OrderWise in February 2021 - v21.02
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Stock control often lies at the root of many business operation dilemmas. As a result, the hunt for the best inventory management software is even more crucial for businesses. In this document, we aim to help provide you with a checklist of things to consider when deciding what is the best inventory software?
From initial supply to final doorstep delivery, tracking your stock can prove vital to your business’ success. To do this accurately, your inventory management software needs several key features so when looking for inventory software you need to be asking yourself the following questions:
For all your business actions to add up, your teams need to work from the same software page. Across warehouse locations and sales channels. You need complete visibility of your business’ inventory data from one source of truth. To avoid a build-up of unnecessary errors, one central solution should work throughout your chain of supply and internal operations. It should keep an ongoing accurate log of your stock management, movements, specifications, and quantities.
Your software needs to have real-time capabilities. However precise your stock data might be, there is no use making impactful business decisions; forecasting, purchasing, or even pushing for that extra sale, if your stock data is out of sync with the times.
In all, out of date inventory information leads to a wider picture of delays, errors, heightened costs and missed opportunities. Data that was accurate years ago, might bear no relation to now if you fail to keep ongoing track of consumer shifts. Stock availability one morning could all be allocated just a few hours later, leaving you unable to cater for demand.
Whether struggling with your accounting figures or your warehouse, having inventory management software that provides live tracking throughout your operations helps to tie all your actions together across your business. Tracking every action as it happens, you can use this data for analytics to fuel informed decision-making for the future.
The best inventory software should also consider your industry requirements. For health and pharmaceutical businesses, for instance, there are strict FMD requirements. The food and beverage industry must keep a firm log of batch, expiry dates and storage requirements for each item to ensure they meet food and hygiene standards. For businesses with high volume returns, such as retail, you need to track quarantined goods for coronavirus regulations.
All these factors must be taken into account when choosing your software. Features such as full serial and batch number traceability, stock discrepancy flagging, and the logging of specific variations against each item can all help with this process.
You can find the best-performing inventory software but, unless it can integrate with the other systems your business uses, along with that of your external partners, it can end up slowing your operations down. Having to manually rekey information across systems only leads to unwanted errors and wasted time. The result – a jam on your business progress, with too many operational backlogs and unwanted extra costs.
Software that provides full integration connects your operations into one automated solution. That’s internal, for everything from your Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP), your Warehouse Management System (WMS) and your specialist accounts software, like Sage or Xero. But also, software that integrates externally, with your couriers and suppliers. Your website and sales team need instant stock availability. Your accounts department need to see the flow of goods for valuations. When you can unify your operations – across systems and staff, your business becomes a well-oiled machine. Every process flows into another automatically, with complete visibility and traceability.
The last thing your business needs is to be thwarted by systems that can’t cope with your success ongoing. Hence, the best inventory management software for your business should be able to scale to your needs. Your systems need to adapt in line with your business as it evolves.
That’s not to say you need to be able to predict exactly where your business is headed. Instead, your software should be flexible enough to cater to whatever change comes your way. You may be ready to add on extra software modules for your departments, such as your accounts or marketing teams. You might even discover you need to manage greater business capacity than before and require new integrations and connectivity.
Whether you need to integrate with new couriers or connect with a new sales channel, your provider needs to be able to stick with your needs long-term. What we can rely upon is that businesses will need to evolve to keep up with the times. Business software needs to match this drive for innovation.
No matter how easy to use your software is, ensuring your provider offers support for your installation and beyond can prove vital to a successful solution. The technology could be first-class but, without the proper application, you may be missing some areas where you could more effectively utilise your tools.
Moreover, if any of your requirements change, you need to be able to contact a support team quickly. They need to understand your business software history and listen to where you wish to take your solution next.
With ongoing support packages, you can get the help you need at just a tap, click, or call away.
Every business has unique software requirements, so there is no “one fits all”. Simply ‘keeping track of your stock’ is merely the tip of the iceberg. The best inventory management software should provide a full toolkit of features that really adds value to your business. Therefore, OrderWise software provides a fully mouldable solution for all your business requirements. With so many dilemmas stemming from inventory management, we place stock control at the heart of our technology.
Whether you need a specific software integration or a specialised industry compliance feature, our developers are eager to craft the perfect solution for you. Learn more about what you can achieve for your business by chatting through your requirements with our experts. You can contact our friendly OrderWise team today via 01522 704083 or visit the Orderwise website to find out more.
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