What to Look out for when Choosing an Inventory Management Software
Inventory management demands an approach that ensures a high level of precision and a proven way to predict future movement on supply and demand. Any mistake, however minor, in tracking of inventory items, quantity monitoring, forecasting, or data integrity can lead to very serious issues in inventory management. Such issues may include depreciation resulting from inventory items staying inside warehouses for too long, purchases that end up unused until it is for disposal and inadequacy of stocks which means halting operations or delays in delivery. All of these will ultimately lead to customer dissatisfaction which highlights the need for proper inventory management. The most likely culprit in all of these cases is human error. Nowadays, when businesses operate at rapid rates, it might come close to impossible to maintain a zero defect culture. What you need is to be able to help automating menial tasks that could lead to unnecessary mistakes. And that is to procure an inventory app.
Inventory management software has been around for a long time as one of the first applications of computer automation. It is of little wonder that now that mobility has become the norm, inventory systems are starting to pop up on mobile devices. Most smartphones and tablets nowadays carry the processing power the like of which that older computers would only dream about. Since warehousing and inventory management in general typically worked on by people on the move such as those that inspect the shelves and perform item receivals and item distribution, it is logical that inventory management be moved to mobile applications. This article will write down the things that you need to know about in choosing the right inventory app for your company.
When all is said and done in your effort to procure an inventory app, you are going to need a lot of support. Luckily, in the age of mobility, this has come easier than it has ever before. The quality of support varies however from company to company. Thus, it is up to you to look out for the quality of support services that each of the potential sellers are willing t+o give you. Off-the-shelf inventory apps typically write down faqs and manuals that is freely available for everyone who wishes to purchase their inventory app. Before buying the software, take a peek at these literature and see to it that it is complete and easy to understand. A true metric of good quality software is a detailed and expansive documentation.
Another aspect of support that inventory apps should offer are timely updates of the product. Technology moves so fast that new advancements comes along all the time that can help software companies improve their product. Frequent updates not only signals the cutting-edge methods that the software company employs but as well as their responsibility as a service provider. As technology moves forward, many threats are being created and thus software companies should be tasked to update their software to protect their clients.
Many companies nowadays delve on more than just one industry which makes it difficult to reuse expensively bought software to accomodate all their needs. For instance, if you run a hospital and a pharmacy you would find out that the dynamics in inventory management in both entities differ. Where one focuses on always having enough supply to ensure profit, the other does the same to make sure that they have enough to save lives. Most inventory apps already offers this form of flexibility by creating general features that work on most if not all inventory management needs. Another approach is by dividing the software into modules where you can buy one by one depending on the requirements that you have. For instance, while the pharmacy is going to need a module specifically for managing restrictions on whom you could sell the drugs to, hospital inventory needs would not need much of such.
Another way to look at flexibility is by way of scalability. As apps are generally used as a service wherein information is stored on servers hosted by the app’s creators, it does not come as a surprise that the storage space for these applications are huge. However, you may still feel slight inadequacies in terms of speed should the software be poorly designed. You have to do your research and look for the testimonies of customers that have purchased an inventory app from the company. Compare your need to theirs and try to find out if they did not have any complaints.
Most businesses are run on automation, however some are still built from older platforms and makes it difficult to integrate them into newer iterations of the product. If you are intending to purchase an inventory app with a view of integrating current inventory information into the app’s database, then you may be faced with a daunting task. Not many apps nowadays can seamlessly interface with older systems as they are not specifically designed for it. Your options are to contact the developers directly and ask for special assistance which may always come at a price or you could manually input the information yourself which depending on the size of the information, may take a few hours or years.
Another aspect of integration that you have to look out for when buying an inventory app is making sure that it blends in well with how the warehouse normally operates. Are there no processes being slowed down by constant tapping of the tablet screens or are the scanners too slow to catch up with the hectic daily tasks. You may also want to check up with your personnel if they find it a better fit than with their current routines.
Buying software can never be an easy task especially nowadays where there are start up competitions popping up left and right. The trick here is to always keep your eyes on the prize and that is to have smooth sailing operations in your inventory management.