If your business owns inventory or else manages it for others, you know that to be successful inventory management is crucial. Admittedly talking about inventory management may not be an incredibly engaging topic of discussion. But when it comes to your business it’s important to consider how this is done and what is the best approach.
There are various options available to businesses looking to get a better grasp of their inventory management. Ultimately when considering a strategy, you want to focus on a few core areas. Principally these are accuracy, efficiency, and access. Accurate inventory information, efficient approaches towards your warehousing processes, and having access to key analytics saves both time and money. If saving time and money is one of your goals, having accurate inventory information that is accessible anytime and anywhere, shareable, and secured is important.
Enter inventory management for cloud. Inventory management for cloud, and by extension warehouse management, is a system that tracks, stores, and organizes data about your inventory. It helps to organize the storage, management, and fulfillment of inventory. All this inventory related data from item updates, movements, allocations, shipments, and more is stored on an online database.
This data can then be accessed by your business teams at any time and virtually anywhere there is an internet connection. Unlike a single server that you backup on premise or even digital spreadsheets that are constantly being tabulated, cloud inventory management provides access on demand to the same data by multiple people and in real-time.
As well, cloud-based inventory management provides the foundation blocks to take advantage of a smart inventory management strategy that is intuitive and efficient when compared to manual or traditional strategies.
Now that we know a little more about what cloud-inventory management is on the surface, let's delve deeper into the benefits you can gain from this approach.
When it comes to inventory management, accuracy is first and foremost. Whether we want to know how much of a product we have or where it’s being stored, having an accurate picture is key. When managing inventory through paper records or manual supported processes, accuracy can become problematic. Essentially, you’re relying on proper tabulation and communication from various points of contact. With cloud inventory management you can eliminate these error prone approaches. First, because all the information is stored on one database it creates a single source of truth, avoiding discrepancies. Furthermore, you can begin to take the guesswork out of your management by introducing strategies of capturing your inventory data, like implementing scanners, whereby all inventory is scan-tracked and so forth.
Cloud-inventory management also helps with knowing where things are by tracking your inventory methodically. From the very first time an item enters your warehouse, every movement, every location it’s transferred to, until the time it is shipped out of the warehouse to your customer, the cloud-inventory system will track every data point to inform your business where it is. And if your business operates multiple warehouses these can be consolidated under one system, allowing visibility of all your inventory across your entire network. This provides further insights when making decisions that involve your inventory.
By having a central environment that is accessible to your entire team, cloud-inventory management allows for greater collaboration within your organization and with customers. For example, by providing your customers with a customer portal of the inventory within your warehouse they can immediately ascertain what is available and place orders accordingly. As well, your warehouse team and procurement teams can work based on the same information at the same time and make key decisions, according to the business situation.
In today’s technological business landscape securing your data is imperative. Cloud inventory management is extremely effective in securing your inventory related data. This includes protecting your customer’s information, avoiding record deletion, backing up your data, as well as avoiding theft, damage, and other threats. By ensuring your data is protected you create peace of mind for your business while also building trust with your customers.
Costs are always a factor regarding your business operations. On premise or bespoke solutions are often billed as one-time expenses. Yet these systems do come with inherent recurring costs. For example, on premise solutions often require support staff to keep them running, whether this service is contracted out, or else hired in house. As well, updates to the software or systems are usually far between and require some effort to manage when they do come about. The advantage of cloud-inventory management systems is that while you have recurring license costs, the support, updates, and security are baked into your service contract. This requires fewer running costs on support and data storage, while ensuring that your system is always up to date and continues to run smoothly.
Managing inventory correctly is important. That may seem like an obvious statement yet according to a State of Small Business Report, 46% of SMB’s with 11-500 employees are either not tracking stock at all or else using manual processes using software like Excel to do so. Yet as we’ve seen, by implementing a strategy based around a cloud-inventory management system, businesses can avail themselves of technology that is readily available which can have an immediate impact on accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility. This in turn will promote good organization, greater profitability, and spur growth.
If you think that cloud-inventory management sounds like a strategy that would work for you reach out to us and we'd be happy to show you how WAM, the inventory application for Salesforce, would be a great fit. Just click the link below to get in contact.