For goods-based businesses, one of the most critical and challenging functions is inventory management. It’s no wonder poor inventory management is one of the top ten reasons small and mid-sized business (SMBs) fail.
Your inventory is the heart of your business, and your operational processes are the arteries that facilitate the flow of inventory into and out of your company, essentially keeping your business running. Without proper management of your inventory and operations, your company could not survive.
You may already have systems and processes in place that you believe are working for your company, but how manageable will those same processes be when you begin to scale the quantity, size, and frequency of your sales and purchase orders? And how much time and how many resources could you save by upgrading and optimizing your systems right now? Just as some people don’t realize they have a clogged artery until it requires immediate medical attention, some businesses don’t realize there is a problem until critical failings occur - unnecessarily angering customers and ultimately costing your company money.
Signs That You Need To Upgrade Your Inventory System
Don’t waste valuable time and resources on under-optimized systems and processes. If any of the following inventory inefficiencies have occurred (or worse, are regularly occurring) with your current processes, it is time to improve your systems:
- Constantly running out of stock or overstocked
- Inaccurate or unknown stock and order quantities
- No access to real-time stock counts
- Difficulty tracking inventory across multiple sales channels and/or warehouses
- Inability to accurately forecast inventory needs
If your business is using manual processes to manage and track stock quantities, you’ve likely run into most of these issues. Wasp Barcoding has reported that 46% of SMBs either don’t track inventory or use manual processes. While manual tracking methods may work when businesses are just starting out, they are notoriously time consuming and prone to errors - not to mention that their fallibility rate will grow exponentially as your business scales. Inventory control solutions are needed to reduce errors, guarantee accuracy, and boost efficiencies.
Top Benefits of Centralized Inventory Solutions
Inventory management is a constant struggle for a lot of companies, particularly for those who sell through multiple channels. It’s a difficult balancing act of trying to make sure you always have in-demand products on-hand while also trying to avoid having unsold items draining your capital and taking up shelf space in your warehouse(s). In fact, REL has reported top public U.S. companies have $1.1 trillion in working capital tied up in inventory. And these are modern retailers who typically use expensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. Gartner has reported businesses pay an average cost of 1.2% of annual supported revenue for ERP solutions.
in working capital is tied
up in inventory
If even top companies with expensive ERP solutions are unable to effectively control their stock, how are growing businesses like yours supposed to effectively tackle this complex and crucial business function?
The answer is to adopt a fully integrated and centralized inventory management solution that will not only support your existing multichannel eCommerce platforms, but also grow with your business to help you scale in the future. A streamlined inventory control system will enable your company to:
Improve Inventory Accuracy
An inventory control solution that syncs with all of your online and in-store sales channels while also tracking incoming purchase orders will allow you to eliminate the potential for human error, letting you know exactly how much inventory you have on-hand at any given time. The best automated and integrated solutions will not only give you real-time stock counts, but will also centralize all your inventory and sales data to help produce insightful business reports and sales forecasting.
Increase Efficiency and Productivity
By eliminating manual processes, reducing redundancies, and removing human error, inventory management solutions can automate and streamline your most crucial business processes. As your company grows, it will continue to gain productivity from existing and expanding integrations with not only your sales channels, but other important business functions like accounting, payments, shipping, and fulfillment.
Save Time and Money
A natural byproduct of improving efficiencies and increasing productivity is a corresponding rise in time saved. With automated integrations and the removal of time-intensive manual processes, you and your team will have more bandwidth to focus on other important business tasks.
Additionally, higher accuracy in your inventory tracking will ensure your business capital won’t be tied up in unsold inventory.