As a small business owner in our increasingly digital world, automation is a key element that can give you an edge in your operations.
Inventory management automation is one of the best ways to start your SMB’s digital transformation. But what exactly is inventory management automation? And how can you use it to make your business more efficient? Let’s take a look.
What is inventory management automation?
Inventory automation involves using software and technology to automatically manage your inventory and orders with little human intervention or effort.
Automation helps all your essential processes keep ticking away in the background so you can focus on more important things. It can help you increase efficiency, save money, improve customer service, and strengthen your company’s competitive edge.
What are the benefits of inventory management automation?
Managing inventory and orders involves many overlapping, interconnected processes, from stock-taking to order fulfilment to warehouse management. These processes take time and energy to maintain, and things may go wrong if they’re not well monitored or managed.
Automation sets out to simplify your operations and take the burden of keeping track of everything manually off your team’s shoulders.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of inventory automation.
Automation saves you time
Automation offers small businesses a substantial time-saving opportunity. This increased efficiency frees up valuable staff resources for more important tasks like bringing in new customers, offering support, providing a great customer experience, and pursuing growth strategies.
Inventory management automation can speed up tasks like demand forecasting, reordering materials when stock is low, order picking and packaging, and accounting.
For example, you can use RFID technology to automatically track where items are within your warehouse. Because you can see where everything is at a glance, your order fulfilment team doesn’t have to go searching and can quickly find what they’re looking for. With the time saved, they can fulfil more orders and help reduce your order processing time.
Automation saves money
Keeping the right amount of stock is always a challenge — especially when customer demand keeps shifting. An automated inventory management system can help you adjust your stock levels based on real-time sales and historical data. It also keeps track of your warehouse space, product categories, expiration dates, and more. Having a real-time overview of all these things helps you make smarter decisions that save you money in the short and long term.
Plus, moving away from manual processes lets you focus on winning new business, developing new offerings, and expanding into new markets — all of which can help your business grow.
Automation improves accuracy
You know your business best and have spent valuable time building up processes that work for you. But you and your team are human, and sometimes mistakes happen. And manual inventory management using things like spreadsheets can be particularly error-prone thanks to the need for manual updates and potentially having multiple copies of files floating around.
An automated inventory and order management system can keep track of everything for you. No more editing Excel cells or tracking down who made the latest update. The best systems will fit seamlessly into how you work best and give you the peace of mind that all your data is accurate and up to date.
How can you start automating your SMB’s inventory management?
Automating your SMB’s inventory management process is easier than you think. Here’s how to get started.
1. Audit your current system
Take a look at your current system and processes to identify any areas for improvement or optimisation. Completing a full audit of your current system is an excellent way to ‘health check’ your operations and see what may be lacking.
2. Ditch the spreadsheets
We know spreadsheets are familiar and popular, but trust us, the sooner you move away from manual data entry, the easier keeping track of your business processes will become.
Read more about how spreadsheets slow you down in this blog post.
3. Map out what you want your new system to include
Once you’ve decided to make the switch, it’s time to figure out what features and functionality your new system should include. Remember, each business will have unique needs and requirements. That’s why we’re all about configurability at Workhorse, so you get access to exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.
A few standout features to consider include:
- A central dashboard that gives you a clear overview of everything
- Real-time inventory tracking
- Automated billing and invoicing
- Integrations with your other tools
- Warehouse mapping
- The ability to add features as you grow
Find the right order and inventory management software
Once you know what features you need, it’s time to find the right software. Look for software that integrates with your other systems, like accounting programs or customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
If you are looking for the perfect order and inventory management software for your business, try Workhorse. Our software lets SMBs take complete control of their operations and inventory.
Here’s why businesses choose us to streamline their processes and boost efficiency.
- Built for you: Our software, which includes a centralised dashboard, is fully configurable for your specific needs.
- Easy to use: Workhorse is simple to use. But we also provide in-depth onboarding to help you get the most out of your configuration.
- Excellent support: Workhorse is a small business too, and we know how frustrating it can be to get stuck in a chatbot or support email loop when you have a problem. That’s why there’s always a real person (like Dan!) on the other end of the phone or email. We’re always here to help.
- Seamless: Integrates seamlessly with Xero.
- Affordable: Our unique approach means we can fit our software to your needs without breaking the bank.
Find out how Workhorse can help your business grow with a free trial today.