While they may not realize it, virtually every single one of the 32.5 million small businesses in the US depends on an inventory manager or inventory management services to do their jobs well. Even solopreneurs rely on them to keep basic office goods readily available online or through brick-and-mortar retailers.
Of course, inventory management is a very different animal these days than it was even twenty years ago, courtesy of rapid advancement in the IT field. Inventory managers need the right tools in their warehouse to keep their operations running smoothly.
Keep reading for five of the key tools every inventory manager needs.
1. Barcode Data Collection
While manual data entry still has a small place for correcting errors, most of your inventory data collection should happen with barcode scanning. Barcode scanning improves efficiency, reduces errors, and even allows for real-time updates.
Just make sure you get enough of the actual scanners to keep pace with your incoming inventory. The last thing you want is an efficiency improvement that turns into a bottleneck.
2. Automated Invoicing
Invoicing is one of those business processes that fall through the cracks all too often. That failure can put serious hurt on any business’s bottom line.
A tool that automates invoices when you fulfil an order eliminates the chances that you or someone else will simply overlook sending the invoice. It also creates a verifiable record in your system.
3. Stock Reporting/Alerts
One of the more valuable tools for inventory control management is stock reporting and alerts. A stock reporting tool lets you instantly verify that you have what you think you have on the shelves. It can also serve as a tool for clients to verify their stock levels before placing an order.
Most stock reporting tools also allow for alerts, such as an alert when a popular item or material falls below a certain level.
4. Rate Card Tool
Any inventory manager that deals with multiple customers need a rate card tool. These tools let you create profiles for customers and their specific charge or fee schedule rather than fumbling around with a spreadsheet. That simplifies invoicing and reduces time spent digging through paperwork.
5. An App
While not an absolute requirement, an app tied to your warehouse management system can make your life a lot simpler. You can interface with the system while out on the floor. It also allows floor supervisors to do the same.
Inventory Manager Tools
There are many tools that will prove invaluable for any inventory manager. Barcode scanning and a web app can simplify data entry and control out on the floor. Automated invoicing helps reduce the odds of an invoice not getting sent on time.
Stock reporting tools and alerts help you verify and exert more precise control over inventory levels. Stock reporting is also a useful tool for customers when ordering. A rate card tool can minimize time wasted searching spreadsheets.
Looking for more business tips? Check out some of the other posts over in our business section.