Often used in industrial, manufacturing and whole/resale organizations, inventory management software enables users to manage stock. Inventory management applications help warehouse managers streamline automated purchasing, stock level reporting and order management (through GPS tracking, low stock level notifications or barcode support). Advanced solutions include features like multi-warehouse support, real time GPS data and support for group/bulk purchasing. Inventory management software can also assist with product and category management, automate cost calculation and often integrates with product information management and supply chain management systems (ERP, SCP, WMS, etc.). Read the full software guide...
Inventory management software is a solution designed to help users monitor and manage stocks, materials and items in different stages across the supply chain.
With this software solution, businesses can closely monitor inventory levels, sales processes, purchase orders and deliverables. Inventory systems may also be used for generating production-related documents and records, including work orders and bill of materials. Most businesses and organizations rely on this type of software to avoid stock outages and overstocking.
An inventory management system offers business owners and managers a more efficient way to organize and track inventory information than more conventional methods.
For businesses in manufacturing and distribution, inventory software solutions may resemble a system they’re already using, which is distribution software. Inventory solutions also help with cost savings by ensuring a healthy balance between supply and demand, giving them a noticeable advantage over the competition.
There are different types of inventory management software, all of which are capable of performing a wide variety of tasks.
This type of software can be used in two different ways; either locally hosted on existing infrastructure or deployed as a cloud-based service. Most providers of this software will offer a subscription-based service, often known as a SaaS solution, with different price tiers ranging in features and sizes available for businesses to choose from.
As the solution is hosted on the service provider’s cloud service, all you need is an internet-capable device and a stable connection to access the platform via a web browser or mobile device.
The best part about cloud-based solutions is that you don’t need to download or install any software to use it. You also don’t have to worry about system updates or maintenance procedures since they are all handled by the service provider.
Client server-based or premise-based HR software is normally more robust and faster when compared to the other options available on this list. This is mainly because client server-based software is installed on-premise and the documents are stored locally in the client’s server.
On-premise HR software solutions are individually installed in company computers and operate within the organization’s local network and servers. While premise-based solutions are inherently more secure, many businesses find this deployment method difficult to manage and maintain due to ongoing maintenance and infrastructure.
The software can also be categorized by how the business will use it:
This type of inventory management software solution is not the most efficient or advanced but is a decent starting point for any small business looking to move their inventory management operation from conventional methods to digital. Manual inventory solutions are relatively simple to use and they are designed mostly to help with ordering and to track inventory of similar products on a limited basis.
Arguably a user-friendly system, manual inventory solutions still rely on users to enter the right formula when it comes to complex calculations. Unfortunately, this means man-made errors are still somewhat common and may cause inaccurate outputs.
This type of software allows manufacturers, distributors and retailers to process bigger inventories and collect stock data directly from a point of sale (POS) system. For an incoming inventory, the system will instantly update stock levels through real-time tracking and automation features.
Most inventory management software solutions nowadays offer barcode scanning capabilities as an integrated feature or an add-on module. This means there is no need for you to get a standalone barcode scanning system unless it is to integrate with an existing inventory software solution with no scanning capabilities.
RFID technology is one of the more reliable options available and offers the biggest guarantee when it comes to the efficiency and productivity of your inventory management operation.
This type of inventory management system automates warehouse control on both ends and is the ideal management software for global retailers and larger enterprises that deal with huge volumes of orders on a daily basis.
RFID systems work by placing fixed tax readers on products to follow the movement of inventory across multiple channels, thereby removing the need or the idea of controlling several warehouses all at the same time.
RFID technology is more expensive and complex than traditional inventory management options, especially for smaller developing businesses and startups.
Product identification and categorization is one of the core functions of inventory software. With it, you will be able to move inventory across multiple channels and groups. This will make item searches way easier and more convenient as they can be categorized by name, item type, date, price, supplier, popularity/demand and many other unique filters.
Automated ordering and order management are also common features in most inventory systems available today. With order management, retailers can effectively manage their sales order and purchases under a single centralized platform.
When choosing the right software for your business, it’s important to consider these key factors to help you find the right management software for your business:
Flexibility and scalability are two of the most important characteristics of a good inventory management system, especially for business owners with future growth and expansion planned.
If your business is only warehousing a few products and running a small team of employees, opting for a high-tier inventory software solution may not be that cost-effective. Having an inventory system that has enough features and capabilities to address your basic needs right now is good, but it’s better if it has the ability to scale to match the needs and demands of your small business.
Seamless integration is crucial to any software product, including inventory systems. While inventory management solutions may not include a CRM, there is a possibility you might need that option when engaging with customers during the tracking process.
Inventory software that provides quality management of customer relationships can help boost customer satisfaction by giving your customers personalized access to information regarding their purchase orders. You may give regular updates and/or real-time tracking of orders. You can also respond to queries much faster, ensuring better quality service.
Some solutions offer excellent, round-the-clock operations support at a low cost. Where logistics-related matters are concerned, it goes without saying customer support is a crucial aspect. Having a solid support system for the software you’re using ensures you can recover from any issues that may encounter.
Inventory management software solutions are equipped with effective filters for various categories such as type, name, date and supplier. They also allow users to quickly sift through different merchandise categories.
There are various aspects of order management that companies should look into when buying software. A quality inventory management system will seamlessly perform key functions such as sales/purchase management, order tracking and invoicing.
You should also check the degree of automation where order management is concerned. A system with an excellent automation scheme will streamline the tasks of warehouse managers, ensuring more efficient process flows.
The inventory management system should not be limited to tracking the movement of products among warehouses. It should also provide adequate service to deal with the optimization of the volume of stocks within the operations. It should also be able to do automated calculations when determining optimal stocking levels and reordering points.
A program with distribution planning systems also allows the company to balance the supply and demand across the market of the business.
Inventory management systems allow members of a warehousing project team to keep track of necessary information updates regarding stocks.
By treating information as such and providing an update on these changes the management, full control is given to them even with most of their processes being automated ones.
There are many benefits to using inventory management software for all sizes and industries, including:
When using inventory management software, users can experience how easy it is to use and navigate through. The learning curve in any cloud-based software is inherently minimal, especially when the user already has the basics nailed down. Staff can be trained on these platforms quickly and easily and notice an improvement in overall productivity and efficiency.
Compared to conventional methods of inventory management, using the software can save teams and businesses extensive amounts of time, money and resources.
Document generation is a common feature among different management software solutions, including inventory systems. This allows users to instantly create a variety of documents like invoices, account statements, checks and purchase orders. You may even set the system to automatically generate and send a purchase order to the supplier when your inventory of a specific item depletes to a certain level.
Getting instant insights is one of the biggest benefits of using inventory management software. Most platforms are fully capable of providing real-time reports on a wide variety of data, including the number of items you have left in your inventory, the number of items you have sold so far and which of your products are selling well.
You can also expect a significant improvement to your overall financial performance, supply chain visibility for suppliers and more accurate accounts and financial reporting. Tracking of inventory items will also be easier and more efficient, while incidents regarding missing items and inventory leakage will drastically drop.
Inventory management software is a solution designed for businesses to help users monitor and manage stocks, materials and items in different stages across the supply chain.
When using this type of software, businesses can closely monitor inventory levels, sales processes, purchase orders and deliverables.
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Budgeting||Planning and tracking capabilities for financial budgets and plans often used to manage funds across different departments or for investor / shareholder oversight.|
|Calendar Management||Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.|
|Customer Management||Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Forecasting||Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.|
|Inventory Tracking||Stay on top of inventory levels, to manage the storing, reordering or production of stock items.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Order management||Manage the fulfilment of sales and orders for goods and services.|
|Product Catalog||Allows for the digital catalogization of large amounts of products.|
|SAP Integration||Integrates with common SAP services.|
|Scheduling||Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.|
|Shipping Management||Automate time-consuming shipping issues for goods manufacturers and vendors.|
|Status Notifications||Provide information about overdue returns and outstanding deliverables.|
|Supplier Management||Manage suppliers and purchases required in the day-to-day operation of a business.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
|Warehouse Management||Controls the daily operations of warehouses including shipping, procurement, put-away and the picking of goods.|
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