How to choose the best inventory management system for your business?

When you run a business that sells products, it's important to have an inventory management system that meets the needs of your business. What is an inventory management system? Simply, it is software used to track inventory levels, orders, sales and deliveries.

If you've recently transitioned to selling online or are thinking about moving your business online, a good inventory management system will make your life a lot easier. Ensuring the system meets your needs is the key to choosing the right system. So here we will discuss the things to look out for when making your choice.

Does it integrate with all your other systems?

What other systems do you use in your business? Think about your accounting software and your point of sale system. Does the inventory management system that you are looking at play nicely with these other systems? If they do that's great, if they don't then start looking at other systems. Unless you are thinking about changing these systems too. In that case, you should do a full review of all the systems your business uses and needs, to find a combination that works for you.

What are your basic stock requirements?

Does the system cater for all the requirements of your stock? Here are a few basic requirements that each system should include.

  1. Barcodes and scanning: This will make stock control and sales a lot easier.

  2. Product variants: Every inventory management system should allow you to enter product variants. This allows you to track how many of each colour or size of a product you have in stock.

  3. Product tags: Help you to categorise your products on a deeper level. Also making it easier for customers to search for a group of similar products.

  4. Product brands or supplier: This should be a no brainer, it allows your customers to search for products from a particular supplier.

  5. Product types: These are your overarching product categories. If you were selling clothing, some product types you might have would be: shirts, boots, jeans, etc.

  6. Product description: Having clear and detailed descriptions can make it easier for customers to decide which products are for them.

  7. Product pricing options: Pricing options allows you to put more than one price next to a product. Allowing you to put member prices or discounted prices with the original price crossed out. This can help increase the effectiveness of your sales.

  8. Bulk product editing: The ability to bulk edit products inside your system without having to export them to a spreadsheet for editing then importing them back again can save a lot of time and errors.

  9. Product images: Make sure the system allows you to compress images to reduce the loading time for your site.

  10. Reporting options: Choose a system that provides multiple reporting options to allow you to make effective decisions and manage your business at a deeper level.

  11. Unlimited product quantity: Most systems structure their pricing based on the amount of products you can have. So make sure your system can handle your current and future inventory needs.

How easy is the system to use?

Something you will need to take into account when choosing your system is the technical knowledge of your employees. If your employees are not very tech savvy, will you be able to train them to use the system? Think about how they would be using it on a daily basis and how it would integrate in their current duties. They will likely need to add and update products in the system, conduct stocktakes and order new stock. Does the system you are considering make it easy to perform these tasks? Ensuring the system is easy to use will save you and your employees hours of work every week.

Now you know what to look out for when choosing your inventory management system. Having a system that meets your needs, integrates with all your other systems and is easy to use is the key to managing inventory in your business. Having a system that works efficiently will reduce time it takes to fill your orders and ultimately lead to satisfied customers.

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