In the ever challenging field of maximizing profits and providing top class customer service, inventory management is an often overlooked area. Perhaps it’s time to take a short assessment of your inventory tracking processes to see where newer technology can boost your bottom line. Don’t think you can afford the software systems of bigger companies? Perhaps not, but there are many apps designed by entrepreneurs to help fellow small business owners manage better without blowing their budgets. Sophisticated inventory management programs are not the exclusive preserve of big business.
Many traditional tracking methods operate with the idea that inventory tracking takes place at a scheduled time – daily, weekly or even monthly. Apart from being slow and labor-intensive, the old fashioned non-automated data entry systems were prone to significant human error; it’s been suggested that even the most efficient keyboard operators make at least one error for every 300 characters entered. Today, point-of-sales scanning technology is designed to work with other tracking apps – including barcodes, warehouse delivery and shipping – to give you real-time inventory tallies. All this means fewer mistakes and more chances to meet and exceed customer expectations. The key here is to expect apps to do more, such as coordinate with sales orders, manage multiple locations, and track items by serial number. A real turn-key effort also can create pick tickets and packing slips for the goods, taking the guesswork out of fulfillment. Real-time data will help uncover the glitches in your systems and help you make better informed decisions about customers, product demands and possible supply bottlenecks.
Inventory Tracking on Mobile Apps
Increasingly, business applications must offer user-friendly, fully functional mobile versions. Inventory tracking is no different. Expect the mobile inventory tracking options available to you to provide the same quality performance as those developed for desktop computers. Good systems have been available for several years, and these options are as cost-effective as they are efficient. Many app developers offer companion cloud-based web applications that provide a level of seamless integration that can seem almost magical to those of us who are used to less technologically advanced inventory data programs.
What can we expect in the future? Apart from the usual factors – faster, cheaper and mobile – we continue to see increasing diversification in available software. Developers are targeting specific industries and niche markets within those sectors. No matter what type of business you operate, chances are that someone is building a better program to manage your needs. If you haven’t assessed your inventory control processes over the past year, there is a strong likelihood that you’re missing out on some major benefits to your bottom line.