Did you know that nearly half of all small businesses don’t have an inventory tracking system or keep record by hand? Whether you’re a one person shop or a multinational company, you need an effective way to keep an eye on stock levels. As you already know, you can’t rely on Microsoft Excel because it’s not dynamic and one typo can result in a major error. Whether you need to upgrade your current system or implement your very first one, here’s how you can pick the right inventory tracking system for your business.
Tip #1: Determine and stick to a budget
You wouldn’t walk onto a car lot expecting to buy a car with no budget in mind. It’s the same thing when shopping for an inventory system. Before you begin your hunt, take the time to calculate how much you’re willing to spend. There are several things you want to keep in mind, including how your system will grow with you. Just like when you’re picking out a car, you have to plan for the future. The small sedan may work fine right now, but when your family expands in a few years, you’re going to need more room. Similarly, when your business expands, you’re going to need the capacity for more users and channels. Many systems charge you for additional users, so keep growth in the back of your mind. Not to mention the set up and installation fees. Will you have to pay someone to install it? Will down time occur as you switch systems?
Tip #2: Design it for your business
Every business faces unique challenges, meaning that an off-the-shelf solution often won’t cover everything you need. Start with what’s important to your industry. Data that’s important to manufacturing might not be as relevant to the healthcare industry. Then think about how your storage facility is set up. Do you need barcode scanners with the ability to reach high shelves? Perhaps you do most of your work outside and need something that can withstand a harsh environment. In order to get the most out of your system, keep your business’s functions in mind when looking at system features.
Tip #3: Select one that works with your other systems
There’s nothing worse than spending the time and money only to discover that your new system doesn’t integrate well with your existing equipment. Trust us, you won’t want to manually enter the data that doesn’t migrate over, or create a bandaid solution. For a more efficient and cost-effective system, be sure to ask the system provider which software it integrates with.
Tip #4: Consider user experience
Your employees may not be the first thing to come to mind when considering purchasing an inventory tracking system, but they are the crucial element of whether or not it will be a success. Think about the current tools you provide them with. Your business uses mobile computers and enterprise tablets because they work almost the same as the phones they use on their lunch break. You want your software system to be easy to use so there’s little downtime for training. Don’t try to take the easy way out and hope employees can learn on the fly. That will result in accurate data and stressed employees.
Tip #5: Decide what kind of reports you need
There is no point in collecting all of this data if you have no way to analyze it. Determine what type of data you will collect and ask about your reporting options. Collecting reports will help you make your facility more efficient as well as:
- Prepare for peak season
- Discontinue poor performing inventory
- Cut down on excess product movement
Bar Code Direct works with your business to create an affordable, custom solution to your inventory tracking needs.