So far in this series we’ve discussed the basics of inventory management. We’ve talked about what it is, who needs it, the benefits, and potential consequences of not having it. Now, it’s time to move onto the next question: What are your options? In this installment, we will talk about the different inventory management options available to you. With all the diverse creation and customization options available, there’s something for everyone.
Build vs. Subscribe
You may choose to build your own system, but this method is high risk. Building a system also requires more IT resources and long term internal maintenance commitment. As a result, this option comes with a high development price tag. On the other hand, subscribing to a service has a much lower risk. At a fixed monthly price, the total cost of ownership is lower. Furthermore, with provided maintenance and support you will need little to no IT support.
Licensed vs. Cloud
Licensing a system is costly and requires a lot of effort to support. The lengthy setup requires you purchase hardware, software, a database, etc. You must also stay on top of your security. In contrast, cloud systems are much less costly and support and security are provided for you. The setup process is easier and doesn’t require extra purchases.
Inventory Control vs. Inventory Tracking
What’s the difference? Inventory Control allows you to view what’s coming in and what’s going out. However, Inventory Tracking gives you a lot more info. You will have access to lot numbers, serial numbers, expiration dates, and more.
Here’s 3 more inventory management options you have:
- Manual Entry vs. Bar-code Scanning
If you have many items and need access to info about those items, bar-code scanning is the better choice to avoid errors. With bar-code you also have the choice between wedge, data capture, and wifi. With wedge, you’ll be tethered to a computer. Data capture allows you to scan anywhere, but you’ll still have to put that data in the computer. However, wifi allows you to scan anywhere in real-time.
- Automatic Replan vs. No Replan
With automatic replan, you can set parameters for your system. The system will use these to check if you need more inventory, send you alerts, send POs to your supplier, etc. Having this function can save you time and money.
- Adapters and APIs
Do you need to push or pull info from other systems? If so, APIs can save you time and money as you won’t have to reenter data in multiple systems.
In conclusion, there’s a wide range of choice when it comes to inventory management. It’s important to pick the right options that suit your needs. In the next installment of this series, we will discuss why you should do something about your inventory management.