Small business inventory management is not a pleasant subject for most small business owners. If that is your case, you know what we are talking about. It is just one of those things that don’t bring you much joy, but you have to do it for the sake of your company.
But this is 2018, and we live in a technological, evolved world. Many simple, yet repetitive tasks can now be automated or done with the help of some sort of software. And inventory management is no exception.
Today, we’re going to see how a modern inventory management system can bring a whole new life to your days of inventory management, and hopefully boost your company’s productivity.
1. Track Your Goods
Most inventory management systems support barcode scanning in order to keep track of every item or SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit) in your warehouse. Barcodes were originally designed for checkout purposes at retail stores, but today they have a wider range of applications.
A good inventory control software allows you not only to monitor goods entering and exiting the warehouse but also keep track of their movements inside the warehouse. This enables a much swifter location of any item and greatly reduces the risk of losing any goods.
2. Synchronize Data in Real Time
The good thing about a system such as this is that it not only tells you where your products are but does this in real-time. If a product is sold or a new batch arrives, that information is updated in the system immediately.
Plus, since the information is centralized, you can access it anywhere and from any terminal with the corresponding mobile inventory app. With data being updated like this, there is no risk of selling something that just went out of stock or reordering a product that has already arrived.
Some systems even allow you to place supplier orders automatically when the stock levels for a product reach a certain minimum level. So unless something happens with the shipment, it is unlikely that you’ll run out of merchandise. This is one less problem for you to worry about.
3. Integrate With E-Commerce Platforms
Many small businesses wish to expand to the online world in hope of making their revenue increase. But the online brings with it a whole new sort of issues and variables to make you lose your sleep.
One of those issues is having to keep track of prices, sales, and inventory levels for every medium you have an activity on. But with a decent inventory management software, this is no longer an issue. Most systems allow you to integrate with several platforms, like Amazon, eBay, Shopify or Magento.
More than keeping track of sales, a good system would let you manage Amazon in a different way that you would Shopify, for example. So you will be able to control prices, discounts, and other sales parameters differently for each platform.
4. Integrate with an Accounting Solution
Just like inventory management systems, accounting solutions also made the life of business managers much easier by automating the process of tracking expenses, sales, and managing receipts.
Still, it can be an inconvenience to have your inventory management software keep track of sales and stocks, but then having to introduce all that information manually in your accounting software.
That is why recent systems integrate with the most popular accounting solutions, such as QuickBooks Online, Xero, or Sage One. Any previous sales information in these accounting platforms can usually be exported to your inventory management system, and vice-versa. The two platforms will then stay in sync, so you don’t have to do everything twice.
5. Forecast Sales
Your products are not all made the same, so some probably sell better than others. More than that, the volume of sales can change during the year, sometimes in a predictable way, and sometimes due to unexpected factors.
Either way, a decent inventory management system will probably include a forecasting tool to help you predict sales for each of your products. These tools analyze past data, if it is available, in order to make the most accurate forecast possible.
This allows you to be prepared for any potential spikes in sales, and order more stock ahead of time if needed.
Are you interested in a system that ticks all of the items we’ve mentioned? There is more than one, but our recommendation goes to DataQlick. You should check it out, as it can give your business the spark it has been missing until now.