Inventory Management Software Reviews: Finding the Inventory Control System That’s Right for You

If you own or manage technology infrastructures for a small or mid-range business with a strong reliance on inventory control, now may be an excellent time to research inventory management software reviews and consider the adoption of an integrated software solution.

Inventory management software reviews can help you sift your way through a large and growing list of back office management options, and a broad range of unbiased inventory management software reviews and other data can help you navigate the increasingly complex world of integrated business solutions. But how can you determine exactly what you’re looking for in an inventory control product suite or support package? And how can you make the best use of inventory management software reviews and use them to make your search as efficient and cost effective as possible?

First, before you even begin your research of inventory management software reviews from reliable sources, you’ll want to take a few preliminary steps to lay the groundwork for a successful search. Begin by conducting a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of your current inventory control system. Expose your current workflows in order to determine exactly how your staff handles inventory control tasks like bi-directional lot tracking, product rotation, receiving, recall management and other functions unique to your industry. Gather reports from your employees to identify the capabilities of your existing software and the strengths and weaknesses in your current system. What forms of support does it offer and what elements are missing? When you’ve gathered this data, you can move onto the next step toward your research of inventory management software reviews. Use your evaluation to create a detailed needs assessment that will clearly document all of your expectations and requirements in a new inventory control system. Your needs assessment can act as a checklist and can guide your steps as you sift through inventory management software reviews, view online product demonstrations and arrange meetings with integrated software providers, consultants and resellers.

As you research inventory management software reviews, your search may be informed by a broader understanding of the changes currently taking place across the enterprise resource planning market landscape. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the very first enterprise resource planning systems were implemented in the manufacturing sector. These early systems revolutionized productivity and efficiency among the large firms that could afford them, since they successfully draw a diverse variety of isolated back office management functions together onto a single streamlined software platform. But these early systems were very expensive both in terms of upfront costs and ongoing maintenance needs, so they were cost effective only for the largest firms with the highest technology budgets and highest tolerance for risk. Smaller firms would not be able to access the benefits of system integration until a few years after the new millennium, when the high end market demand for ERP systems began to cool. At that point, developers and providers began an ongoing effort to scale and customize their product and service offerings to appeal to clients with more restrictive budgets and greater flexibility requirements.

Inventory Management Software – Key Terms and How They Help Your Business

 If you have used or researched inventory management software, surely you’ve come across a wide range of buzzwords that detail the areas of the software that can help your business manage inventory better. Sometimes those who use such buzzwords forget that not everybody is knee-deep in inventory management on a daily basis, and they might need a better explanation. Here are some key inventory management terms, and a brief explanation of how they help you and your business. While some of the terms may be familiar, their definition in relation to inventory management software is more specific to that application.

ABC Analysis

This analysis shows which of your inventory items are responsible for the majority of your Cost of Goods Sold (“COGS”) based on the 80/20 rule: 80% of inventory sales come from 20% of your items. This analysis can help control your inventory, increasing the items you need in stock, and reducing the items you don’t need. This in turn, can increase your capital, since less money is tied up in inventory.

Assemblies

Assemblies are a set of component parts that make up an inventory item. By setting up items as assemblies in a software system, removing the components from inventory becomes easier, and costing of an item can also be automated within the assembly. You eliminate the need to remove (and replace if needed) every single component individually in your software during the production process.

Bill of Materials

The bill of materials shows all the information about a production plan, including its assemblies and required components. This helps you plan for which items need to be produced, and what components to pull from inventory for that production plan. It also helps you realize more quickly which components are in stock or need to be ordered for that production plan, saving significant time compared to managing the process by hand.

Multiple Warehouse Management

Many companies that manage an inventory grow such that their products are stored in more than one location, whether it’s another warehouse or even on a truck or trailer. The ability to see which items are located by warehouse is extremely helpful. Some systems allow you to manage inventory in multiple locations, and even let you make transfers within the software when necessary.  The ability to view inventory by location keeps you more organized and allows you to get the inventory you need more quickly.

Physical Inventory

This is the process of counting the actual number of items in inventory, entering it into your software system and getting the two sets of numbers to agree. This process helps keep your inventory numbers accurate.  Software can help with this process by printing a working file and providing a place to enter a physical count from the printed count sheets.

Serial / Lot Number Tracking

Many businesses have items for which they must track serial or lot numbers. In times of item recall, it is crucial that the number tracking system is up to date and quickly accessible.  Software programs can keep track of inventory serial and lot numbers upon receipt into inventory. When an item is sold, the number can be selected and will be tied to the customer. If there is a recall or issue, you can then run reports to see which customers got items from a certain range of numbers, making this process much faster than looking back at sheets of paper.

Turnover

Turnover is defined as the number of times the average inventory on hand is sold and replaced during a period of time. A higher turnover rate indicates your inventory is not just sitting on the shelf getting “stale”. Inventory management software can help clarify what your company’s turnover is by product, which can help identify which items you are purchasing too seldom, too often, too many, etc. which can have a drastic impact on your cash flow.

Unit of Measure “UOM”

Inventory items must be measured somehow, and that is why we have units of measure. We can measure items by the pallet, the box, the bag, the gram, the pound, and much more. Where it becomes difficult is when you need to purchase items in one unit of measure, and then sell in another. Software can help out with this by allowing you to set up your own units within the system. You can also use the software to set up the pricing per unit, so that when you sell an item, the correct amount is taken out of stock, and the correct price is charged for that unit.

These inventory management tools can help keep your inventory running smoothly, and increase the profitability of your business.

Inventory Management Software Programme

An inventory management software programme organizes the inventory data and makes it easier to track supplies, orders and deliveries. It has features which allow you to create documents such as a work order, enquiry request, bill of materials, or BOM, and review sheets. The prime benefit of using inventory management software is that issues like overstocking or outages of products can be avoided.

Features
There are many variations in the features offered by various inventory manage software packages. The most effective and the best inventory software will cover the following features at the least.

Order Management
Inventory manage software is capable of informing you that a specific product or raw material needs to be reordered if it reaches a certain threshold level. This will help you in avoiding shortage of supplies as well as excess of them. An overstocking of materials is not exactly a great idea because it wastes space.

Asset Tracking
The most comprehensive and best inventory software packages are now widely using technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification or RFID and wireless communications. This enables you to track all the products in the store or warehouse through their bar-code, serial number, revision number or lot number.

Service Management
If your organization deals in services rather than products, then also you can utilize inventory arrangement software to track your material costs. You can then mention these prices in your orders to make customers realize that you are charging them a fair amount.

Product Identification
As already mentioned, bar codes are an inherent feature of inventory arrangement software. They are used for feeding the product data into the system, and can later be utilized to identify the item. You can use this information to identify the products.

Uses
The most basic use and benefits of inventory arrangement software is creating documents such as orders and BOMs. This allows you to easily assemble the required tools and materials that are needed for performing specific tasks. As a result, the production efficiency increases and so does productivity.

You can use inventory arrangement software for creating multilevel orders and BOMS if the tasks are complex. These documents feature a timeline of different processes that need to be carried out in the same sequential order for the proper manufacturing of the product. Other possible uses of inventory management software include tracking the inventory and ordering supplies when they are about to finish, which avoids downtime.