If you’re looking for a way to organize your business and get a better feel for inventory, tickets, transfers, and shipments, you could benefit from a good inventory management solution. The question is, how do you choose the right software?
What is Inventory Management Software?
You could argue that inventory is the most important asset a company has. Without the proper materials – or adequate levels of materials and ingredients – it’s impossible to fulfill orders and turn a profit. When you’re running a tiny business out of your garage, you can get away with “eyeballing” inventory or tracking with basic spreadsheets. As your business grows, you need a more organized, professional, and accurate way of managing your inventory. Inventory management software is the solution.
“Inventory management software is software designed to track and manage items through various stages along the supply chain,” Software Advice explains. “Features include stock level management, inventory item categorization, sales order and purchase order tracking, barcode scanning, and automatic reorder point purchasing.”
When you shift over to inventory management software, you benefit from improved inventory control, better inventory optimization, reduced reliance on stock takes, and simpler and more accurate accounting. This leads to better synchronization, greater efficiency, and more reliability throughout the entire organization (from sales to marketing to shipping and everything in between).
Tips for Selecting the Right Inventory Management Software
Run a quick search for inventory management software and you’ll find dozens of similar solutions that all make fairly similar promises. Yet, truth be told, only a small handful of them are actually worth considering.
As you begin your search, here are some helpful tips for selecting the right inventory management software for your needs:
- Set a Budget
There’s no sense in considering inventory management software that’s unaffordable for your business. That’s why it’s smart to begin the search with a concrete budget. With these numbers in mind, you can whittle your list down to three to five realistic options.
When setting your budget, you should consider how much you’re comfortable spending, as well as the upper and lower price ranges in the industry. After gathering prices from seven or eight different software companies, you’ll start to get a feel for what the going rates are.
- Consider Scalability
Scalability is a huge factor with inventory management software. You’re obviously planning on growing, so you need a system that will scale with you.
There are two factors to think about with scalability. The first factor is whether or not the software will work when your business reaches a certain growth level. (The last thing you want is to have to switch systems when your business takes off.)
The second factor is pricing. If you dig in and read the fine print, you’ll find that most tools offer free options to start, but then require high up-front costs and expensive ongoing fees. There are exceptions, however. For example, Skyware Inventory is free for one user and then just $3 per month for each additional user.
- Evaluate the Features
You’ll find that most inventory management systems have very similar features, but it’s worth studying each system and what they offer. At the very least, you’ll want things like inventory tracking, orders and invoicing management, warehouse management, customer relationship management, batch tracking, barcoding, reporting tools, price lists, and demand forecasting. It’s also helpful to have integrations with other business software that you may have in your tech stack (like accounting, shipping, POS, ecommerce, etc.).
- Ask Around
Finally, don’t forget to research what other businesses and users are saying. Look for online reviews, testimonials, and ratings. Solicit opinions from other business owners you know. Find software review websites where experts have taken the time to review different systems. This will give you a well-rounded and objective view.
Set Your Business Up for Success
Every business has its own unique needs. But if you’re looking for reliable inventory management software that you can use to better optimize inventory, enhance synchronization, improve efficiency, and instill greater reliability throughout your organization, you’d be wise to begin your search with these tips in mind.
It may take some time to vet all of your options, but you’ll be glad you did.