Small Business Inventory Management
Small business inventory management will evolve over time as a company grows and/or adds additional products. Startups, new businesses, and businesses on the path to growth and expansion often begin managing inventory in a simple, inexpensive manner such as using an Excel spreadsheet for working with department specific data and formulas.
Sometimes the calculations and formula are limited to a single person in the company, which creates a point of weakness. You just need a change in staff for systems to be disrupted.
For example, warehousing sets up one system. Sales sets up another. Both are doing their best to maintain accurate inventory information when reporting their data to management. But when management receives different numbers because each department logs inventory activity at different stages of production, having accurate information to make decisions about the future is next to impossible.
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Spreadsheets are great, but they are only great as a local departmental solution. If you want to create a joined-up company, then you need to underpin that effort with a joined-up system, and that is where spreadsheets fail. You need an integrated business system where everyone is singing off the same hymn-sheet; where data is entered only once, and where everyone is relying on a single version of the truth.
Best Small Business Inventory Software
A simple inventory system for small businesses will unify information from every department so each is working with one data set. Each can enter information and update that same data set to a central system to generate the same numbers for sales as it does for warehousing. When an item is sold, it is instantly removed from inventory. Sales trigger other actions, and when enough sales of a certain product occur, levels drop to reorder points, then triggering a purchase order. Each area of the business talks to the other, ensuring production keeps pace with demand.
All the specialized functions performed by each department can be aggregated and housed in the business’s inventory software setup. And each department’s set of goals can be achieved with a single small business inventory tracking system:
Avoid running out of stock
Know when items are expiring and when promotions may be needed to move stock prior to that date
Maintain enough stock to account for normal increases in demand
Track products, batches, and lots for the entire duration a raw material or product is located at the business’s facility
Track sales, costs, produce invoices and reports, and communicate all information to accounting
If you are seeking to attract investment for growth, you will not get far with a business running on spreadsheets. Investors will be looking to see that you have implemented an integrated business system as a platform for growth. That way they can be confident you are working with accurate data to support accurate decision making.
SOS Inventory is the perfect operational stock control system for the small business. It is an invaluable tool for structuring information from every department to generate one clear picture of the entire organization.
Setting Up an Inventory System
Warehousing: Whether you buy, sell or manufacture products, the raw materials and/or products delivered to you by suppliers must be logged upon arrival by entering item name, category, description, expiration date, cost, and more. As each product is created in the system, it becomes available for other to access. Scanning information stored in a barcode hastens the process and reduces human error. A great deal of information can be associated with a barcode. SOS Inventory allows you to generate and print out barcode labels that can be scanned with any mobile device on location.
Production: Someone in production might take that item and create an assembly, a build, or a kit. Inventory software will remove raw material or product from inventory used to create them to ensure items used up in production will be reordered when the counts drop to a predetermined number.
Products might be assigned serial numbers, lot numbers or batch numbers to track groups of products created with the same materials and at the same time. The ability to track and trace products a step forward or backwards empowers the business to quickly locate any items that may have been created with faulty materials.
Fulfillment: You could be a business with a single location or one with multiple locations choosing to ship from the warehouse closest to the customer. Your central system must account for products at all facilities as costs can vary, and so inventory counts are updated no matter the order origination point. When an order is ready to ship, the system must know what ships, where it goes, what it costs, what the customer paid and what to invoice. Small business inventory management software plays a crucial role that would be impossible to achieve with spreadsheets. Some of the vital function performed in SOS include generating bills of lading, backorder management, packing slips, partial shipments, drop shipments, pick tickets, UPS shipping integration, and ShipStation integration.
Sales: When you create a sales order in SOS Inventory, you gain complete control over customer information, order management, and advanced reporting features. Create estimates, quotes, sales receipts, credit memos, rentals and consignments, contract pricing, commission tiers, returns, credit holds and more.
Accounting: QuickBooks Integration
Millions of QuickBooks Online users across the globe enjoy the convenience of Intuit’s cloud-based software to manage their business finances. But each industry is unique, and many have needs that extend well beyond QBO’s capabilities. That’s where a great inventory application like SOS Inventory comes in. Designed to work with QuickBooks Online, SOS broadens the functionality to perform many of the essential operational tasks required by companies that create or sell products.
Better inventory decisions breed a sounder business future. When making choices based on data, not educated guesses, your business can prepare for growth, predict demand, determine where to spend money and have a better understanding of its performance. SOS Inventory was tailor-made to meet small business inventory management needs with advanced functionality for manufacturing, orders, and stock.
Isn’t it time you took control of your inventory with SOS Inventory software?