The adoption of a new software tool may seem like going down the rabbit hole. But it is not, if you map out your journey and plan the transition well. In reality, a lot of small business owners simply don’t know where to start and what lies ahead. They are concerned about how this new tool will work with their existing accounting solutions, or what hardware they will need to purchase, and how their internal and external processes will transform, and, above all, what expenses all of this might entail.
To ease you into the adoption of automated inventory management, we’ve brought together 3 industry experts on this roundup to learn what factors should be considered, what kind of prep work done or expectations set before integrating new inventory management software into small business inventory and sales processes.
Scott Gregory, QuickBooks consultant, Better Bottomline Accounting
Tip #1: Before shopping for new inventory software, be certain you have your current (and future) inventory related processes mapped out and understood internally. Without that, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a software vendor to try and put together an effective demo of their package. Plus, this will help clear up any internal misunderstandings about what is actually happening within your inventory management so everyone is on the same page.
Tip #2: Be sure to develop your list of “must have” and “nice to have” features and functionality before sitting in on a software demo. The “must have” features are those your business really needs to function every day – barcoding? Lot tracking with expiration dates? Landed cost? The “nice to have” features are those that would be a bonus for your business to use, but aren’t mandatory for your current and/or proposed future workflows and needs.
Tip #3: Allow ample time for implementation and training on the new software platform. Rushing a project leads to cutting corners and mistakes, all of which can be exceptionally costly to your business.
Harshit Singh, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Ace Cloud Accounting
While considering inventory management software, the first thing that comes to mind is cloud capability. Cloud capability is especially important in the current situation when most people are working remotely. If cloud capability is not available, check with the vendor regarding hosting options. Hosting your inventory management software along with accounting software such as QuickBooks can help you work remotely at any time and anywhere. In addition to that, while considering inventory management software pay attention to the post-sales support provided by the software vendor. You don't want to be stuck with problems with no one to help you.
Greg Seelbach, MSS Software
My experience is that the operations side of a business is often overlooked and not completely understood by senior leaders of the business which is unfortunate because the operations usually represent the best opportunity for cost savings in terms of using manpower more efficiently and reducing days of inventory on hand. Businesses who are currently using paper and pencil or simple spreadsheets are taking a work harder, not smarter approach to their business.
If you are an operations manager or warehouse operator who is considering inventory software, we encourage you to get senior leaders involved early in the decision making process so they can ease into the concepts and you can work together to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) which may be used to judge how the business is performing today, where you plan for it to be after deploying inventory scanning equipment, and then calculate a breakeven point.
The reason why adopting new software might strike so many small companies as painful and disruptive is because they failed to envision what sort of questions they should have asked themselves and the vendor, as well the inevitability of the multiple bumps in the road. Using these tips will get you off for a good start.