In this day and age, a capable inventory app is essential to help businesses succeed in the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail sectors. Your business needs to have accurate and integrated information so that you can make smart business decisions. Knowledge is power. The company that has the most readily available data in the most comprehensible format will have a major leg up on the competition. Accessibility, security, and customizability are key traits of a good inventory management app.
We are going to explore how an inventory management app can help your business thrive and the advantages it offers over traditional and manual means of managing inventory. We will begin by comparing and contrasting automated vs. manual processes and then move onto specific features and benefits of using an inventory management app.
Better Than Manual Tracking
It would be appalling to find warehouse managers who are still tracking inventory with a pen and paper, but, believe it or not, this type of inventory management still exists today. Small but growing businesses tend to use the most available, affordable, and simple methods to keep track of their inventory for a variety of reasons. They do not want to spend money unnecessarily, especially when their budgets are so tight and their resources are so limited. But the problem is that these methods are probably costing them more money than they realize and they often do not scale well as the business grows.
Efficiency is the name of the game in inventory management, and a manual system simply can’t keep up with an automated system. Items will likely fall through the cracks and get lost, products may not get reordered at the right times or in the right quantities, sales and received goods may not be recorded properly, and typos may be made when writing down data. A whole host of problems arise from attempting to stay with old, outdated ways of managing inventory. Investing in technology has proven to be a determining factor in the companies that survive and those that do not.
Better Than a Spreadsheet
Using basic spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel, is definitely a step above manual inventory tracking. This method can get you by with a minimal number of product SKUs and transactions for a time. However, there won’t be real-time updates, there is a greater potential for user errors, and the functionality is very limited. Trying to scale an inventory management system using Excel alone is almost impossible to do. Plus, there’s no integration with other business solutions, such as accounting, e-commerce, shipping, etc. Everything is just running separately, which means that it will be up to you to make sure all of your solutions get updated whenever a change is made to one. A spreadsheet simply can’t handle that type of automation. This can lead to serious problems if even a single typo finds its way into one of your solutions, and it no longer matches up with every other solution or with what is in your warehouse.
Cloud Based vs. Desktop Solution
Once a company does decide to invest in an inventory management solution, they have the option to choose between an online or desktop application. There are pros and cons to both of these options. Cloud based apps are accessible from anywhere and can be updated in real time, but your data is stored on external servers. Having your data stored on internal servers with a desktop solution can offer the feeling of security and control over your data, but it also requires expensive maintenance. Web based apps often invest in state of the art servers and infrastructure, preventing most data breaches and downtime that are otherwise fairly common.
Features and Benefits of an Inventory Management App
Manage Your Inventory from the Cloud
Small and more agile operations often require 100 percent accessibility to their inventory system at all times. It is more difficult for smaller teams to manage high volume inventory outflow and inflow, so giving your employees all the resources they need when they need them is essential. Boxstorm® can be accessed and updated on a Web browser from any device: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even most desktop computers can run the app without having to download or install anything. Data is safely stored and accessible to the right people.
Multiple Locations and Sub-Locations
Boxstorm® can keep all of your data centralized if you have multiple warehouses or other locations spanning a wide geographical area. This is especially important if you keep the same SKUs at different locations. You can track the number of products at each location by their SKUs, which allows you to allocate inventory and transfer items as needed to avoid stockouts. You need your data integrated like this to make smart business decisions across your supply chain.
Managing customers’ contact information, mailing addresses, and sales orders is a big part of inventory management. Boxstorm® makes this process easier by allowing you to move sales orders from the quote stage to the accepted and fulfilled stages with a few clicks of a button.
Inventory tracking is at the core of Boxstorm’s functionality. You can easily assign custom tracking values to the quantities of each item you have on hand to make sure they are always being monitored in exactly the way you want them to be.
Boxstorm® lets you set up automatic reorder point alerts on every item in your warehouse so you can avoid stockouts. This automation is key once you understand your inflow/outflow trends and seasonality. You will never skip a beat.
Easily manage your employees’ access to Boxstorm®’s modules and features with the help of its access rights. Restrict users to certain roles and access rights within the system so that they won’t be able to change parts of the software that are not pertinent to their jobs. Also, you can see what changes a user has made to ensure they take responsibility for everything they do when logged in.
Full Activity Auditing
Stay in compliance with government regulations by using Boxstorm’s auditing capability. Every module in Boxstorm® has an auditing feature that allows companies to stay on top of all changes made to data in the solution. This is a huge benefit for companies operating in highly regulated industries that must comply with a variety of complex government policies.
Item Cost Tracking
Boxstorm® can track item costs at every stage in the inventory management process. You can also integrate this data with the QuickBooks Online accounting system so that your costs are updated in real time.
Need your data exported for cycle counts, audit trails, or for other reasons? Exporting can be done easily via CSV files. You can also import data into Boxstorm® through the same means. So spreadsheets do serve an important role in inventory management; they just can’t take the place of a solid inventory management app.