If you’ve been looking at ways to make your business more efficient by integrating cutting-edge technology into the way you work, then you’ve probably thought about cloud-based inventory management. Cloud inventory software allows you to take stock quickly while ensuring that your data is safe in the cloud and easy to integrate with software like QuickBooks Online. However, if you’re considering making this transition, then you’ll want to know about the advantages and disadvantages of using a cloud-based inventory system.
Challenges of Cloud-Based Inventory Management
Before they adopt a cloud-based inventory management system, many businesses have questions about how that system will alter their existing practices, as well as about the new training they might have to acquire, and the sacrifices that they might have to make.
As with any decision to switch from paper-based records to data storage on computers and the cloud, there are likely going to be concerns about security. “Could someone hack into my data and steal or modify it? Would I even know if they did?”
These are fair questions, but, in many cases, they have been thought of (and answered) by cloud-based inventory software developers long before that piece of software ever reaches your business. For businesses, the best thing to do is to work with a well-established developer like Fishbowl so that you can be confident that you’re getting the best security features available.
For many of us, it seems like computers always malfunction right when we need them the most. Although it’s probably not true that computer outages specifically target people in desperate need, they can certainly be inconvenient if they happen during an important time, like your end-of-year inventory process.
It’s natural to worry that downtime in the cloud may hinder your day-to-day business operations. However, as with security concerns, downtime is also something that’s more likely to plague less-experienced developers. A trusted provider will announce planned downtime far ahead of schedule and outside of normal business hours while keeping unplanned downtime to an absolute minimum.
For businesses that have typically done their inventory with pencil and paper, it can be difficult to justify the cost of of a monthly subscription for inventory management. By using free cloud-based inventory management software, you can get around a subscription cost while still getting the features that you need to become more efficient.
By using free cloud inventory software, you can also cut down on costs elsewhere in your business. This software can help you cut down on waste. You may be wasting time with your current inventory tracking method, which ends up costing you money, even if the software is free. Cloud-based inventory software can make you more efficient and reduce the number of employee hours that you’re devoting to inventory tracking. These savings elsewhere in your business can help to offset the cost of a subscription, making the software worth it.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Inventory Management
Many businesses are concerned about the challenges that they expect to come from using a cloud-based inventory solution. However, there are also many benefits of moving your inventory tracking to the cloud, and they aren’t discussed often enough.
Security and Accessibility
Although some businesses may be concerned about the security of the cloud, it’s also true that a brick-and-mortar office can be broken into. The difference is that the cloud has been secured by experts in network security to protect your data from devastating breaches.
By switching to cloud-based inventory management, you can be confident that your data is secure behind a wall of data protection measures and solutions while at the same time imminently accessible to the people who need it. This kind of interplay between security and accessibility just isn’t possible with conventional asset tracking strategies.
Accuracy and Error Reduction
Since cloud-based inventory tracking software integrates with other software that you probably already use in your business, cross-departmental errors and accounting errors will be much easier to catch and track. Cloud-based inventory software can also use barcode scanning to track inventory, making it extremely accurate compared to a traditional hand count of your assets. Combined, these features mean that cloud-based inventory software is likely to be more accurate and help you catch errors more quickly than conventional asset tracking.
Integration with other software (including your accounting and POS software) means that you can track your inventory in real time, as your asset counts will update with each new transaction or purchase order. With real-time updates on your inventory, you can stay ahead of item shortages and catch waste as it’s happening.
As with any new technology, there are challenges associated with adopting cloud-based inventory management. However, these challenges are often mitigated by working with an experienced software provider. The benefits of making the transition can make any challenge worth the effort.