What Is Inventory Management Software?
You run a warehouse. Or you manufacture your own items. Either way, you have a lot of product with a need to keep track of it somehow. Maybe right now you are using a spreadsheet. Maybe you use an old notebook or ledger. Whatever you’re doing, it has gotten more and more difficult as the years go on, and the time has come for a serious upgrade.
That’s where online inventory software comes in. More than just simple ways to track your products, these powerful inventory tools are capable of tracking your customers, your vendors, even creating purchase orders and invoices. While software like this is often not cheap, it usually pays for itself with increased efficiency.
But how to choose? What to look for? Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out everything on your own. Here at Merchant Maverick, we have done a bunch of the work for you. To learn more, read on.
How Can Inventory Software Help Your Business?
Some inventory software is capable of simply that: tracking inventory. Other solutions, though, carry over into purchasing and sales as well. All can be helpful, from the most simple to the extremely complex. Here are a couple of ways inventory software can be beneficial:
- Inventory Management: You will have to decide for yourself whether you will track items by name or number, but most software programs can do both. Some allow you to upload images of your various products, which may be a useful option depending on your industry.
- Sales Management: I want to emphasize right out of the gate that not all inventory software offers this type of feature. Sales management tools go beyond simple inventory tracking, allowing you to keep track of your customers and quickly generate invoices and sales reports for them.
- Purchase Management: As with sales management, not all inventory software includes this sort of thing. Purchase management features allow you to keep track of all your suppliers. More than that, though, some inventory software programs will either remind you when your stocks get low or even automatically order more if you choose.
Common Features to Look For:
All kinds of industries stock inventory and different businesses will have different requirements of an inventory tool. Fortunately, there are a slew of options out there, all offering a slightly different list of features. There are a few things that most programs will have in common, though:
- Low stock alerts: As I mentioned above, some inventory software providers notify you when stocks of your various items get low. There are obvious uses for such a feature: you get to decide what your thresholds are, so in theory, you will never run out of stock again.
- Purchase order generator: Sick of writing your own POs? Fortunately, most providers will automatically create purchase orders and invoices. If that’s the kind of thing you are interested in, keep your eye out for this feature.
- Reports: While you probably have ideas about which of your products sell best, the reports that come with most inventory software programs are capable of going much deeper into the economics of your business, showing you your best performers and your worst.
- Inventory Organization: Depending on your industry, you may need more or less complexity in your inventory organization. Whether you need categories, unique tags images, or other sorting methods, there is a service out there that will have what you need.
How Much Will It Cost?
I have come across a pretty wide spectrum of pricing in my time reviewing inventory software. There are a variety of factors that can affect your bottom line, including:
- Complexity: As I have mentioned before, some inventory programs are more complicated than others
- Multiple Warehouses: If you have more than one location, it will be best if you can separate the different warehouses in your inventory software. This feature often increases the price of software, with different providers increasing the price with each additional warehouse.
Choosing Specific Inventory Software
Now that you have some idea what inventory software is, which features to look for, and how much a system might cost, it’s time to get specific. At Merchant Maverick, we’ve spent countless hours researching and testing the best inventory management programs on the market.