WHAT IS AN INVENTORY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?
Inventory management systems track goods through the entire supply chain or the portion of it a business operates in. That covers everything from production to retail, warehousing to shipping, and all the movements of stock and parts between.Practically, it means a business can see all the small moving parts of its operations, allowing it to make better decisions and investments. Different inventory managers focus on different parts of the supply chain.
Inventory management software systems generally began as simple spreadsheets that tracked the quantities of goods in a warehouse, but have become more complex. Inventory management software can now go several layers deep and integrate with accounting and ERP systems. The systems keep track of goods in inventory, sometimes across several warehouse locations. The software also calculates the costs — often in multiple currencies — so that accounting systems always have an accurate assessment of the value of the goods.Some inventory management software systems are designed for large enterprises, and they may be heavily customized for the particular requirements of those organizations.
INVENTORY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FEATURES
Let’s start at the beginning and work our way toward the point of sale. Again, the software you choose to manage your inventory could offer any, or all, of these features, depending on your needs and budget. Each industry has its unique requirements, but all inventory management systems will likely include:
- Reporting tools
- Inventory forecasting
- Inventory alerts
- Accounting tools or tie-ins