How do you choose the right inventory software for your company? You do it by looking at exactly what you want from it and finding a solution that best fits those criteria. There are four main things to consider when choosing between inventory software options:
Cost vs. Benefit – Make sure the software fits in your budget constraints and that it gives you the benefits you expect by implementing it.
Today’s Feature Requirements vs. Tomorrow’s Feature Requirements – You don’t want to have to keep switching solutions, so make sure the software is robust enough to meet your needs right now and far into the future.>
ERP vs. Inventory Software – Decide if you need a full-blown enterprise resource planning solution or a much less expensive inventory management solution.
Desktop vs. Cloud Solution – Some solutions require you to download a server and client while others forgo that step and let you access your files on any device with an Internet connection.
Join us as we dive more deeply into each of these criteria to help you choose the right inventory software!
Cost vs. Benefit – This is pretty straightforward. Before purchasing anything, whether it is inventory software or any other bit of hardware or software for your business, you should run a cost-benefit analysis on it to make sure you will receive a healthy return on investment. Once you implement inventory software in your business, you should be able to observe positive results fairly quickly. How quickly can your employees get trained on the system and get up to speed with it? How much money do you save by reducing warehouse staff requirements, carrying costs, and other expenses associated with your inventory?
The initial price you pay for the software should be swallowed up by all of the benefits you receive from it. If you find that your estimates do not justify the expenditure, you should look elsewhere until you find something that does.
Today’s Feature Requirements vs. Tomorrow’s Feature Requirements – You definitely want to make sure the inventory software you purchase is adequate for your needs right now, but it is equally as important to look down the road and see if it will continue to be a valuable asset to your company in the coming years. Businesses change and grow over time. Maybe you only have one location right now, but what about later when your business expands to the point that it needs to open a second warehouse to keep up with demand? Can the software handle inventory tracking across multiple locations?
You should choose wisely at the start and pick software that is in your price range. Be sure it can expand its feature set over time and give you access to more tools when you need them. Doing this will save you a lot of time and money. You will not have to switch solutions every few years, nor will you have to retrain your staff members on a new system each time. You can just keep using the same solution for the long haul and make use of more of its robust features when the need arises.
ERP vs. Inventory Software – If you want a complete breakdown of an ERP vs. inventory software, check out another article on it by clicking the link. That is a huge topic all by itself. For our purposes here, we will simply cover the basics. An ERP combines accounting, inventory management, customer relationship management, human resources, sales, business intelligence, and more into a single solution. As you can see, inventory management is just one small part of all that it does. Inventory software, as you might expect, is solely focused on inventory management. However, you can integrate that software with other business solutions, such as QuickBooks and Salesforce, to approximate the features of a full ERP, but at a fraction of the price you would normally pay for an ERP.
Most small businesses and even medium-sized businesses are completely priced out of the ERP market, and they do not even need the majority of the features offered in one. As long as they can keep track of their inventory, suppliers, multiple locations, and other inventory logistics, they can most likely stick with a simple inventory solution for quite a long time instead of having to upgrade to something as big as an ERP.
Desktop vs. Cloud Solution – Desktop inventory software is still quite popular among businesses because its server-client model allows for more complex inventory management features than a cloud solution. But don’t discount cloud solutions too much. They are constantly improving, and they do offer the ability to scan items in and out, monitor multiple locations, manage customers and vendors, generate sales orders and purchase orders, and much more. There are even some inventory apps that integrate with QuickBooks Online and other business solutions.
A key difference between the two is that desktop inventory software is generally accessible on desktop computers while cloud inventory software is accessible on any mobile or desktop device through a Web browser or app. Ask yourself if you value stability and comprehensive features or greater flexibility and accessibility. Depending on the way you answer that question, you will be able to tell if a desktop or cloud solution is best for your business.
Make the Right Choice – Fishbowl Manufacturing and Fishbowl Warehouse are the top-selling manufacturing and warehouse management solutions with QuickBooks users. Sign up for a free trial of Fishbowl today.
In order to choose the right inventory software, each business must individually compare: