
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. This is a very important feature if you are an importer of goods. To get true costings of your goods, you need to understand and be able to allocate correctly your landing costs.
A lot of systems have this feature, however, not all of them cover all the different valuation methods, ie value, weight and cubic metres. The key takeaway is understanding the best valuation method for your business, and if the system can actually do it. Most Inventory management systems only use the value method to allocate costs.
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.
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 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..
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.
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 book directly here.