In the fast-paced world of modern-day business, it is easy to overlook a lot of small details and lose track of important things that can have a big impact on business management. Thus, in such cases, having good inventory management software to keep things running smoothly can be very beneficial.
It is, however, very difficult to choose the best inventory management software that will fit in with a business model, especially when there are so many options to choose from. That is why we conducted this research to give businesses an easier way of choosing the right inventory management solution for their needs.
How We Ranked the Top Inventory Management Software
You might be wondering how we came up with this list of the five best software options. Out of the hundreds of options that are available online, we made a list of at least 50 of the highest-ranked software systems and then went through the user reviews of each one.
Once we had identified the ones with the most positive reviews, we then tried out their demos ourselves and had our panel of experts look through them to determine user interface usability and design.
What We Concluded in Our Research
The results of our research showed that there were significant differences in quality and features from one system to another. It is very important to carefully consider the exact needs of your business before choosing the best inventory management software for you.
Remember, this list was made up of looking at the various attributes and features of the software that is readily available online. The user reviews and demo modes proved to be very helpful in finding out the important aspects of each tool, and we highly suggest that you do the same with the options on our list.
However, depending on how well you make use of the features that these programs have, we are confident that you will find these products quite helpful. They are certainly the most preferred option for many businesses out there.
Thanks to the free demo trials offered by each of these options, you do not have to take our word for it, but can actually see the results for yourself when you implement the software into your business. We also suggest that you have different members of your team make use of this software and give you their own feedback since it is they who will be using the platform.
In conclusion, we feel that these options are different enough from each other that no matter the type of business you have, you should be able to find at least one option that is a good fit and will boost the productivity of your inventory management team.
An Overview of Inventory Management Software
The following sections deal primarily with a broad look at inventory management software, with an emphasis on what it is and how it works. Only by understanding this will you be able to fit it into your business to achieve the best possible results.
To start with, let us learn more about what inventory management really is concerning the needs of your business.
What Is Inventory Management Software?
Inventory management software is a tool for effectively improving inventory management. When used correctly, this type of software system will ensure that you can easily, and accurately, keep track of inventory levels and identify the essential products needed by your business.
In simple terms, this is a stock-keeping program that will make sure that you never run out of essential items in your business, while at the same time preventing you from buying a lot of unnecessary items that are not urgently required.
It can be seen as an effective way to save a lot of money by buying only the stuff that is needed right now. The best inventory management software, when used correctly, should yield significant results, which will be evident by the reduction in clutter and wastage in your stock rooms, as well as the availability of extra funds that can be allocated elsewhere.
What Does Inventory Management Software Do?
A good inventory management solution will take over and smooth the day-to-day stock management tasks. Most of the work that is required to maintain the right inventory levels is rather repetitive, and as a result, employees quickly get bored doing it and this leads to some important tasks not being done as regularly as needed.
What inventory management software will do is take over those boring tasks and leave your team free to handle other things. By keeping you updated on how your inventory is looking, this tool will allow you to confidently go about your day-to-day life knowing that your stock management is in good hands.
The inventory management software will only be as effective as the various business protocols it is aligned with. In other words, how well it works depends on how well you use it. The tool will require that you first input accurate data regarding what inventory you already have on-site, as well as how fast it usually runs out. You can go a step further by highlighting the relative importance of each item.
With this basic information, an inventory management solution will be able to formulate a schedule for you, showing what to buy and when to buy it, with particular emphasis on the items that you would have highlighted as being essential to your business.
The Meaning of Inventory Management Software
When we break down the phrase “Inventory Management Software,” we will see that inventory can be defined as a complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building. Management is simply the process of dealing with or controlling things.
This means that we can define this software as a solution to deal with or control items such as property, goods, and other essential business items. Within the industry, this system can sometimes be abbreviated to IMS
Main Features of an Inventory Management Software System
Despite the many differences between the types of software systems that are available, certain features are common among them, which are:
- Real-Time Inventory Tracking
The feedback from the system is only effective if it is delivered and acted upon quickly, before any negative impact on the business.
- Real-Time Inventory Value
Different items have different levels of importance depending on what the business needs at that particular time. A properly calibrated system will know how to categorize each inventory item.
- Reorder Points and Low Stock Alerts
Good inventory management will alert the management team about any stock items that are running low, thus giving you time to act upon this information.
- Purchase Management and Supplier Management
Just as important as it is to keep the business well-stocked, it is also important to buy from the right suppliers. A good system will be able to help with this by suggesting where to buy from
- Proper Inventory Reporting
An effective inventory check is only as good as how it is reported to the people handling it. A good inventory management solution will give easy-to-understand feedback to the team.
Benefits of Using Inventory Management Software
Successful implementation of the best inventory management system in your business should yield results fairly quickly, and you should start seeing quantifiable benefits within a short period. Some of the benefits include:
Automated Inventory Management
There is no need to have dedicated personnel doing regular stock counts as long as you have a good inventory management system in place. By being an automated process, it will immediately update any use or purchase of stock, meaning that at any given time of day you can take a look at the stock count and have an accurate picture of what is needed.
Prevent Stock Outs
Stock-outs can be a result of a slow rate of purchasing of essential items, or inversely, overselling at a rate that is unsustainable under the current stocking schedule. By implementing an inventory management solution, you can balance these two operations and find a way to keep optimum levels of inventory that are in line with the growth of the business.
Reduce Business Costs
A lot of money can be wasted on buying too many certain items that will end up lying in a warehouse for months or even years before they are needed simply because of poor inventory management. The loss can be compounded if some of those items expire before use.
These costs to the business can be reduced by investing in a proper inventory management solution. It will also save you from running out to buy emergency items that have run out suddenly, which is another situation that can be both inconvenient and costly.
Improved Inventory Planning And Forecasting
By keeping you updated with current and accurate reports of inventory levels, the best inventory management system will give you enough time to carefully plan how and when you will restock. This will also give you enough time to schedule meetings with suppliers that may be needed as you create a detailed inventory restocking forecast.
Add New Selling Channels
When keeping a constant eye on the inventory levels, a good system will show you which items are selling fast and which ones are not. This will give you the option of either not stocking the poorly performing items or at the very least finding a way to move them faster by implementing, for example, targeted promotions that will boost sales of those items.
Which Companies Should Buy Inventory Management Software
Any business that wishes to survive needs to have some sort of inventory management system. The bigger companies can set aside a budget specifically for inventory management, so it is the smaller companies that need to seriously consider investing in the best inventory management system that will improve the way they manage their business.
How Small Businesses Can Use Inventory Management Software
When you are running a small business, cutting costs and saving money whenever possible can be the difference in either becoming a successful enterprise or watching your business go broke. Great care needs to be taken when managing inventory because one of the most expensive parts of a business is its inventory.
Although some small businesses might argue that they cannot afford to set aside money for an inventory management solution, what they do not realize is how much money they can end up losing simply because there was a lapse in inventory management.
Considering that situation, the money needed to implement and maintain a good software system is an obvious worthwhile investment.
What Does Inventory Management Software Cost?
The features that are offered by different inventory management systems are wide-ranging, and this is reflected in their varied costs. On average, you can expect a good software system to cost you around $100 per month, which is the industry average.
Businesses operating on a tight budget can probably get by with much cheaper options, while some very expensive systems can cost upwards of $3,000 per month.
Types of Inventory Management Software
Depending on the business model, there are two basic types of inventory management systems that can be implemented by companies, which are perpetual inventory management software, and periodic inventory management software. These types of inventory solutions can be described as follows:
Periodic Inventory Management Software
This is fast becoming a rather outdated way of managing inventory but can still be found in small business models. When using this type of management system, the software can be programmed to give periodic feedback on stock levels at specified times.
Businesses that do not deal in fast-moving consumer goods can get by with this kind of arrangement because for them, a continuous stream of inventory data can become annoying, especially when most of the reports are showing unchanged stock levels.
Perpetual Inventory Management Software
Most large businesses, and even smaller forward-thinking companies, have switched to the perpetual inventory management method which is much more suitable for the fast-paced business environment.
With this type of setup, the inventory management software will continuously monitor the stock levels and give real-time feedback at any given time. This is beneficial to businesses that deal with fast-moving products, whereby any delays in restocking will have a significant impact.
Trends In Inventory Management Software
It is important to consider how business trends might affect your choice of inventory management solution so as not to end up with a system that will quickly become outdated and ineffective.
The best inventory management software will have room to adapt to current trends, keeping you as productive as possible no matter the changes in business methods. Some common trends to remember are as follows:
The use of warehouse robots and autonomous vehicles is on the rise and this means that care must be taken when programming these vehicles otherwise certain things may go unchecked if the inventory feedback is inaccurate.
Connected Omni Channel Services
The demand from customers to provide more options when making purchases means that they now have a lot more say in what they buy and how they buy it. Furthermore, the best inventory management software will be able to anticipate and prepare for sudden fluctuations in the inventory levels caused by unpredictable customer buying patterns.
Sustainable Supply Chains
When selecting the right supplier for certain products, it is no longer just about cost and quality, but also about the environmental policy of that supplier. An inventory management solution needs to be able to link your business with like-minded suppliers so as not to undo your efforts to become more environmentally friendly.
Which Is The Best Inventory Management Software?
Only after careful consideration of the exact needs of your business can you be able to make the difficult choice of selecting the best inventory management software. Our shortlist, along with the information contained in this review should help make the decision easier.
How To Choose The Best Inventory Management Software
Choosing the best inventory management system is a step-by-step process that requires you to first analyze your business requirements and then link them to the features we described for each of the above-mentioned systems.
You can also make use of the trial and demo options available to further understand each software solution before making your final decision. This review is here to help to make that choice a much easier one.
Having the best inventory management software as part of your normal business operations is fast becoming a basic necessity for any business that wants to survive and be able to outlast its competitors. Any of these five software systems, with their list of enviable features, will be a great choice for your business, so do not waste any more time before giving one of them a try.