Why your business needs an inventory management software?

Why your business needs an inventory management software?

A shocking amount of capital is tied up in inventory. Inventory along with accounts receivable and accounts payable has tied up $1.1 trillion in cash – equivalent to 7% of the U.S. GDP. (Source: REL)

In fact, U.S. retailers are currently sitting on about $1.43 in inventory for every $1 of sales they make.

Imagine the effect it will have on your small and medium sized business if you are managing your inventory manually or not managing at all.

As an online retailer, you do not want to tie up additional capital inventory carrying liability. Especially if you are still an old school managing it on a spreadsheet.

And no Kidding,

Your challenges for managing Inventory manually will cost you a fortune. For instance

  • It may happen at times that you run short of resources to lease your facilities, and hence you may end up operating a rather larger and ineffective warehouse then you need.
  • Under such circumstances, Inventory Management spreadsheet is often prone to errors and will drain you to the last drop of your time and energy in maintaining the same.  
  • You will never be assured of accuracy, and it’s not worth a risk.

Poor management is one of the top-notch reason why small business fail. Though Inventory Management Software is a crucial tool for retailers, 46% of SMB’s with 11-500 employees still don’t currently track inventory or use a manual inventory process.

It is vital to keep track of Inventory Management, as it directly affects the cost and time of your business. Hence, automating Inventory Management is crucial for business.  Automation facilitates your business in terms of ROIs, Diversification and most importantly in.. ( Click to read)

B2B Inventory Management Must-Have

The ever-growing demand of online shopping is not only forcing sellers to be on their toes but also, manufacturers and distributors have major contributions in the supply chain process for any retail business.

Modern inventory management practices have already been adopted by retailers (online/offline) in order to ensure sufficient stock availability, as per their customer’s demands.

But, are wholesalers and distributors able to fulfil every order that comes in? Many distributors still cobble together and then juggle multiple software/spreadsheets to manage the intricacies of managing stock requirements for their business.

Are you one of them?

There are a number of articles highlighting various techniques of managing inventory for B2C owners, but, not many have shown insights on managing inventory for B2B owners.

Below in this article, we will discuss on the must-have business to business inventory management features and how they can help?

Here we go:

E-commerce integration

E-commerce being one of the fastest growing industries, your system should offer easy integration to online brands, allowing them a convenience to procure and process their customer’s order from the place they are.

E-commerce business owners are more likely to deal with vendors who understand their store’s stock requirements and offer restocking alerts in a timely manner.

Therefore, ensure your system is flexible enough to integrate with different sized retail business needs that will be easy and quick to communicate.

Barcode integration/ Product identifiers

An old inventory management practice, however, there are still many business owners who have not adopted this time-saving technology for managing their stock.

Manufacturing hundreds and thousands of products or supplying stock in huge bulks- having unique identification numbers with information to each of your products makes it easy to organize and deal with every sales order, efficiently.

Barcode integration in your inventory management system will ensure you can track movements of your products to your customer’s store, as well as, at their warehouses. This will automatically eliminate the risk of losing products in transit, too.

barcode

Multi-currency payment transaction

In today’s global economy, having an ability to quickly convert one currency to another is essential for most selling business, especially if you dropship.

For instance: If you have customers who offer service in multiple places across the globe, adapting an inventory management solution with multi-currency capabilities will allow you accept more and more orders than other business owners who don’t have the ability to do so.

Multiple warehouses management

Modern customers expect an omni-channel shopping experience, hence, many
business owners are seen to be expanding their inventory reach by investing in multiple warehouses to reach out more and more customers.

Being able to sync multiple warehouses in one centralized system, will automatically give you the power to properly control all your business orders that come in.

EDI Order details transaction (Electronic Data Interchange)

Taking orders via email, phone calls, or, even messages surely leads to waste of time, cost and, in most of the cases, mess up in communicating exact details.

Modern inventory management systems allow business owners to sync order details coming from multiple sources at one place that will ensure accuracy in fulfilling customer’s orders, always.

Inventory reporting

You may expand your product reach, but, not having a system to track your stock ins and outs can directly hamper the bottom line results.

Understanding the requirement of each product your make or distribute, is crucial for a smooth flow.

Ensure your system allow you an ability to generate reports on important inventory metrics like:

a- Stock cycle time

This report will help you understand the time duration since when the product is manufactured until product ready to be shipped.

Such reports will make it easy to perform analysis on the time it takes to process a purchase order.

b- Supply cycle time

This report will help you calculate your service level, which means, was your business able to ship every order that came in?

The lower the ratio, the poorer your inventory performance.

c- Level of stock

A crucial metric, that will allow you insights of your stock availability and demand in real-time.

This report will help you understand and forecast stock requirements, especially for those seasonal products.

d- Stock turnover

This will give you an idea, how quickly is your stock being replaced.

The formula to calculate stock turnover:

formula1e- Gross margin

This report will help you understand the percentage of profit you make from your sales orders.

The formula to calculate gross-margin:

formula2

Having an access to such information, will allow you to take winning stock decisions and help your business grow successfully.

reporting

Centralized access for all your employees

As and when your business improves visibility, you’ll have to expand your strength to ensure smooth supply of stock as per demand. However, communicating with your staff separately for every purchase order, may lead to a delay in fulfilling your customer’s needs.

By having all your staff members under one roof, you can know who is engaged with what. Having a centralized access for all your employees, you can track employee’s performance and make better decisions to enhance productivity.

Mobile access

With the increasing demand for your products, you’ll find it a struggle to track movements for each of them. However, having an instant access to your inventory via one of the touchpoints you use, will give you a control on all products.

Ensuring your inventory management system is mobile-friendly, you can adapt a timely and accurate information about your stock, from anywhere.

Closing advice

Wholesale management software is proving to be an ideal solution for business to business owners, as it allows them to adopt the modern ways of dealing with stock requirements.

Offering an engaging interface, you can invite your business customers to adopt a single portal from where you can easily communicate and perform smart inventory practices for your business.

Cheers:)

Managing Inventory for home based business: Tips & Tricks

With the advent of Internet and advancement of technology, today, many people are making money from the convenience of their home. And, lately home-based business trends are experiencing an immense growth in this new year 2015.

More and more individuals are starting their business at home due to many reasons, however, low cost and convenience are its major benefits that makes it to be a successful business trend.

Now, if you are one of them who has stopped yourself from jumping into this successfully growing trend just because you are worried about coping up with stock ins and outs, then continue reading this article.

home-based-business

Below are 3 essential tips and tricks that will effectively help you manage inventory for your home-based business

1. Make it a point to regularly track your products

Most of the home-based business owners dropship their customers orders, however for those who stock inventory and fulfill orders on their own, keeping a regular check on inventory is must to ensure products are always made available for your customers.

For instance: If you have a sell handmade products, and you decide to store your inventory at home. What can be the best practice to organize and track your inventory?

An ideal way is to select a cool, dry area that is not trafficked by kids, or even other members at home. Try and create shelves, allocating SKU’s for each products you stock. This will not only make it look neat, but also, will allow you  to track products easily and always maintain accurate inventory levels for your home-based business.

Trick: You may have few stocks to deal with, which you may think to track manually. This does not sound impossible, however there will be chances of errors that may end up losing you sales orders. And, loss of even a single sales order will impact the growth of your home-based business. Therefore, consolidating all your inventory in one centralized system will be an ideal way to keep a track on stock. As, such systems allow a real-time view of your products, ensuring you will never have to deny your customers due to no stock available.

2. Always updated stock levels after a sale is made

Running a business from home, mostly you’ll prefer to keep less stock in hand. This means, updating your stock counts every time a sale is made, becomes very important to make products available to customers, all time.

Trick: Adopting an inventory management system will help you automate your stock updates, ensuring you never go out of stock. Such systems will also allow you create stock alerts and safety lock to make sure you procure and receive products in time.

3. Have a clear visibility of all your suppliers

Whether you stock inventory on your own or dropship orders to your customer, you’ll have to deal with suppliers. And, having an easy access of all your suppliers will help you quickly coordinate with them, especially when you need them the most (emergency stock requirements).

Trick: Investing in a dropship management system will not only help you to consolidate and gain real-time visibility of your suppliers from one place, but also gives you a chance to build stronger relationship with them. This develops a unique trust, and having an ability to receive products in time, will ensure a strong inventory management practice for your home-based business.

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Macy’s Inventory Strategies: What every retailer can learn?

In this modern world, an organized inventory flow becomes necessary to fulfill your customer’s need coming from multiple sources.

With the advent of technology, modern consumers have multiple ways (that include in-store, online, call-center, mobile, etc.) to browse and purchase products they like. However, there are many retailers who still find it a challenge to reach out every customer’s needs due to supply chain issues. This why retailers need to consider Inventory management best practices.

Retailers

Having a successful inventory management practice in place, you can eliminate the risk of out-of-stock situations, while at the same time you ensure that inventory costs does not affect the bottom line of the business. This means there should be a balance between demand and supply.

In this article we will discuss, how Macy’s – a successful mid-range chain of department stores (850 stores in total) manages their supply and meets the demand for all channels.

Macy’s has mastered inventory and you can, too!

Today, Macy’s is considered to be one of the biggest brick-and-mortar store offering some of the best deals. Now, that doesn’t mean the department store is obvious to the advantages of online retail. Their much thoughtful decision, to invest in omnichannel solutions is an effort to offer better, and seamless shopping experience.

Omni-channel is very much about “inventory optimization through technology,” said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s Inc., in a talk delivered last week in Tucson. Inventory visibility across all stores and channels is the key enabler, he added.

Macy’s key inventory management practices that benefited shoppers and helped them as well, improve inventory optimization  

– Real-time visibility

In most cases, retailers display 80% products in their showroom. Hence, 20% of their inventory are left unsold, as they are not seen. And, product visibility has a major role for inventory optimization. However, adopting a real-time program has helped Macy’s improve their supply chain flow. They can now allow customers get an access to all their inventory with the help of technology, even if is not present in the showroom. This way customers can order for the product that is in the warehouse, which is then shipped to the them.

For example, you are selling footwear and one of your customer is looking for size 8, however, it is not present in-store, but you have it in your warehouse. In such cases, you can allow customers make a purchase for the size 8, which later can be procured and shipped to the customer.

– Omnichannel

Having a real-time visibility has no doubt helped Macy’s to manage inventory, however offering omnichannel solutions was their key to a successful inventory optimization.

Investing millions in an effort to allow customers an ability to purchase products whenever and however they want, has made Macy’s one of the leading department stores. Their omnichannel solutions included flexibility in order fulfillment for customers shopping in-store, online, or even a combination of both including in-store pickups and allow home delivery, too..

What can you learn?

Having a real-time software  for your inventory across all your stores and warehouses is a must to manage your supply chain. And, adopting a real-time inventory solution, you can come with unique inventory optimization tactics to improve omnichannel shopping experience. With more and more retailers experimenting different ways to offer omnichannel solutions, it’s time for you to seriously think about leveraging the above best inventory management practices to better serve your customers in this modern retail world.