Having the right inventory management software allows manufacturers to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, challenges or evolving business models. After overcoming early stage challenges, fast growing manufacturing businesses need to think about scaling up, expanding their markets, increasing sales, and building their customer bases while increasing profitability.
If a manufacturing company is using spreadsheets to manage inventory; continually finding itself in either overstocked or understocked positions; and dealing with inventory counts that don’t align with actual inventory available, then it’s probably already losing money and customers.
Rather than wasting time, money and resources maintaining a complex IT infrastructure, today’s manufacturers are choosing SaaS-based inventory management solutions that can not only meet their current needs, but also adapt quickly to the future needs of an expanding organization. By helping manufacturers reduce manual work and streamline their operations, a scalable inventory management solution can reduce costs, improve efficiencies and increase productivity. So, how can modern inventory management software help manufacturers solve their biggest pain points, and how to pick a solution that will scale with the business?
Assess Your Pain Points
Achieving optimal inventory levels requires a delicate balance. Have too little and you end up with stock-outs and unhappy customers, too much and you’re carrying additional costs, taking up valuable space and potentially stocking obsolete inventory. Manufacturers must examine their inventory management processes and come up with strategies that can meet customer demands while also cutting down inventory costs. Businesses must also focus on reducing uncertainty due to fluctuations in demand, stock-outs, order duplications, etc. Together, these problems can lead to substantial financial losses – all of which can be mitigated by using an inventory management system that delivers real-time inventory visibility.
Ensure Optimal Quality Control
Quality management allows your employees to quickly identify and separate non-conforming inventory. It is an important part of inventory control and helps you improve relationships with your customers, vendors and distributors. Manufacturers need to collect all the available information about their manufacturing processes without having to wait until the end of the production run. Modern, cloud-based inventory management software can help manufacturers identify potential issues, reduce downtime, and measure output – all in real time. All this information must be available to your ERP system so that advanced analytics can be used to discover potential process improvements on an ongoing basis.
Enable Real-Time Information Sharing
Inventory management extends throughout the supply chain, from the point of origin to the end user. It can either tie up cash and reduce profits when you overstock and impact customer satisfaction when you don’t hold enough inventory, or it can reduce costs and improve bottom lines when managed well. In the past, companies tried to avoid these issues by performing physical counts out in the warehouse and then reconciling those counts making it a manual, error-prone process. Modern, SaaS-based inventory management software enables real-time updates of inventory counts, and this information can be readily shared with all users across multiple business units and locations.
Configure for Scalability
Outdated applications and software could have been developed on older architectures and because of this, they can’t scale to keep up with rapid growth or integrate with other systems. Manufacturers need to move away from proprietary, on-premise systems that offer low levels of flexibility, and instead leverage cloud-based platforms with capabilities that can be scaled up or down as per business needs.
Take a Phased Approach
By taking a step-by-step approach instead of rushing into a big-bang implementation, manufacturers can build a robust inventory management approach and set the business up for future success. Manufacturers gain full visibility into their inventory and the ability to make fast, accurate decisions regarding the allocation of orders and products. Assessing a manufacturing business’ current status, identifying any technology gaps and reviewing its future plans can all help set manufacturers on the right path.