The primary purpose of inventory management in a warehouse or distribution center is to identify and track each item from receiving to shipping. At any given time, you want to know the level of the stock, where each piece is located, and even its condition, serial number or expiry date. However, when you are considering purchasing new inventory management software, there are two other features that are strategically important.
Look for an inventory control system that can be integrated with back office functions, including:
- Accounts receivable for invoicing
- Purchasing for processing re-ordering alerts
- Sales for pre-empting customer complaints
- HR for support in performance management and schedules
- Owner or senior management for business planning and budgeting
- Shipping services for faster delivery to correct address
- Financial reporting of inventory value for annual reports and tax returns
You can customize reports to ensure the cost effectiveness of your inventory management program. Accurate invoices will be generated immediately. An informed purchasing officer will not be paying premium costs for rush orders to fill stock shortages or paying the cost of carrying surplus stock. Longer term planning and budgeting will be based on customized reports. Financial reports will have real time integrity.
Integration also helps with the human factor in your business. Your sales staff can be alerted if there are unavoidable delays in filling orders so they can negotiate with the customer. HR solutions for issues of employee productivity will be based on recorded facts, not just casual observations or feelings.
You also want to consider inventory management software that is scalable. This means the system has the existing capacity to handle a growing amount of work or it can easily be expanded to accommodate such growth.
This key feature will serve you well in various situations, including when you:
- Are ready to expand your warehouse operations
- Want to sell your 3PL services to more clients
- Have discovered a new product line you want to sell
For example, you are going to lease another facility two blocks away or even in another town. This means hiring eight more staff who will be using the inventory management system. The number of items in the inventory will double. A scalable solution such as the IntelliTrack Warehouse Management System (WMS) has no difficulty handing more product with more users in two or more different locations without compromising the integrity of the data.
Such an inventory software program can also be used for 3PL services increasing the number of clients using your distribution center and/or encouraging them to expand their customer base. Or, perhaps you want to expand your own product line. This means you will need not only more physical space, but also an adjustment to the inventory management software. Scalability is strategic in inventory management as no successful business is static.
From just these few examples it is easy to see that the capacity for integration with other business functions and scalability are two important features for inventory management. Click here to contact the IntelliTrack team to discuss the technology solutions just right for your business.