How to prepare your business for an inventory management system

As logistical supply chains become increasing complex and as consumers begin to expect a more streamlined and efficient services, keeping track of your stock can prove a daunting task for many enterprises. To put it bluntly; spreadsheets and clipboards are no longer adequate tools to get the job done.

Many businesses are making the switch to an inventory management system and even investing in cloud-based solutions. But if your business has relied on pen and paper stock control up until now, how do you know you will be ready to make the change? Let’s take a look at how you can make sure your business is ready to switch over to inventory management system.

Work out what your needs are

The first step in implementing inventory management system is identifying what the needs of such a system would be. This process requires you to map out all of the stages in the supply chain of your business and declaiming key decision points at each subsequent stage.

You can make use of previous performance data (even if it’s anecdotal) to help highlight the areas of your current stock control system. For example, do you routinely run out of stock or do you end up wasting money storing unused items?

Build reliable stock control principles

An inventory management system is not a cure-all for inadequate stock control and you will need to change the way in which you work to get the best use out of it. Strong principles are required to ensure that you inventory management system is implemented successfully.

You should set up a series of guiding principles that will help ensure that your supply chain operate reliably and efficiently. Once you have developed a map of your supply chain, business leaders can begin to set out how each stage should operate.

Choosing a preferential solution

You have a lot of options when it comes to selecting an inventory management system as there are many cloud-based options on display. Making a concrete decision on which solution to go with is a sign that you’re ready to implement it, but making that choice can prove difficult.

Some crucial queries include whether or not the solution you prefer supports real time stock control as well as special tools for mobile sales and barcoding. It will also be important to understand the likely cost of implementing your chosen inventory management system as you may need to pay a large fee upfront or sign up to subscription so that you always have the latest technology.

If a trial is available, consider using that.

Getting support of stakeholders

Once you have worked out your businesses’ stock control needs and chosen an inventory management system, you need to make sure all stakeholders are in agreement on using it. In this context you need to advocate for the practicality of the new tool and how it will improve ROI.

Carrying out a plan to transition

It’s essential that you have a detailed plan on how to manage the transition to the new inventory management system. The implementation of a cloud-based solution is pretty simple, although there is room for setbacks to occur if poorly managed.

The plan should highlight how the team will deal with any hiccups during this phase and how you will prevent any from occurring to begin with. A simple example is to double check all of your data for the first few weeks to make sure everything is running smoothly.

If you are able to satisfy the above points, then it’s a sign that your business is more than ready to switch over to an inventory management system.

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