In this article we look at how with the best inventory management software, small businesses can increase their efficiency. Increasing efficiency by cutting out unnecessary steps and doing more with fewer resources is always a good idea, since it saves you money. This is particularly true for small businesses that often have employees playing multiple roles.  And this is even more critical following the global Coronavirus pandemic when open job positions are harder to fill. Also, leaner headcount facilitates better social distancing, thereby reducing potential liabilities. There are several advantages of inventory management software for small businesses, in particular, including cost savings, increased efficiency, warehouse organization, and insight into trends. By upgrading their inventory management software, small businesses can improve their customer service, improve order fulfillment, increase the efficiency of their warehouse operations, improve purchasing decisions, and cut costs.

Better Inventory Information

With the best inventory management software, small businesses will get a better handle on what is in stock in the warehouse, at all times. They need to be able to see, for every product, the quantity they have on-hand, the quantity on orders, the quantity being picked, the quantity on back orders and the quantity on open purchase orders and when open purchase orders are expected to be received. Quick access to all this data reduces the amount of time customer service personnel have to spend tracking down the right information to allow them to respond to customer enquiries.

Improved Order Fulfillment

With the best inventory management software, small businesses get better insight into inventory which improves their ability to fill orders quickly and reduce error rates. Because they can always see what is on hand, what is coming in and when it is expected, small businesses will be able to cut down on out-of-stock occurrences, which result in lost sales and negatively affect customer satisfaction.

Greater Cross-Docking and Drop-Shipping Opportunities

The best inventory management software includes the ability to automate and manage special orders. This creates opportunities for small businesses to do more cross-docking and drop-shipping. Both cross-docking and drop-shipping refer to processes to match inbound POs and outbound orders. These types of matched special orders are inherently more efficient because they reduce the need for the warehouse to keep these items in inventory and cut down on the handling and management of the incoming and outgoing shipments.

More Efficient Warehouse Operations

Using the best inventory management software, small businesses will get the ability to track inventory by location. With this capability, which many inventory management systems don’t have, small businesses can optimize their layouts and make better use of their warehouse space. This means they can increase the number of products they can support with a given warehouse footprint. This reduces warehouse operating expenses on a per-product basis. Also, with the best inventory management software, small businesses can conduct all warehouse operations wirelessly using handheld barcode scanners. The ability to eliminate paper forms in the picking, packing, shipping, PO receiving, and put-away operations and capture barcodes using handheld scanners, greatly reduces errors and has a big impact on efficiency. With the best inventory management software, small businesses can batch orders and let the software direct the picker to the right location to fill the desired quantity of the product, this will cut down on unnecessary passes through the warehouse. Also, scanning items to pick and pack speeds fulfillment processes and cuts down on errors.

Less Time Spent on Physical Inventory Counting

With the best inventory management software, small businesses will be able to conduct less frequent physical cycle counts to reverify quantities available. Physical counts are disruptive to normal operations and take time and effort. So, being able to cut back on the number of physical counts will free up resources and time to focus on other more productive tasks. In addition, with better inventory management software, small businesses can use handheld scanners for physical counts which greatly increases the efficiency of what are otherwise tedious, time-consuming, labor-intensive, process. Handheld scanners will also cut down on errors in recording counts and re-entering count sheets into the system.

Better Purchasing Decisions

Having full visibility into what is coming into stock and what is going out through sales or warehouse transfers allows small businesses to make better inventory replenishment decisions. The best inventory management software lets small businesses keep sales and use rates, lead times, and safety stock levels updated based on actual results rather than estimates. This lets small businesses optimize their purchasing and inventory levels. Even small improvements in purchasing and inventory can have a very big impacts on investment in inventory and free up capital for other purposes. Improving inventory turns by even one turn, can save small businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Moving to Efficient Inventory Management Software

Contact ADS Solutions to see how you can make your wholesale distribution operations more efficient. With Accolent ERP best in class inventory management software, small businesses can improve efficiency and save money.