Inventory management system must give visibility

////Inventory management system must give visibility

Adopting an inventory management system will likely be an important step for small companies to take in an effort to improve overall management and efficiency. Industry professional Lisa Steinhart said this is usually a sore spot for businesses, but when it is done correctly it can help increase revenue and help a company do their job in a way they were not previously able to. The key for adoption of this program should be visibility, she said.

"Having this complete vision would allow your inventory manager to fulfill orders more intelligently based on which warehouse, store or supplier has the item in stock and even which location is closest to the buyer so that shipping costs can be kept to a minimum," she said on MS Dynamics World. "Today, even the smallest businesses can control their margins to compete effectively, especially if the technology is used to implement two inventory strategies that can save time and money: ship-from-store and drop shipping."

Companies that operate stores should utilize the ship-from-store strategy, she said, as this will help reduce delivery time, lower the cost of shipping and satisfy customers via speedy delivery. Organizations that don't operate stores may see better use from drop shipping, which will shop items directly from the supplier to buyer. This is easier to scale, has a low overhead and is very easy to get started in.

Utilizing technology, such as the inventory management system, can help fortify these plans, but Steinhart said key capabilities in the technology are needed. Aside from visibility, she said organizations should look for a system that will connect channels together with ease, have an efficient workflow and support user-defined business rules to help make sure no items run too low.

Mobile inventory management could be an answer
C. Dwight Klappich, research vice president for Gartner, said the benefits of mobile inventory management will start in the warehouse, as new apps have been shifting the interface from the desktop to the notebook, smartphone and tablet. This will likely give a much better feel for their stock in real time, according to what he told TechTarget.

"The guys walking around the warehouse are using these disconnected mobile devices as a user interface connected to some other application, and the warehouse management system is feeding data to the inventory management system," he said.

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