A big impediment to business success is the inability to afford the tools your competitors use to gain a competitive edge. If you’re a small business yearning to grow, you probably have a long wish list and tackle things in order of price point. In most cases, subscribing to enterprise level inventory software is further down the list due to the high monthly rate and startup fee. Software as a service tends to be more affordable than purchasing software requiring updates and maintenance on your own hardware.
But if you continue working on spreadsheets, you can only grow so much before the errors in data between departments causes loss in sales or profits. To grow, you need the help of software to reduce human error and connect the disconnected information siloed in different spreadsheets.
Integrating data from different departments of your business is important in establishing consistency of information, but can you find a software than can perform all the desirable functions equally well?
The move from spreadsheets to software will require a few weeks for setup, so ideally you want the software to make life easier for your staff. If they become frustrated from a complicated setup process, they may not follow through with proper installation and implementation.
Goals for Your Business Software:
- Tracking movement of inventory and costs wherever they occur to provide accurate counts and expenses to your finance department.
- Speed up processes by automating repetitive actions.
- Share data across departments to keep information consistent.
- Save time and money.
- Generate detailed reports.
- Integrate functions used by all departments in your business.
- Improve communication between employees and customers.
- Be using to use and implement.
- Manage all types of inventory from equipment rental, consignment, made-to-order, etc.
These are just a few of the must-haves. Inventory software should and can do far more than this. Your business spends the most money on inventory so if you are buying too much or too little, you are not investing your money wisely and can be losing out on sales or wasting money.
If you carry perishable products such as skin care, pharmaceuticals, or food items, you must track these products with lot tracking features so if you are notified by a supplier that something was wrong with a shipment, you can quickly locate those effected products and remove them from production or recall them from customers.
If you produce expensive products like vehicles or computers, you need to track each individual product tied to a warranty. That will require serial number tracking capabilities.
There are some very expensive software programs out there, but many have far more features than your business needs. There’s no need to pay tens of thousands of dollars for features that you don’t need and might make implementation more difficult. Some charge for setup and cancellation. Before you buy, know the features you cannot live without right now and those that will be necessary to grow your business. Most come with free trials and you should know within a few weeks whether they are worth their fees.