There are several different ways to track inventory, from pencil and paper to fully automated inventory tracking with bar codes and bar code scanners. When starting up, the pencil and paper method is usually used. Data can be entered into a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, and reports can be generated about the data. One of the problems with this method is that is requires constant updates from a live person and is prone to operator error. Because of these challenges, many companies begin to look for another inventory solution.
One such solution is to hire an inventory control person, or to outsource inventory to a contract person. For a very small business, this is not an option that is usually feasible however. If the owner or other person that was in charge of inventory control used a computer spreadsheet and became frustrated, the idea of automating inventory can be less than palatable. Rather than avoid technology, the answer is often to embrace it more fully and to use a tool designed for the job at hand. Spreadsheets are very useful, but are not really designed to automate and track inventory levels.
Automated inventory control and management is not only for the large multi-million dollar corporations any longer. Small to medium sized businesses benefit by managing their inventory with an automated system. By keeping real time data on inventory levels, small and medium sized companies can maximize their profits, save time, track raw materials as well as finished product, and track sales trends.
When inventory is tracked in real time with multiple users, everyone in the organization can see exactly what is going on and where inventory is moving. Reordering materials and stock becomes easier as the software can alert you to the need to reorder when supply runs low. The problem of having too much of one product is eliminated, as when you set levels for the software to alert you for reordering, you will now have a streamlined process working for you.
With the options available for inventory management software, you can truly find the tool that will best meet your company’s needs. Automating your inventory is a large project, and when choosing the best software to use, keep in mind that your company will be growing and expanding the demands on the program. Selecting a program that will grow with your company or has tiers or upgrades as your needs change is a consideration in selecting the proper inventory management software program.