You feel the time’s right to purchase an inventory control program. Your business has outgrown spreadsheets, and it’s time you had systems in place which track your inventory. How do you choose the best inventory control system for you? Here are five tips:
- 1. Is it easy for your staff to use?
You don’t want to spend a fortune training your staff to use your new inventory control systems. If possible, use the system for free before committing to it by downloading trial software. How easy is it to use? You don’t want to be spending too much time training new staff, or giving existing staff refresher courses.
- 2. Does it do what you want and nothing more?
You should pay only for those features you need. Anything else is bound to come with a price tag. If you don’t need packing slips, don’t pay for them. You might find barcode scanning speeds up many processes from manufacture through to fulfilment, so this feature should save you money. How many users can access the software? Don’t get caught by discovering too late it’s only single-user. The best inventory control systems alert you when stock is running low, in most cases, worth paying for. Don’t skimp on security either: choose a system that backs up in the cloud.
- 3. Does it integrate with your existing software?
Running into compatibility issues can hit your pocket hard. Your inventory control system should support your accounts package and your PC operating system. Can you afford to replace these if you buy the wrong one? Make sure it supports mobile devices if you need to access your inventory control system from your warehouse.
- 4. Real-time or behind-time?
The best warehouse inventory management systems allow you to track inventory wirelessly from inside the warehouse and obtain real-time data on what’s leaving as it happens. The alternative is a batch data system which synchronizes with office PCs, but this information might be days out. If your business shifts a lot of inventory quickly, especially via intermodal operations through multiple stores, real-time data processing is essential.
- 5. Can it track all your orders through multiple channels?
Seems obvious perhaps but your inventory control system must be able to handle all your orders. It should be able to track your inventory by product serial number or SKU and integrate with all your sales channels across multiple locations. Customizable reports and the ability to categorize orders, is also useful.
An Inventory control program, if carefully selected, is an essential ingredient for the success of your business.