Being behind the wheel of a small inventory-based business, have you ever felt immobilized and tied down by the busywork? When a business owner’s involvement in back-end processes takes away most of their time, there is just one thing to do – automate.Automation has come a long way from being a buzzword to becoming the only possible reality for small inventory-centered businesses. Most companies of this size can’t afford robot-like automation but they can come really close to making lots of work streams run smoothly without ongoing supervision. In this checklist, you will find areas that you can and should automate with the help of inventory management software.
1. Inventory data entry and lookup.
With inventory management software, information can be scanned in and out via a barcode scanner. Whether it is inventory counting, intake, adding items to transactions, verifying shipments, or making a new data entry, barcode technology increases your work output and ensures better data quality. Barcode labels can be automatically generated to include required information which, again, finds its way back into the app when a label is being scanned.
2. Quantity on hand updates across all storage locations.
All deductions are automatic and reflective of the real state of things within one or across multiple warehouses. Multi-location inventory tracking means being able to transfer and receive stock at a destination warehouse, causing inventory levels to be changed in lockstep.
3. Inventory counting.
Manual cycle counts are a huge red flag – they corrupt data and cause discrepancies which later shift your focus from getting your business ahead to catching inconsistencies and reconciling finances. Whether you are set to do a cycle count or physical inventory, stocktaking is so much faster with barcode scanners. As a result, the downtime is reduced significantly, and accuracy maximized.
Setting up replenishment triggers for each site individually helps stay up-to-speed on out-of-stocks, and facilitates purchase decision-making. Decentralized purchasing is tedious and inefficient in that the owner has very little idea of what the restocking needs of each storage location are Vs. what they should be like. Inventory management software can calculate average sales, predict future replenishment needs, alert users about products running low and automatically generate a purchase order. Ordered stock is then received into a warehouse against an associated PO, using a barcode scanner.
5. Order processes.
Order generation, pick pack order fulfillment, and invoicing take a couple of clicks/scans. Customer orders can be generated/reviewed/edited in the web or in a mobile app on the fly. During a pick/pack procedure, all items get scanned to make sure they match the ones in the order. An invoice can be generated automatically after packing and sent to the customer.
Returns management on paper or in spreadsheets is one of those big don’ts. Letting this data slip through the cracks could result in customer dissatisfaction and, potentially, accounting mess. Credit memos help you document returns and keep track of the money owed to the buyer.
7. Accounting data entry.
Thanks to seamless bi-directional integration, inventory data automatically flows into your accounting app, and syncs back per pre-set sync time or can be forced at any moment. Got a wrong number, or made a typo? No big deal! Just make edits on either end - and the update will be reflected on the other. The time-saving effect of this automation can’t be underestimated.
Assess your current processes, see if any/some/all of them require updating. You can get many steps ahead on things like growth, new business relationships, supply chain optimization, if you tap into automated inventory and sales management now. Get a free trial or request a live demo of HandiFox.