2018 has just started, and many small business owners hope this will be their year. If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of those small business owners. Everyone knows that it is not easy to get that long-awaited breakthrough that finally gives your company a boost and put it where she belongs.
Sometimes you know there is room for improvement, but you simply can’t decide where to begin. Should you change to a supplier that is quicker in deliveries? Should you improve the efficiency of warehouse processes? How about dealing with invoices, receipts, and accounting? Perhaps you’ve thought about expanding to the online channels, but the logistics are too much for you to handle.
If there is one single thing you can improve that touches all of the aspects we’ve mentioned, it has to be your inventory management system. You just have to choose the right one. Let’s take a look at some of the features you have to look for in your new inventory management software.
- Integration with Multiple Channels
Obviously, every business owner would like to deliver their service through several online and mobile platforms. However, this is easier said than done. And we’re not just talking about the initial effort to be operational in these mediums. The problem lies in managing sales, orders, and inventory afterward. If you don’t have a reliable way to manage all the data, you can end up placing duplicated orders or allowing orders for products that went out of stock.
That’s why an inventory management system that integrates with e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Shopify or Magento is essential. It can simplify all the administrative processes by syncing data between all these platforms into one central place.
We’re talking about e-commerce platforms, but clearly, brick and mortar stores are still alive and well. Besides online channels, your system may also integrate with your POS system, and other sales mediums you can think of. This capability will give you knowledge of when a product is truly out of stock.
- Real-Time Stock Updates
Considering we’re in 2018, this is almost a must-have. Traveling back and forth with Excel spreadsheets, or what have you, and manually synchronizing data is unthinkable. A modern inventory management system updates your stock levels instantly as soon as a sale order is placed. This improves the overall efficiency and speed of your service.
- Automatic Supplier Orders
Having to monitor each product’s stocks yourself can be a true hassle. If you let stocks reach zero, you’ll have nothing to sell until a new shipment arrives. And shipments are subject to delays and mishaps, which can really hurt your business in these circumstances. You’ll then complain to your supplier, and may or may not damage your work relationship, even though they are just trying to do their job.
Nowadays, you can automatically refill stocks with your inventory management software. As soon as stock for a given product reaches a threshold set by you, it can automatically place a new order for your supplier. This allows the new batch to arrive timely before you run out of stock. Not bad, huh?
- Barcode Integration
Barcodes have been used for a long time now, but they don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. If your inventory management system supports barcode scanning, it can allow you to track product movements in the warehouse more easily. This can reduce the risk of robbery, as well as human errors that lead to inconsistent data at the end of the year, or whenever a warehouse audit is performed.
- Accounting Integration
If you can get an inventory management system that integrates with accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero, don’t hesitate. It makes no sense to manually add an accounting entry every time you make a sale. This is hard enough if you only have a physical store, now imagine doing it with several e-commerce platforms.
A modern system can add an accounting entry automatically whenever a transaction occurs. It can also manage separate sales locations and multiple payments. That’s the kind of service you would expect in 2018.
If you think our topics make sense, we’d like to leave you with a final recommendation. There are many systems out there, but DataQlick is surely one of the best. It checks all the boxes on this list and has even more functionalities. Be sure to check it out!