For almost all businesses, inventory management could be considered the â€śmeat and potatoesâ€ť of corporate life. It may not be as glamorous as PR or as well recognized as digital marketing, but itâ€™s the process that keeps everything moving. Without a close eye on your stock, thereâ€™s no way to tell what you need, what youâ€™re selling or how much money you stand to make.
Inventory management deals with the movement of stock, both into the company and out to customers. This has a direct impact on spending. Inventory levels let businesses know which raw materials are required for production, which allows them to meet demand. While maintaining accurate records is no easy feat, inventory management software streamlines the process.
Cloud-based inventory management is a fairly new development, but itâ€™s quickly becoming the optimal choice for businesses. This is due in part to its scalability, automated scheduling and real-time tracking. Cloud-based software is also a cheaper option, as thereâ€™s no need for onsite servers. Not to mention, these systems are both lightweight and low maintenance.
This article explores the benefits of cloud-based inventory management and what it can do for your business.
Fully Scalable Software
Twenty years ago, businesses had to make tough decisions about their operational software. They could buy for their size and anticipate the need for an upgrade. Conversely, they could overstate their requirements. Many would then opt for a â€śbaggyâ€ť inventory system and hope to grow into it later.
Fortunately, cloud-based software has changed this by making inventory management systems fully scalable. As these solutions are virtual, they can be upgraded at any time. Functions may simply be added, removed, expanded, altered or combined with other products.
Easy, Stress-Free Setup
Inventory control is a particularly integral component of warehousing and distribution companies. And as such, any amount of downtime is a big problem. Cloud-based inventory management promises quick, simple installations because there are no physical requirements.
Usually, upgrading or installing a new system is as easy as logging into a centralized facility. All aspects of the inventory solution are managed from the same place, so thereâ€™s no need to exhaust your IT department setting up software on individual computers or setting up specialized hardware. The result is minimal downtime and disruption.
Accurate, simple stock control is one of the biggest benefits of cloud-based inventory management systems. With this software, you can access your stock numbers in real-time. And there’s no need to manually source or collate reports since they all feed into a central database.
User-friendly dashboards make it easy to get a snapshot of the business at any given time. Plus, with tools like QR tracking, you can proactively measure inventory as it moves through departments. With greater automation, errors are significantly reduced. And fewer errors means fewer costs incurred.
Reliable Forecasting Tools
These days, itâ€™s no longer enough to know which three products are your biggest sellers. Youâ€™ve also got to know in what month each of them moves the fastest, whether sales are affected by public holidays and if demand is likely to change from year to year.
Not having precise data on these metrics can negatively influence your business. If youâ€™re not making accurate predictions, youâ€™re susceptible to wasting money on surplus stock when demand is low. Youâ€™re also at risk of missing opportunities to grow if your product sells out sooner than anticipated.
With cloud-based inventory management, up-to-date reports help you make better decisions about the future of your products. Not only are you able to predict proper stock levels, but you can also identify the best times to switch up your products, redevelop your marketing strategies and introduce new services.
Always Safe and Secure
With cloud-based inventory management, businesses get to enjoy maximum security. Data is notably safer than it is in a traditional system because everything gets backed up automatically. Every piece of information that passes through the software is stored in a cloud database.
If you by chance delete a file or your hardware malfunctions, regaining access to it is just a matter of locating it in the cloud. This is a huge asset, as around 20% of businesses donâ€™t routinely backup their files. Without the cloud, those files are basically gone for good.
Some Top-Rated Cloud-Based Inventory Solutions
Whether youâ€™re looking to switch from your on-premise system or you simply arenâ€™t happy with your current method of online storage, youâ€™ve got options. Here are four of the best cloud-based systems on the market:
3PL Warehouse Manager, by 3PL Central, offers real-time inventory management on a fully scalable basis. With a variety of enterprise-strength WMS functions, the software is perfect for keeping your warehouse running smoothly.
It provides turnkey EDI integrations, automated tools for streamlined packing routines, barcode scanning and the option to combine inventory management with other online platforms. 3PL is best suited to third-party logistics companies and warehouses looking to grow in a safe, steady manner.
Unleashed is committed to helping businesses see more. This provider delivers powerful cloud-based technology with a focus on visibility and transparency. The inventory management system from Unleashed allows you to monitor stock in real time, across multiple locations.
This extends to international operations, so itâ€™s a great choice for larger companies. With so much activity to supervise, it can be difficult to spot chances for optimization. Fortunately, this inventory system uses sophisticated BI tools to guide you towards bigger, better decisions.
Rapid Response from Kinaxis provides cloud-based supply chain, sales and operations planning all in one expandable system. This software has been designed with discrete manufacturers and inconsistent supply chain networks in mind.
So if you work within a volatile industry with rapidly shifting levels of demand, this might be the right solution. For instance, automotive, life sciences and A&D companies are big supporters of Kinaxis software.
With Bindo POS from Bindo Labs, you can enjoy a fully mobile cloud-based POS system. The goal is to help brick and mortar stores establish workable eCommerce operations as quickly and simply as possible. It uses barcode scanning technologies to log and track products.
If you need to identify an item, just scan its unique barcode. If you want to monitor and forecast customer demand, add loyal followers to the database. And if you establish inventory parameters, the system will handle purchase orders before you even know stocks are running low.
Why Itâ€™s Time to Upgrade to Cloud-Based Inventory Management
While thereâ€™s nothing wrong with hard systems and tangible technologies, they can feel awfully clunky when compared with sleek, weightless cloud solutions. Yes, this means an upgrade and additional expenses in the short term. However, the rewards are worth the effort. Your business will be treated to smoother, more accurate supply chain processes, fewer errors and a higher degree of security. As your supplier relationships bloom, youâ€™ll start to save money and tighten the ship. Before you know it, your company will be running like a well-oiled machine.