Inventory management, in the right hands, is a stunningly effective asset.
So what type of platform do you need? Are they all essentially created the same?
We look out the various approaches inventory management platforms take to capture business. But we also have to take a step back and look at what a platform does and if too many bells and whistles can actually be a messy and cumbersome distraction.
Types of Inventory Management Platforms
Inventory management software can roughly be divided into two extremely basic categories: cheap and not.
What separates the two could be massive or subtle. Low-cost inventory platforms are not often updated, not well-supported, and generally simple. They may be great for a weekend artisan selling crafts at the market, but they may falter in the hands of a business tackling multiple reorders, different sales channels, and multiple stock outs a week.
This is not to say that a local stand type of business is bad. But a low-cost inventory platform can only do so much and a small local stand business will only reach so many sales. A low-cost simple platform may be a wonderful fit.
For any business seeking scale, real-time insights, tax record organization, and more, a comprehensive system is needed.
Thankfully, this kind of system doesn’t need to be expensive. All it needs to be is flexible. This is the key to a good inventory management platform.
For example, a low-cost system may easily track product stock levels and the cost of goods sold, something you can possibly do with a really nice Excel sheet. A more comprehensive system will have features for warehouse management, automatic stock reorders, client email update integration, and more. One is not fundamentally “better” than the other. It all depends on what you need.
The Bells and Whistles
It can be easy to fall for the bells and whistles. They are bright, shiny, and look good on a spread. But are they necessary?
To determine this, you need to roll things back and look at what your business truly requires and what it could use to improve and expand. You have to ask yourself some really vital questions.
- How can this software improve your business?
- Do you need a multitude of features, or just two?
- What are your current major challenges or pain points?
- Will you expand into new areas requiring new inventory management techniques and practices?
- What problems are you solving today, and are there likely future problems you can solve before they arise?
- Are you prepared for new inventory management?
Functionality corresponds with cost. A low-cost system may have only really solid feature. This may be the exact feature you need! An expensive system may have many features, and your pursuit of business growth into new channels and your need for real-time insights will require this.
This brings us to the ultimate question. Can inventory management software be too big for Its own good? The answer is no- kind of. Some platforms can be so comprehensive that only a select few clients can possibly utilize them all to the fullest degree. But, this kind of platform is perfect for them.
The software can’t be too big or too small- but the business can. You have to look at all the pieces, particularly size and cost, to see where you fit with your inventory management.