Now, when you do inventory manually, that means writing things down, on paper, with pens — it’s time-consuming and clunky. There’s more to handling inventory than that. Read on to find out why businesses need online inventory management systems!
According to Wasp Barcode in a 2017 study, “43% of small businesses do not track their inventory or use a manual process.” That sounds like a lot of business owners. But, it still means that 57% of small businesses are using online inventory systems. Still, it’s crucial to have an online system in place the more extensive your company gets.
Why choose online inventory systems?
An online inventory system will solve all the issues involved in juggling inventory transactions. Things like slow and clunky processes, human error, and fluctuating demand will be a thing of the past! Or at least have less impact on your business. There are a few techniques one can use to handle inventory, but here are some of the useful features of an online inventory management system:
Online inventory management systems make things easier.
Let’s say you have a sack of rice, measured in kilos. Somehow, instead of writing 25 kilos, you wrote ‘5’ and nothing else. The person who comes after you will probably not know what you’re trying to say! This will cause them confusion and possibly a discrepancy in the manual inventory system. Not only this, but sometimes people write stuff quickly, and the result becomes illegible when read again. Also, human brains can forget what they wrote. That means you have a chance of forgetting everything you wrote, and you’ll probably have to do the entire process again.
It sounds like a lot of wasted time. Streamline your business processes! If you’re a moderate to large company, you must use tools to avoid wasting everyone’s time.
Calculations are automated.
With an online inventory system, you can compute amounts and settle payments in a snap! (Just make sure you entered the precise and correct amounts into the system.) An online system can handle the accounting for you! But when using a manual system, you probably have to break out the old calculator and pencil and scan all your invoices. Then you have to do all that accounting by yourself.
It’s easier to monitor payments.
Not only can you monitor your payments, but you can also conduct audits and check on your business’s numbers for the month. It’s also great for noting even online payments! You may also check payments and transactions payable through your online system.
Online inventory management systems mean security.
When it comes to manual inventory, your documents are flammable. One rogue match, and then poof, there goes all your documents, invoices, everything! Instead of manually handling documents, the inventory systems are online- or cloud-based applications that can keep your information safe yet always at hand.
Netsuite says: “Cloud computing means organizations don’t need to hire dedicated staff to manage and maintain those systems. Cloud infrastructure also enables automated backups, secure access and real-time collaboration across multiple locations.”
Online inventory management systems are scalable.
Now, if you have a manual way of doing things, that means you update your records every time a customer makes a purchase. That’s going to be a hassle if you’re in a naturally big store, or it’s a busy day, or both! But with an online system, you can handle things way more dynamically. An excellent online inventory system should be easy to handle and modify to best fit your business’ volume of transactions. Then, you just have to set the supplier and items!
They’re also known for expandability.
If you write things down, then sooner or later, you’ll run out of space to write. Notebooks don’t go on forever, and ink can run out. So, in a sense, a manual system is pretty limited compared to an online system. On the other hand, even if you have to input a whole list’s worth of information, the online system’s database can accommodate it and expand accordingly.
Real-time reports, anytime!
Reports, reports, reports! Where would we be without precious feedback? Now writing an entire comprehensive account by hand takes a while; that’s not even getting into all the research you have to do to prepare the facts! You have to scan all documents, check past reports, jot down important points, make summaries!
But online systems have everything you need ready to go. To create a report, all you have to do is click, filter, click, view, and click, generate! It’s not just easy, it’s convenient! You get real-time reports about pretty much everything, really. Monthly sales reports, stock shortage reports, expiry date reports — these are just a few of the reports you can get on an online system. They’ll help you avoid big crises that can stall your workday!
The system allows for interoperability.
“Interoperability refers to the basic ability of computerized systems to connect and communicate with one another readily, even if they were developed by widely different manufacturers in different industries,” according to Advanced Data Systems.
Now, wherever you are on the chain of command, handling inventory is essential — it’s why you even have a business! Yet, that shouldn’t take up all your work hours. Tools make processes go more smoothly! With an online system helping you out, you’ll be free to focus on things you can improve on more than evaluation and viewing all reports.
Check on everything without having to leave the office!
Sometimes it’s hard to move around. Maybe you’re working from home, or your fellow branches are in another area, or state, or even in a different country! With an online system in place, you can comprehensively look at how your inventories are doing. Namely, you can see which item performs well, at which branches. Also, you can check out how they compare to each other.
However, if you’re doing things manually, you can’t check every branch within, say, three minutes, especially if those branches aren’t nearby.
Online inventory management systems allow for faster approval.
Since the system is automated, you can send requests in real-time in seconds! In addition, the system can deliver approvals swiftly.
You can even evaluate reports swiftly — especially Purchase Order reports. They’re “designed to give you insight into your company’s purchase order activity in order to monitor both transactional details and overall trends,” states SAP.
Online customization is a piece of cake!
Usually, an online inventory system has its personalized standard features, but every business is unique and has its ways of dealing with things. Therefore, an online system can accommodate and adapt to any necessary changes for a smoother process.
Now, if you had to do everything manually, if you had a new supervisor or manager, you’d probably need to undergo a lot of change. So maybe a complete overhaul would be the better term. New supervisors usually mean new management styles, after all!
Easy monitoring of sales vs. cost
Manually monitoring sales and costs to find a balance means scanning all reports. Sure, you can always skim them, but it’s way better if you had an online system that had all your reports logged and ready to go. Then, all you have to do is click a few buttons and then ta-da! You have your report!
With a manual system and a bit of elbow grease, you can always get the balance yourself, but if there are any mistakes, discrepancies, or illegibilities, you may find that all your hard work was for nothing.
Out with the old, in with the new
Times have changed. With every problem you solve, there’s half a dozen more waiting in the wings. Paper may not be obsolete, but it’s certainly not the best method for the digital world. Businesses will benefit from application software. Your company, specifically, may need an online inventory management system if you do not already have one.
An online inventory system, in particular, has several perks, such as handling information, automating transactions, and generating reports. Manual systems, in contrast, require time and effort, which may cause processes to slow down, especially if there are any mistakes or discrepancies in your physical, handwritten records.
Choose an online inventory management system to handle the tedious parts of your job so you have more time to address more significant issues.