FinancialForce Financial Management can accommodate the most diverse and complex financial needs. The perfect complement to Salesforce CRM, it brings back office data to the front, allowing companies to align sales, services and finance on a single cloud. It includes advances like a single ledger design and a multidimensional chart of accounts, which give you real-time business intelligence and help shorten period close cycles.
Microsoft Dynamics AX is an ERP solution for multi-site, international enterprises. With comprehensive capabilities for financial, human resources, and operations management, in addition to industry capabilities for retailers, manufacturers, service industries, and public sector organizations, it provides the agility you need to expand business opportunities, modify processes, and differentiate your business.
CoreIMS EE was designed to addresses a comprehensive set of warehouse/ inventory management needs from inventory initialization through order processing across multiple warehouses. Site, location, and status information tracked by CoreIMS EE allow provide the level of detail required to manage the warehouse efficiently and effectively.
To maximize supply chain performance, companies are faced with the challenge of maintaining a profitable balance among speed, service levels, and the risk and cost of inventory deployment. JDA’s inventory management solution (JDA Inventory Optimization) provides companies with end-to-end capabilities for managing inventory strategy, planning and execution, enabling them to achieve superior service levels, gain market share and reduce costs.
Maxwell Systems ProContractorMX is a complete construction software solution for end-to-end control of critical business operations and seamless workflow – from takeoff and estimating through job cost accounting and project management, and ultimately for critical reporting and analysis. It’s a flexible solution that you can grow into as your business needs change.
Inventoria is professional inventory tracking software for small to medium businesses across one or several locations. Inventoria is designed to be as intuitive to use as possible, so after a quick installation, you’ll be streamlining your inventory processes within minutes.
NetSuite supply chain management software offers a complete set of inventory management, manufacturing and purchasing capabilities that helps move inventory to the right place, at the right time, at the right cost. Gain an in-depth, real-time view into key supplier, inventory and shop floor performance indicators. Self-service capabilities for partners, vendors and customers improve collaboration throughout the entire supply chain. With NetSuite, you'll be able to better manage inventory levels and costs—and better meet fulfillment expectations, improving customer service.
RedBeam Inventory Tracking comes in two versions, standard and mobile. The standard editions of the software allow for data collection using cabled barcode scanners attached to PC workstations. The mobile editions allow for data collection using cabled barcode scanners attached to PC workstations as well as the ability to collect data on scanner-enabled mobile computers.This powerful fixed asset tracking solution supports Windows XP, Server 2003, Server 2008, Vista and Windows 7.
The RFID-based SpaceTRAX® Point of Use™ inventory management system, available in North America and Europe, seamlessly links supplies to physicians, patients, and procedures. This advanced inventory management system uses bar coding and RFID technology to increase charge capture, reduce excess inventory, and increase inventory turns.
NetSuite supply chain management software offers a complete set of inventory management, manufacturing and purchasing capabilities that helps move inventory to the right place, at the right time, at the right cost.Gain an in-depth, real-time view into key supplier, inventory and shop floor performance indicators. Self-service capabilities for partners, vendors and customers improve collaboration throughout the entire supply chain. With NetSuite, you'll be able to better manage inventory levels and costs—and better meet fulfillment expectations, improving customer service.
iMagic Inventory Software is the most cost effective and flexible inventory control and invoicing software system available for Windows. With perfect reviews from independent reviewers Tucows, UK Wares, Brother Soft, Sofotex and File Transit. iMagic Inventory is your solution that will help you to stay one step ahead of the competition.
inFlow is inventory management software designed for small to mid-sized businesses. By using inFlow, you can save time on paperwork, fulfill customer needs more accurately, and free up cash held in excess inventory.
Our standard inventory software product, Inventory Pro, can be used to manage all aspects of manufacturing, distribution and inventory. Inventory Pro is available for Windows, on the Web (IPOL), for Mobile, and for Handheld Scanners.
Megaventory provides you with a unique combination of technology and usability so that you can focus on what matters: your business! Effortlessly monitor and expand the operations in your network - all from a single system while providing your staff with just the right access they need.
Pomodo Software is modular and built to be a scalable solution. We don't believe that "one size fits all" when it comes to smart software for business, so our Pomodo Tech Software modules allow you to choose only what you need and expand your solution as your business grows!
Rytech small Business Inventory Control goes well beyond simply tracking stock levels. It is a full business solution that tracks your merchandise from its Purchase Order to the supplier all the way to Invoicing and Receiving Payment from your customers.
Selling products may be the focal point of your business, but how are you thinking about your inventory? How are you making sure that numbers are accurate, orders are being processed correctly, and your customers are getting what they need? Expand your awareness and gain control with Stitch.
Manage all your sales, stock, accounting, shipping and customer data from a single place. Simplify inventory order operations for your growing business- TradeGecko takes care of your inventory and orders so you can do what you love.
Smart businesses understand that controlling inventory, fulfillment and shipping costs is essential for success. Companies are constantly striving to improve their warehouse operations by increasing agility, visibility and labor efficiency. This requires use of best practices combined with a sophisticated Warehouse Management System (WMS) that optimally manages all resources within the distribution operations while minimizing the total cost of operation or ownership (TCO).The NetSuite WMS solution enables organizations to optimally manage their distribution operations with RF device directed putaway and picking tasks driven by customized user defined strategies and advanced capabilities like wave management, cartonization, cycle count planning, real time inventory updates and integration with shipping systems.
The purpose of Vendor Managed Inventory partnership programs is to electronically share information between members of the supply chain resulting in shorter lead times, reduced inventory, reduced obsolescence, and more efficient manufacturing. The up-stream member of the supply chain (the supplier) takes on more decision making for what to supply to the customer. The result is a more leveraged relationship for the supplier and improved service for the customer.
Manage your stock keeping units (SKUs), purchasing, suppliers, warehouses and transfers with lead commerce. Our inventory software creates Work Orders for the items that you carry that must be assembled prior to shipping. This is extremely helpful for items that require pre-configuration or that pull inventory from other items to make the finished product. Using our software, you can create as many "Assembly" products that you need and build work orders (bill of materials) to create the finished product.
Ordoro’s Unified Inventory acts as a central hub for all of your shopping carts and marketplaces, monitoring changes inventory as orders come in and products are restocked, and pushing updates out to all of your storefronts
Manage your inventory and check your supply levels in real-time. Receive optional notifications when specific inventory levels get low. Quickly see everything you need to know about your specific inventory items. Who supplies it, what it's currently selling at, how many you have in stock, how many you have back-ordered in purchase orders and when they're supposed to arrive.
SIMMS Inventory Software can provide you with the advanced functionality you require enabling you to regain control of your profits. SIMMS Software has a proven track record of helping companies of all industries manage their business more efficiently for over 10 years. We provide complete business software systems for a diverse array of businesses.
Unleashed Software is the world’s easiest inventory management solution to help your business grow. Unleashed makes inventory management easier and efficient, allowing you to take control of your inventory health and scale your business with confidence.
Manage and grow your ecommerce businessVeeqo includes everything any online retailer needs to run a successful business. View multichannel orders in a single platform, keep inventory levels 100% accurate, ship orders in bulk and view sophisticated sales reports.Why Retailers Love Veeqo:Every order in one place - Veeqo syncs every order from each of your sales channels into one centralised platform. Save time, eliminate human error and never miss an order again.Never oversell - Veeqo automatically syncs inventory levels across all sales channels in real-time. Keep stock perfectly aligned through your entire operation and never oversell again.Pick orders fast accurately - Veeqo gives you the best route to pick every order on its smartphone app or VS1 Scanner. Get orders out to customers quicker and with fewer errors.Ship in seconds - Veeqo integrates with nine world-leading shipping partners. Manage all your shipping directly in Veeqo and get orders out the door with just a few clicks.Enterprise ReadyDesigned to scale as your business growsVeeqo has been built specifically for large online retailers. Your business is complex and you need a solution that can handle its continual growth.The World's #1 PlatformAn essential tool for ecommerce successVeeqo is jam-packed with world-class features for ecommerce retailers who want to streamline their business, become more efficient, manage everything all in one place and increase their profits.List to MarketplacesGenerate more sales for your eCommerce brandVeeqo makes it easy to open up new sales channels. Push your products up to Amazon and eBay at the click of a button and increase your sales instantly.
QR Inventory is a connected cloud-mobile asset and inventory management system. It uses smartphones and QR code / barcode / NFC tags scanning to keep track of assets and inventory. Using QR Inventory, your employees can process assets and inventory transactions on site in real time by scanning QR code / barcode label or NFC tag with their smartphone. Results of the transaction are immediately available to all authorized users in real time anywhere.You can customize QR Inventory to fit your business model and workflow by defining what do you want to track, record and report via the web interface. Create custom transactions, forms that employees need to fill out on their mobile devices, custom fields for assets and inventory, and more.Smartphone with QR Inventory mobile application will replace barcode scanner, mobile computer, camera and GPS device for your field technicians. They will be able to scan QR code on the item to see detailed information (specs, manuals, drawings - anything that they need to know), process inventory transaction, check item stock and locations, fill out and submit relevant forms. And you won't need to spend a dime on hardware and consultants.QR Inventory has a built-in QR code generation tool, that allows you to generate, lay out and print QR code labels for your assets and inventory.Comprehensive reports allow you to review and export data on inventory count, locations, transactions history and usage. You can filter reports by the custom fields you created, producing exact information you need.
eTeClinic is the first all-in-one Healthcare Business Management software. This means Electronic Health Records, Practice Management, and automated business functions such as HR, Payroll, Inventory, Accounting, and more. eTeClinic saves you hours each day by using your EHR/PM/RCM data to complete these important, time consuming tasks, and generates reports you can use to enhance and grow your healthcare institution. TecNex provides everything you need in One Platform, One Company, One Solution.
BizSlate is a cloud-based inventory and order management solution which measurably helps small and medium-sized wholesale businesses in the apparel, footwear, accessories, housewares, and consumer goods industries increase revenue and profit by improving operational and supply chain efficiency. BizSlate seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks Online (QBO), Ecommerce platforms (e.g. Shopify) and EDI systems to accurately synchronize real-time inventory data across all sales channels.
Epicor Eagle N Series is a fully-integrated retail management system, with built-in best practices and cloud based availability, designed for small to mid-sized businesses. Thousands of customers rely on Epicor Eagle N Series to operate more efficiently and grow revenue and profits. Deliver exceptional customer experiences at checkout and beyond with advanced POS and mobile technology Boost margins and profits with integrated inventory management, purchasing and receiving tools Optimize inventory and overall business performance by making fast, informed decisions using intuitive, on-screen analytics Cut costs while providing exceptional customer service by seamlessly taking advantage of online, mobile and wireless technologies.
Mobilizing Marketplaces to maximize Growth through automation ERP Integration and Social Commerce Our award-winning, software platform MobilityeCommerce provides the power, speed, intelligence and control to effectively merchandise your catalog everywhere shoppers make purchase decisions in-store online and worldwide.
How to Compare Inventory Management Software
- According to IDC, the worldwide SaaS operations and manufacturing applications market, which includes inventory management, will reach $5.8B by 2018, attaining a CAGR of 13.7%.
- Inventory management software is purpose-built to reduce and eliminate out-of-stock and overstock conditions by defining optimal inventory levels for products based on demand. Core elements of inventory management software include tracking orders, sales, deliveries and inventory levels, work orders, bills of materials and production planning in manufacturing companies.
Why do organizations need and use inventory management software?
- Reduce out-of-stock and overstock items by optimizing inventory levels
- Increase inventory turns by eliminating internal processing roadblocks
- Provides greater supply chain visibility by having real-time updates on inventory levels
- Improves quality management by integrating inbound inspection and track & trace
- Improve inventory management and costs
- Increase the efficiency of shop floor operations and get more done
- Improve inbound supplier quality and measure how that improves production efficiency
- Find out which areas of manufacturing operations need attention before a problem occurs
- Update production schedules in real time instead of only a few times a month
- Increase the level of compliance through automated reporting
- Increase customer satisfaction by meeting delivery dates
- Reduce order errors by building the right product & delivering on schedule
- Enables more efficient scalability by managing inventory investment
- Solve challenging product storage issues as a company grows
Reducing inventory carrying costs, tracking products and parts from suppliers to warehouses and into production, and enabling track and trace for compliance are a few of the many strategies companies are relying on inventory management software to perform. The most valuable features of inventory management systems are designed to reduce pick, pack and ship errors while tracking product sales and inventory levels. In industries with fast-moving inventories that have limited shelf life, including consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries, inventory management systems are used for reducing product obsolescence and eliminating spoilage costs. When companies start missing out on sales due to out-of-stock and inventory allocation problems, the need for better inventory management drives them to adopt inventory management software.
Bottom line: When you are selecting an inventory management software solution, think of them as a partner in optimizing a vital part of your supply chain. Supply chains are the most valuable relationships that any company has, and optimizing their performance serves as a strong catalyst for continued growth.
Key Features to Consider When Evaluating Inventory Management Software Options
Proven Inventory Optimization
When evaluating inventory management systems, there are several key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to look for. These metrics and KPIs help make managing inventory levels and optimizing them for specific business requirements more efficient and transparent. When evaluating the inventory optimization by vendor, be sure to see if there are reorder points configurable for automated replenishment, and support for order quantity definition. These two metrics are important for managing economic order quantities of products, while also enabling the highest performance of inventory optimization possible. It’s important to lead demand definition, or the number of units that will be sold during the lead time. Stock cover is a metric that defines how many projected units are needed to cover demand while inventory is in transit. Finally, all inventory management applications support accuracy and on-time delivery metrics. All of these metrics and more are taken into account when implementing a demand forecasting workflow that fine-tunes inventory optimization. and This makes it precise, saving time and costs thanks to greater accuracy.
A Strong Track Record At Product Identification
The majority of inventory management systems support bar coding for product identification, as the technology has proven to be reliable over decades of use. The flexibility that inventory management software applications provide regarding this area varies, however, with many starting to support Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and supporting systems. RFID tags vary widely regarding their range, data transmitted and costs, and the potential exists to gain entirely new insights into inventory management performance using the advanced features of this technology. Look for the leading inventory management software providers to have RFID pilots and customer references available. Just as importantly, make sure they reflect the versatility of this technology in addressing inventory management challenges. In addition to proven bar code and emerging RFID technologies, many inventory management software providers offer Quick Response (QR) codes and Near Field Communication (NFC) tags and subsystems for tracking high-value inventory items including laptops, high-end electronics and photographic equipment. Inventory management vendors are providing the option of scanning QR codes and NFC tags via support for inexpensive scanning devices, further expanding the options available for product identification.
Asset Tracking Expertise
In conjunction with product identification, the best inventory management software applications also support asset tracking taxonomies and tailorable workflows based on specific inventory requirements. Product identification support is often defined at the device level in inventory management software, with asset tracking reflected in the supported taxonomies for organizing the captured data. Advanced asset tracking systems support rules-based queries of specific types of assets by their value, product definition, serial number, lot number and revision number. With more inventory management software applications supporting a broad base of product identification technologies, asset tracking is an area where inventory management providers are choosing to innovate with advanced data analysis techniques.
Inventory Management Analytics And Reporting
Being able to provide a core set of analytics, metrics and KPIs that align with how a specific business manages its inventory workflows and optimization strategies is a challenge all inventory management providers are addressing today. There’s a major difference in how effective each is at being able to deliver a core set of analytics and reporting options, however. All support basic reporting of inventory positions and inventory levels, yet they all vary in terms of how precise they allow companies to customize their software. Reorder points, order quantity, defining EOQ levels and constraints, automating EOQ workflows and defining alerts for specific items and product groups is available in the more advanced inventory management applications. Gross margin, inventory levels and accuracy, item fill rate, inventory and order cycle times and inventory turnover are the basic metrics needed to manage inventory successfully. All inventory management applications should support these metrics, with the higher-end providers enabling greater customization and real-time access to data presented in dashboards accessible from any device, anytime.
Tracking the cost of materials as they relate to services is another area in which inventory management applications are progressing quickly. As more businesses look to create service-based workflows to supplement product sales, service management is becoming a standard feature in inventory management software. The most often requested feature of service management is the ability to continually capture the costs of materials and define gross contribution margin estimates in real time.
Real-Time Integration To Distributed Order Management
Anticipating customer demand and optimizing inventory levels based on forecasts is the essence of how high-performance inventory management systems deliver value to companies using them. For inventory management strategies to achieve their full potential, companies using them must integrate them with distributed order management systems to accurately forecast and plan for demand. Real-time integration links between inventory and distributed order management systems make it possible to anticipate and act on potential product allocation and out-of-stock conditions.
Managing and Optimizing Inventory Levels
The most valuable benefit of inventory management systems is the ability to better manage and optimize inventory levels in response to changing customer and market demands. Look for inventory management systems that have the ability to flex across multiple product lines, warehouse and fulfillment locations while optimizing demand fulfillment originating from the distributed order management system. Oftentimes this requires the inventory management system to feature real-time integration with a company’s main Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which is the system of record distributed order management systems run on. By having real-time integration across these three systems, every business has the potential of managing and optimizing inventory levels across all of their warehouse, production and fulfillment locations.
Improved Inventory Planning And Scheduling
One of the most basic aspects of any inventory management system is the ability to define and test inventory planning and scheduling scenarios. While evaluating inventory management systems, be sure to check and see if there are options for testing specific inventory planning and scheduling scenarios against each other to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each. The focus needs to be on determining the best possible inventory planning strategy given a company’s unique business model constraints and requirements. Every inventory management system also supports scheduling, and many are adept at flexing to support variations on common inventory management frameworks. This is a good area to have inventory management vendors provide examples of their most demanding planning and scheduling so you can get a sense of the scale of each vendor’s application.
Cost Savings And Increased Operational Efficiency
While often not considered a primary metric of inventory management applications, the total cost of sales lost due to out-of-stock conditions or inventory errors needs to be taken into account when evaluating different vendors. Inventory management solutions capable of capturing this metric deserve to be in the primary group being considered, as cost saving gained from minimizing lost sales is key to growing a profitable business over time. Inventory management software is also designed to reduce the variety and complexity of parts and products that aren’t essential for short production runs. Reducing lost sales by minimizing and eliminating out-of-stock conditions, tracking inventory cost savings by optimally balancing the products needed to support manufacturing schedules and reducing waste through resource and constraint-based modeling all contribute to this specific benefit.
Improved On-time Order Performance
Customer expectations are every company’s reality. Relying on inventory management to reduce errors and deliver improved on-time order performance are major benefits that manufacturers see when they adopt company-wide solutions. One of the most important metrics to manufacturers and service providers alike is Perfect Order performance. The Perfect Order metric defines the percentage of orders that perfectly fulfilled a customer’s requirements and delivered on the data committed or requested. Oftentimes, companies hover in the 60% range on this metric. With inventory management software unifying all aspects of a company’s operations, it's common to see this metric improve to 75% or more.
Selecting an Inventory Management system for your company needs to reflect how different your supply chain, inventory, production, and fulfillment operations are while providing proven frameworks for optimizing inventory performance. There are over 100 Inventory Management providers selling systems today. Fortunately, SelectHub is here to help.
What’s wrong with how you are managing inventory today?
- How many sales are you losing because you don’t have the inventory to fulfill orders?
- What percentage of your orders ship on time with exactly what the customer asked for?
- What manual workarounds are you relying on that could be automated?
- Are you using Microsoft Excel to handle inventory management and scheduling?
- Is your existing ERP and distributed order management system integrated with inventory management?
- Is it possible to see how inventory turns are impacting overall company profitability?
- Can your accounting and operations teams track overall inventory costs and see how they’re trending over time?
- Who uses the current inventory management system?
- Which departments are everyday users, and which are only using your inventory management system occasionally?
- What are your inventory management system’s users trying to achieve by using it, and how well can they carry out their goals?
- Is the system cost-effective for your users? Are you paying too much in monthly or annual fees for unused features?
- Is your approach to using inventory management too difficult to use? Is it challenging to learn?
- Was your inventory management system designed when your company had a different business model than it does today?
- What information and insight related to managing your inventory better do you need your inventory management system to provide?
What kind of inventory management system will you need?
- What inventory management, optimizing and scheduling workflows aren’t being addressed by your current inventory management system today?
- How much time does your company spend on generating inventory management reports?
- What workflows and production processes most differentiate your company, make it unique and place an added load on inventory management systems?
- Define the five inventory management processes that most need improvement in your
- What’s the typical lead time for your company to produce its most common and most complex products? How can this be improved with better inventory management?
- Are inventory management and control automated or done manually?
- Can your teams see the impact of out-of-stock conditions in inventories in real time and across all warehouses and fulfillment locations?
- What product identification and asset tracking technologies are you relying on?
- Have you piloted a barcode, RFC or RFID inventory management system recently?
How will the inventory management system perform once deployed?
- Is your company considering an on-premise or cloud-based inventory management system?
- Who will be the inventory management system’s administrator and be responsible for keeping it up-to-date?
- What product identification and asset tagging technologies, devices and systems will the inventory management system need to run on throughout your company?
- Are you considering having the inventory management system accessible from the production floor to share Bill of Materials (BOM) across manufacturing teams?
- How customizable do you need the individual screens, applications, and platforms to be?
- Will the inventory management system be able to manage the wide variety of data reports you need? How about in a year from now?
- Can the system generate reports that are easily comprehensible for executives of your organization?
- How will the system integrate with your current technologies? This specifically relates to distributed order management and ERP systems.
- What support or training will the vendor provide during and after installation?
Every business has a unique set of needs, so the first step in a software selection project is to create a checklist of what your company needs most from an inventory management system. There are hundreds of criteria to choose from, but the framework can be broken up into four main categories:
Real-Time Inventory Tracking From Supplier to Customer
Evaluate potential inventory management providers on their ability to provide real-time inventory tracking to product definition, serial number, lot number and revision number. Manufacturers who compete in industries with stringent compliance requirements are making real-time inventory tracking from supplier to customer a required feature across inventory management systems. Cloud-based platforms are capable of scaling to provide this level of inventory visibility on a real-time level. Enabling links to suppliers’ systems and with logistics providers, cloud-based inventory management systems are also providing analytics, KPIs and metrics that provide insights not available from on-premise systems. Another aspect of this category is real-time integration between distributed order management and ERP systems, enabling alerts delivered in real-time to logistics, inventory management and production planning teams.
Inventory Management Reporting and Analytics
Real-time integration across all warehouse locations and production centers provides 360-degree visibility into the current status of inventory levels. This is especially important in manufacturing industries, where compliance is required to keep operating. Medical products manufacturers are especially focused on this aspect of inventory management. Key areas to concentrate on while completing a needs assessment include gross margin, inventory carrying costs, inventory levels and the financial exposure they create. There are also an entire series of metrics and KPIs that encompass operational performance and need to be included too. These include inventory turns, inventory levels and accuracy, item fill rate, inventory and order cycle times and inventory turnover rates by location.
Integration Across Order Management and ERP Systems
The greatest gains businesses get from inventory management systems are a direct result of how well integrated the system is with distributed order management and ERP systems. The ERP system often serves as the system of record in the majority of single- and multi-warehouse configurations. Having insights into demand forecasts and inbound customer orders via the distributed order management system enables inventory planners to be proactive in solving potential out-of-stock conditions. Distributed order management system integration is a way to provide an early warning series of market signals to inventory management planners so they can avert potential out-of-stock and oversold situations. Integrating into the main ERP instance creates a single, unified system of record that enables all parts of the company to stay synchronized with each other. When evaluating inventory management vendors, this is a critical area to look at customer references and reviews.
Inventory Optimization Supporting Automated Workflows
At the center of all successful inventory management system implementations are workflows designed to optimize inventory positions across each product and location. The ability to design inventory optimization workflows that can flex across products, locations, and market conditions is an attribute that elevates the highest-performing vendors . The best inventory management systems offer advanced frameworks for attaining a high level of inventory optimization quickly. Optimization approaches to inventory management are also being enabled with real-time alerts that can be sent at any time to any smartphone or tablet. With the growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence, leading vendors are looking to further improve inventory optimization performance across multiple locations and product lines.
Please provide an overview of how I can optimize my inventory across multiple locations.
The most important criterion for evaluating any inventory management provider is whether or not they have previous experience with your industry’s specific inventory optimization requirements and unique needs. Be sure to ask for examples of inventory optimization in your specific industry and for an explanation of how this was completed. A core part of optimization is successfully integrating with distributed order management and ERP systems, so it’s helpful to ask to speak with customers who have done this with the vendor.
Can you provide an example of a workflow and alert that prevents an out-of-stock condition from occurring?
What’s most important to see in this context is how the software vendors you’re working with are managing the complexity of optimization approaches that trigger out-of-stock alerts. What makes their approach error proof? Be sure to ask this question, as incorrectly diagnosing a potential out-of-stock condition can have costly effects on overall inventory levels. It’s also important to see how configurable alerts are and ask if the alerts have an immediate action to resolve the situation in real time. Another factor to consider is how audit-ready the workflows are and if there is a running history of alerts that can be reviewed online.
Can our company define our framework for inventory optimization, or do I have to follow your predefined framework?
Low-end inventory management systems force frameworks that aren’t able to be customized, while mid-tier and higher-end systems provide more customization and flexibility. Inventory optimization logic and workflows need to be tailored to the specific needs of your company’s operations. Look to customer references for the answer to this question, as you’ll want to see if and how they successfully modified the optimization frameworks to meet their specific needs. For small- and medium-sized businesses, it’s critically important to evaluate if the inventory optimization techniques are applicable and scale well with your current business operations. Ask for a demo of how optimization constraints and data can be customized to specific requirements of a single and multi-location warehouse management system. Optimization logic also needs to be consistent with the data structures in the ERP system to ensure consistent data representation across the entire company.
How can the logistics, supply chain and manufacturing planning teams make use of an inventory management system?
Ask to see how each screen in the application can be customized for members of the logistics, supply chain and manufacturing planning teams. It’s also important to see how workflows are designed to provide real-time updates across warehouse locations and production centers. Asking to see how these screens reflect changes in supplier status, especially within cloud systems, is highly advised as the core value of a cloud platform is real-time data updates. Concentrating on how each of these teams can get the most from the system is essential if adoption levels will be achieved quickly once it’s introduced across the company.
How will your inventory management system improve my business?
For many companies evaluating inventory management systems, the current alternative is Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Ask the inventory management suppliers for an overview of Return on Investment (ROI) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) by product. Also ask for a pilot of the systems that interest you the most in order to benchmark them and see how they perform with your unique business requirements.
There are over 100 inventory management providers serving over a dozen sub-industries in discrete, mix-mode and process manufacturing industries.
Some of the leading vendors are:
FinancialForce Inventory Management – Built entirely on the Salesforce platform, FinancialForce Inventory Management is designed to flex across the entire value chain of business. FinancialForce has customer references that reflect their strength at scaling from the dock to stock workflows, and has one of the more flexible cloud-based warehouse models incorporating both tangible and intangible products. Integration to financial reporting and ERP distributed order management is accomplished at the platform level.
Manhattan Associates SCALE – Designed by the Microsoft.NET platform, Manhattan’s SCALE provides inventory management for distribution-centric businesses. SCALE supports multi-location warehouse and multi-tier distribution models, including support for supply chain execution and planning.
Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV - Formerly Microsoft Dynamics Navision, Microsoft NAV has established itself as a leader in ERP systems with deep expertise in inventory management. Both GP and NAV have thousands of customer implementations successfully running inventory management across multiple locations. What’s significant about this product is the greater control it provides over supply chain planning and execution and integration with distributed order management workflows. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is also particularly known for its rapid deployment timeframes.
NetSuite Inventory Management – NetSuite provides one of the most highly-rated inventory management systems that centralizes inventory management, manufacturing and purchasing. NetSuite’s Inventory Management module also supports multi-instance inventory optimization and alerts. It's currently being used by 16,000 companies worldwide.
Choosing an inventory management system provider is a task that should be given serious consideration. This inventory management comparison is meant to be used as a starting point to guide IT professionals who are tasked with making this decision.