What Is an Inventory Management System, and What Features Do I Need?

“A place for everything and everything in its place,” goes the saying. Let’s add to that a label for everything and the means to track it all. And, how about some alerts when there’s too much of one item and a shortage of another? This mix pretty much sums up what inventory management software can do for your business. Whether you’re running a brick and mortar store, an eCommerce site, a supermarket, or a logistics company, an inventory management system is a must-have. It will give you insights into every aspect of your products, and in some cases, will help you better understand your customers too. In this article, we’ll look at why you need a fully-featured inventory management solution for your business and the important features you need to look for. What is an inventory management system? An inventory management system is a tool that allows you to track goods across your business’s supply chain. It optimizes the entire spectrum spanning from order placement with your vendor to order delivery to your customer, mapping the complete journey of a product. The transparency provided by this software has a big impact on the bottom line of a business. Through accurate tracking of goods, businesses can minimize waste, analyze trends, and make better investment decisions. Inventory management software features The software you choose (in addition to any bells and whistles) should offer all the features that are essential for effective inventory management operations. Here’s a quick overview of what to look out for: Barcode scanning: Easily identify and track your products; inventory management software integrates with barcode scanners for instant product identification and labeling. Inventory optimization: Maintain just the right amount of inventory for each product, without over- or under-stocking any item. It’s especially useful if you deal in products that experience a seasonal rise and fall in demand. Stock notifications: Receive alerts and notifications when there’s over- or under-stocking beyond a defined threshold. This helps you to place orders or offer promotional discounts to clear out extra stock. Report generation: View sales history in the form of a list of your most popular products. This feature also enables you to manage items in your inventory that have not reached the sales levels you expected, for example, by offering discounts on them. Multilocation management: Manage multiple warehouses and points-of-sale (POS). All locations can be integrated within a single inventory management system. Stock returns handling: Manage returns more effectively by reducing time-to-return through automation of the entire process. Material grouping: Group inventory into predefined categories and ensure you’re always updated about quantities of components and specifications that make up your product stock, and manage their reordering schedules as required. Purchase order records: Create a single view of purchase order records. You can easily identify which products are in demand, both perpetually and seasonally, and prepare to meet your customers’ needs. Additional features some users may need RFID-based in-transit tracking: This feature is useful if your supplies come from a third-party and you dispatch goods for delivery. This feature leverages RFID technology to provide you with real-time tracking of your inventory in transit. Warehouse management: This feature is useful if you need to optimize your warehouse stock and maintain an accurate log of each product’s location. It’ll give you a single view of where all of your products are stored. Demand forecasting: Through this feature, you can draw on past data to identify future demand. It isn’t necessarily offered by all platforms, so if forecasting is important to you, be sure to ask the vendors on your shortlist about this capability. Finding the right inventory management system If you’re looking to purchase inventory management software to suit your business needs, visit the zeroinfosys directory to evaluate options from over hundreds of products. You can filter the products by the number of intended users, popular features, deployment type, etc. You can also check out zeroinfosys ’s list of free and open source options, which might be a perfect starting point for businesses just starting out. Find the option that best works for you and start working smarter.

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