Inventory management has been a practice in warehousing for as long as warehousing existed. This gave ample scientifically-based practices where the modern inventory management software is built upon.
It comes as no surprise that ever since the beginning of computer automation, one of the clamors is to create an application to manage inventory.
Though not without any complications, inventory management is as straightforward as they come, it is thus a favorite not only among computer science majors for their thesis projects but as well as a real business opportunity for tech companies.
Business is a living breathing thing. The best way to grow it is only by injecting more investment into it. But you should be wary about the kinds of investments that you pump into it. You should pick smart investments.
And to know if a value is smart, you should try to project the value that this investment is providing you. As a guide, if the investment is giving you just a nominal amount from the amount that you put in then it is a bad investment.
A good investment would give you a chunk of your money back as soon as possible. Smart investments however are in a league of their own. These are the kinds of investments that not only can be felt across the business but will give back value to you in several folds. Inventory management software can be a smart investment, but you have to know what kind of inventory management system you would need and how you should be using it.
This article will try to teach you the necessary steps into picking, or creating, the perfect inventory management software that will fit your current needs like a glove. It will, not however teach the specifics of warehousing and how it is mapped to the inventory management system functions.
Step 1: Learn your business. What exactly do you need?
Inventory management is as broad as it comes. As an aspect of warehousing, its scope, processes, and functions can vary widely from business to business. Before picking out a pricey inventory management system to bolster your warehouse performance, you should first understand how your current system works.
Look at the pitfalls, the strengths, and the key points. For instance, what kinds of barcodes do you use, or what kind of tracking? These are some of the basic questions that you have to know before even looking for the inventory management that you are going to buy.
The research should not just stop however at the warehouse, you should also consider other aspects such as manpower. Are your staff competent enough to use advanced inventory management techniques, or do they even have the time to use them should they be swamped with other menial tasks?
You should know your customers as well. Customers can be negatively affected by slow inventory management as they can be made to wait forever for orders that may or may not come.
Step 2: You need to know that you need the inventory management software.
This is a vital part of the process of buying inventory management software. Half-hearting the procurement of an inventory management system could spell trouble for your business. You should either buy an inventory management system or any advancement for that matter or just not buy one at all.
These advanced software systems are extremely expensive and buying something that does not fit your business need or is subpar due to the low budget that you have set for it will do you more harm than good.
Step 3: Set aside the budget
After deliberating whether to buy inventory management software or not, the next step is setting aside the money to buy one. This is an important process as the amount of cash needed for a system as specific as this can vary wildly. In choosing an inventory management system, you would want to first take a gander at what the price ranges are based on your need.
For instance, if you are running a fairly common kind of store, then off-the-shelf inventory management software can work for you. They are inexpensive and easier to set up than most. If you have specialized needs, however, you may want to set aside a larger amount because these dedicated systems cost way more than usual.
You would get the exact kind of software you need however with all the custom functions that suit your every need. Do not, however, buy off-the-shelf software and try to make something work for you given your specific needs that do not fit in it. This usually ends badly and you might just be burning money by doing so.
Step 4: Learn the system. Train the staff.
If you have already chosen the inventory management system. The next step is to integrate it into your current setup. If you already own a legacy system, this could be hard work which usually depends on how portable the backend databases from your legacy system are.
If you are migrating from a system made from hard copies, however, then you would have a worse time. If migration is not possible, then you have to be prepared to work with the two systems until all the existing stock is registered in the system or the old data from the legacy system is naturally overwritten.
Another aspect that you have to prepare for is the staff training. Depending on the software company, they could be offering you help for as long as you need it at no cost. These are rare however and they are usually only available through smaller tech companies that are building their name.
If you had to pay, choose the least number of participants and let them focus on one area. They could then just echo everything that they have been taught to the other staff members. This could save you a lot of money and man-hours as well.
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