If your business owns inventory or manages it for others, you know to be successful inventory management is crucial. Admittedly, talking about inventory management may not be an incredibly engaging topic of discussion. But when it comes to your business it’s important to consider how it’s done and what’s the best approach.
There are various options available to businesses looking to get a better grasp of their inventory management. Ultimately, when considering a strategy, you want to focus on a few core areas. Principally these are accuracy, efficiency, and access. Accurate inventory information, efficient approaches toward your warehousing processes, and access to key analytics save both time and money.
If saving time and money is one of your goals, having accurate inventory information accessible anytime and anywhere, as well as shareable and secure is incredibly important.
Enter inventory management for the cloud! Inventory management for the cloud, and by extension warehouse management, is a system that tracks, stores, and organizes data about your inventory and helps organize the storage, management, and fulfillment of it. All this inventory-related data from item updates, movements, allocations, shipments, and more are stored on an online database.
This data can be accessed by your business teams at any time and anywhere there’s an internet connection. Unlike a single server you backup on the premise or digital spreadsheets constantly being tabulated, cloud inventory management provides access on demand to the same data by multiple people and in real-time.
As well, cloud-based inventory management provides the foundation blocks to take advantage of a smart inventory management strategy that’s intuitive and efficient when compared to manual or traditional strategies.
Now that we know a little more about cloud-inventory management, let's delve deeper into the benefits you can gain from this approach.
When it comes to inventory management, accuracy is first and foremost. Whether we want to know how much of a product we have or where it’s being stored, having an accurate picture is key.
When managing inventory through paper records or manually supported processes, accuracy can become problematic because you’re relying on proper tabulation and communication from various points of contact.
With cloud inventory management you can eliminate these error-prone approaches. First, because all the information is stored in one database, you create a single source of truth, avoiding discrepancies. Furthermore, you can begin to take the guesswork out of your management by introducing strategies for capturing your inventory data, like implementing scanners, whereby all inventory is scan-tracked, and so forth.
Cloud-inventory management also helps with knowing where things are by tracking your inventory methodically. From the very first time an item enters your warehouse, every movement, every location it’s transferred to, until the time it is shipped out of the warehouse to your customer, the cloud-inventory system will track every data point to inform your business where it is. And if your business operates multiple warehouses these can be consolidated under one system, allowing visibility of all your inventory across your entire network. This provides further insights when making decisions that involve your inventory.
By having a central environment accessible to your entire team, cloud-inventory management allows for greater collaboration within your organization and with customers. For example, by providing your customers with a customer portal of the inventory within your warehouse they can immediately ascertain what is available and place orders accordingly. As well, your warehouse team and procurement teams can work based on the same information at the same time and make key decisions, according to the business situation.
In today’s technological business landscape securing your data is imperative. Cloud inventory management is extremely effective in securing your inventory-related data. This includes protecting your customer’s information, avoiding record deletion, backing up your data, as well as avoiding theft, damage, and other threats. By ensuring your data is protected you create peace of mind for your business while also building trust with your customers.
Costs are always a factor regarding your business operations. On-premise or bespoke solutions are often billed as one-time expenses. Yet these systems do come with inherent recurring costs. For example, on-premise solutions often require support staff to keep them running, whether this service is contracted out, or else hired in-house.
As well, updates to the software or systems are usually far between and require some effort to manage when they do come about. The advantage of cloud-inventory management systems is that while you have recurring license costs, the support, updates, and security are baked into your service contract. This requires fewer running costs on support and data storage while ensuring that your system is always up to date and continues to run smoothly.
Managing inventory correctly is important.
That may seem like an obvious statement yet according to a report on the state of small business, 43% of SMB’s with 11-500 employees are either not tracking inventory and are using manual processes supported by software like Excel to do so.
Yet, as we’ve seen, by implementing a strategy based around a cloud-inventory management system, businesses can avail themselves of technology that is readily available which can have an immediate impact on accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility. This in turn will promote good organization, greater profitability, and spur growth.
Want to find the best inventory management solution for your business? Check out Akatia’s WAM solution on AppExchange to get started today!
About the author: Thomas Robinson is the Brand & Marketing Manager at Akatia Technologies. In his role, he helps communicate the importance and value of digital transformation in the warehouse and logistics industry. He helps businesses in their journey by creating engaging and thought-leading content.
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