Your business is starting to take off and sales are growing, but you now have a new challenge: tracking inventory. At some point, midsized or small business inventory systems may become necessary. Here are four questions to answer before you decide on a vendor's solution.
1. Are your manual inventory processes working?
Many companies may find that their manual inventory processes, such as tracking by hand or on spreadsheets, are cumbersome and prone to errors. Midsized and small business inventory systems help facilitate improved visibility for activities such as tracking orders, shipping stock and determining associated costs. With this information, companies may be able to better analyze sales, reduce errors, optimize labor hours and make better informed decisions. The proper system can help you be more efficient in these areas.
2. What do you want the inventory system to do?
The next step is to determine what your small business needs from an inventory system. You can start by determining key areas where your business needs help, such as tracking supplies, monitoring reorder levels and maintaining lists of serial numbers or barcodes for specific assets, such as company computers.
For instance, you may find that your company is losing sales due to low stock availability. In this case, small business inventory systems can help by enabling the visibility that your company needs to optimize the supply of products. According to Aberdeen Group research, industry leaders experience a decrease in the frequency of out-of-stock inventory by 7.5 percent with updated inventory management practices.
Once you gain an understanding of your business requirements and reporting needs, you will be heading in the right direction to begin researching the various vendor solutions on the market.
3. What is the learning curve?
Consider the amount of training necessary before the solution can be implemented as an effective tool for your business. You may want to take advantage of a free trial, if available, to determine your training needs. This is also an opportunity to ascertain whether the solution offers the right amount of technical support for the size of your business. Mobile, cloud or on-site small business inventory systems are available, but due diligence is always necessary to help ensure the best strategic fit.
4. Does it integrate?
Sometimes integration can be an issue when implementing a new system. Therefore, you will need to determine if the inventory management software can function alongside operating systems and accounting software that are currently in use. Wireless infrastructure is also important if you decide that a mobile inventory system is required for your business.
Overall, small business inventory systems create the visibility needed to streamline operations, which may be beneficial down the road, helping to create cost-saving opportunities that may improve your business's bottom line.
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