Inventory Management Systems: Must have Features and Potential Downsides

Without an inventory management system in place, crucial tasks such as tracking shipment whereabouts, tracking product level purchase sales stocks orders, scanning the barcode, and much more will be impossible. 

Inventory management software is very crucial for businesses that are involved in selling products to their consumers. The system automatically keeps track of all the items you sell and can also restock any item before running out. But there are plenty of options available in the inventory system. Let’s see some of the features of the inventory management tool.

Features of an Inventory Management Systems

Here are few major benefits we see in your Inventory Management Systems:

Automatic Inventory restocking

If a key part of the product is running low, you don’t want to wait until the item is out of stock. Some inventory management system software includes the ability to set up automatic restocking of products. You can set a limit on how many of each item you want to order at a time. Once the current stock falls below the limit, the inventory system automatically places an order with your vendor.

This feature removes the guesswork required and automatically reorders as soon as you are out of stock.

Barcode and Tagging

Using a barcode system helps you eliminate standard human errors, resulting from handling data manually. Scanning barcodes provides fast and reliable solutions. As a result, you save ample time spent entering data manually. Using a barcode system also reduces an employee’s training time as the barcode system requires no more than a few minutes to master. If we talk about traditional ways, it takes a lot of time and effort to train a new employee to record product details. 

Barcoding not only improves control over your inventory but also tracks things such as pricing and product details precisely.

Scalability

When you first choose an inventory system, you might get by with a basic low-cost option. But as your business grows, your tech has to expand to keep up with the demand. If you can’t upgrade your current system, then you and your workforce will need to learn a new system in the future.

Common features for small businesses include adding multiple locations, new product lines, or allowing for more users in the system. It is worth checking whether your current system will allow you the tools you need for expanding.

Data security

Large hosting providers have far more resources to offer monitoring and security compared to small and medium-sized providers. Therefore when you choose hosting providers for your inventory system, choose widely established and popular ones. 

Oftentimes small to medium-sized providers do not have sufficient hardware configuration to provide system backups and recovery services for large databases. 

Inventory forecasting

You don’t want to disappoint your customers when they try to buy their favorite products, and you do not have that in stock. Forecasting helps you find out which products are going out of stock soon and what’s in abundance. This is a great way to keep your customers happy by providing an excellent user experience. Forecasting gives you many attributes that can help you understand what is in current demand. As a result, you can decide how much to buy and what to buy accurately.

Integration with other systems

Many companies have already installed some kind of ERP system or warehouse management system. In such cases, a new inventory management system can easily be integrated into it and provide you more sophisticated data. 

Some of the popular features you will have in inventory systems, integrating those features with your existing system can provide you with a better result in the long run.

Potential Downsides of an Inventory Management Systems

Here are few downsides that you need to explore and be aware of:

Requirements and customizations

Most inventory tools come with the same level or version and function. Therefore you can’t make any kind of customizations as per your business needs. You should ask the vendors if they provide any sort of custom integrations as per your requirements.

Risks

When you buy a new inventory system, you rely on a provider with a major aspect of your business. If due to some reason, the system goes down and the provider is unable to troubleshoot, then you can potentially lose a lot of money. Are you comfortable with this potential risk?

Training needs

For any new system you implement in your business, there is some amount of training required. For many small companies, providers do not offer onsite training without any additional charges. Some providers do offer remote training, but they can be tedious to set up and take up to a week-long time. Be sure about what you need.

Hosting service competency

If you are using cloud-based software, do some research about the company providing the hosting for your inventory system. It should be reliable enough to offer you regular backups with minimum downtime. So pay attention to whether they provide security monitoring as a part of service or not. 

Author Bio: I am Greg Wilson, a Content Writer working with GoodFirms, a research and review platform for service and software companies. I am passionate about blogging, creative writing, social media, and content marketing. I write blog posts for GoodFirms about eCommerce softwares, Cloud computing, IoT development, and many more such categories.