Success of a retail business is not only defined by the amount of hard work its owner and employees have poured on. It also requires efficient execution of many processes including the supervision and tracking of inventories. Years back, business owners, especially the starters, used to be skeptical about investing in information systems to support business processes. To some, it was an unnecessary investment and paying for something they can do business without was just a waste of resource. But this point of view has changed over time.
Because of the continuous advancement of technology, how people do things has improved and this has impacted all sectors in the market. Nowadays, in the retail industry, systems like inventory management software are already considered an essential contributor not just to maintain business stability but more importantly to remain active in the competition.
Inventory Management Software – Discussed
Inventory management software is an information system that features an automated tracking of inventory levels, sales, orders, and deliveries. The manufacturing industry also uses this software for their work order creation and management, material billing, and other production-related reports. A standard inventory management software, either web-based, mobile or desktop supported, is generous in terms of features and functionalities but the more expensive ones usually offer advanced features that can already do forecasting of sales and demands, and all other reports. In general, this system is designed to facilitate a more profound, convenient, and accurate approach of managing stocks and a reliable guide for inventory-related decisions. When utilized right, critical issues like stock loss or mismanagement can be constantly prevented.
Below are how it can specifically benefit your retail business:
- Centralized, Space-Saving Storage of Records. The traditional inventory management approach would include hundreds of logbooks and piles of documents stored in a file cabinet for recording purposes. This manual approach is not only tedious and error-prone, it can also consume space that may be used for more important stuff. But with an inventory management software, all recordings will be automated and stored on a virtual, centralized storage. Programmatically speaking, the back-end design of this storage can manage huge sizes of data and can already cater fast and accurate extraction of records, making it easier to answer customer queries about order statuses, deliveries, and more.
Additionally, with the help of this feature, monitoring inventories will be made more convenient; place or time will no longer be an issue. Even if you are in the middle of a vacation or you are out of town, you can always be delegated the right to freely access your inventory records as long as you are connected to the web.
- Automation of Inventory Processes. Manning the inventories without any automated support is undeniably time consuming but unfortunately, the hard work does not guarantee data accuracy. An inventory management software provides an efficient and more productive solution to this. It automates all inventory processes, allowing the staff to work on other things instead that can contribute to the growth of business.
- Timely Reporting. Inventory reports used to take days to complete. But with a good inventory system, this problem is eradicated. Inventory management software provide accurate reports at a timely schedule to facilitate in periodic decision making. With just a few clicks, you’ll get instant access to reports showing figures about inventory records, sales performance, orders fulfilled and pending, and a lot more. Depending on the program’s advancement, you can simply utilize the reporting feature or you can instead set a periodical schedule that will be the basis for reports generation. This helps ensure that all your undertakings in the business are appropriate and necessary.
- Reliable Stock Monitoring. Standard inventory management includes updating of records in a timely manner to produce a real time data monitoring of stock purchases and sales. Failure to do this may increase the likelihood of overstocking, overselling, or stock-outs which may draw loyal customers away. Inventory management software features a paperless, easy-to-use automated facility for this. Depending on the inputted data, it will prompt an alert when stock levels have reached their reordering points. It will also show which items have been selling fast to prompt the business owner to restock as necessary. Premium inventory management software packages include extra features like fast inventory display, label and receipts printing, automatic order dispatching, and automatic updating of stockyards.
- Easily Integrate-able. Inventory management software is just one of the few essential software a retail business may need. Other software like point of sale are important too. The good news is, most inventory management software can be easily integrated with other software, more so with office systems like ERP and accounting which uses the same data. Their providers have already anticipated such an issue and have addressed this even before inventory systems got popular.
- Increased Profitability. An inventory management system features reporting that can guide and thus help the management reduce expenses from unnecessary stocking. It also embeds proper warehousing standards like the use of LIFO or FIFO in stocks. As the inventory processes are finally automated, management of stocks no longer consume as much time and this allows the staff to work on other important matters that were previously outsourced. An inventory management software may be a pricy investment but with the cost-efficient and economical solution it offers, it is truly worth it.
- More Efficient Workforce. Depending on the advancement of the software, it can look into how the daily tasks are handled and may provide a notification alerting the owner about the areas that may need more or less staff. It may also feature an error monitoring facility that highlights both types of the group: the efficient and error-free employees, and those who have been frequently committing errors in their job.
- Enhanced Security. The manual inventory recording included physical cabinets containing piles of log books and documents. These were easily accessible then. Thankfully, the advent of inventory management systems has paved the way for a proper user control which means employees are required to use their own accounts when transacting. This facilitates an audit trail which enhances and even strengthens security of records and decreases the likelihood of theft or other dishonesty incidents. Also, managers and owners are usually given an admin access wherein they can look over all the processes, check and approve necessary transactions, and view reports that can set as an important factor to consider for their decision-making.
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction. This is true especially if you are using a web-based inventory management system that can further facilitate transactions online. A good system will help your online store respond to orders and queries quickly and accurately.
- It is a one-time investment solution. The automation of all inventory processes has streamlined the entire inventory management but there are more advanced inventory software that go the extra mile offering a one-time investment solution for everything inventory related. They feature automation of the selling process from product listing, ordering, up to invoice printing, and timely updating of order statuses, and can also automate and streamline shipping management, listing management, and order management processes.