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Any business must keep track of their inventory management, update the data, and track profits, needs and sales. 

Especially for small and medium business (SME), losing the ability to keep up with sales and demand will punish you a lot, which gives SME no chance to recover. 

That’s the reason why it is necessary to know about SME inventory management

Whether you manage inventory for your warehouses or track sales and assets across multiple retailer platforms like Amazon or eBay, inventory management helps you to track and control your supply, so that you can optimize your inventory and manage stock without mistakes.

While inventory control software can seem enormous at first, you can get used to it easily, especially if you start early.

So let’s dive into the ultimate guide of inventory management system for SMEs.

What is an inventory management system?

Investopedia refers to inventory management as a process of ordering, storing, and using a company’s inventory: raw materials, components, and finished products.

We define inventory management as a component of supply chain management that oversees the flow of items (products, goods, etc) as they move from the manufacturer to the warehouse and then to the point of sale.

Then, the inventory management system tracks goods through the above inventory management process. And a good inventory management system must help SME do all the difficult math.

Inventory management helps you track sales, shipments, and stock, so you can see which products are selling, and in what quantity.

You also know where are the fulfilment and even forecast the supply.

Why an SME needs an inventory management system

First of all, you need to know that there are two typical ways to manage SME’s inventory, range from Excel spreadsheets to a well-built Inventory management software, with each typical pros, cons, and use.

Excel Spreadsheets 

If you don’t have the budget for a dedicated inventory management software, then an Excel spreadsheet could be a solution for SME’s early stage.

Though the reduction of cost is quite cheaper (ranging from Free using Google Spreadsheets or up to $12.5/user/month with Microsoft Office 365 Business), you must take a lot of effort into tracking and analyzing your inventory just like you would with a software program.

Excel inventory management can become a lot more complicated, even with small businesses, when you forget to update or control the stock regularly, or when you have too many products.

All activities performed manually, without the help of a barcode scanner or POS system integration.

However, if an SME business doesn’t care about human error, or has a limited number of products and sales channels. 

They can use the built-in formulas to organize and order the number in Excel with the available time and simply no cost worry,

Creating running inventory totals, and sales data based on the period is also possible, so long as your Excel inputs are correct.

Inventory management software

Dedicated inventory management software like Magento ERP (integrated with Magestore Magento POS) of Magestore will get SME business over obstacles created by manual Excel Inventory.

Essentially, even if you are a fan of Excel, you can easily import or export to a CSV or XLSX file. With it, you can wipe out problems like manual errors or sort through backorders.

Note: You can check these tips to implement backorder in Magento efficiently.

According to SBA (Small Business Administration – a US government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses), poor inventory management is the 4th BIGGEST killer of SMEs.

And the statistics told the truth, 56% of small businesses end after 4 years with 90% of the cases be the mistakes from manual spreadsheets.

Here are the few benefits of using the Magestore inventory management system:

  • Improve inventory visibility
  • Better security by layered permission
  • Ensure a smooth and on-time order fulfilment
  • Seamless multichannel shopping experience
  • Reduce paperwork inaccurate automated process
  • Save time, effort, and operational costs
  • Insightful and more correct planning

SMEs inventory management must-have features (INFOGRAPHIC)

Basic features for SME Inventory Management software:

  • Basic inventory control
  • Barcoding and scanning
  • Demand forecasting

Advanced features for SME inventory management would be:

1. Barcode support

As your business and inventory grow, barcode management will be a great help by saving your time in finding products and reducing human errors, therefore boosting workflow efficiency.

2. Supplier and purchase management

Procurement is an important part to ensure you always have enough stock on hand for sales.

3. Magento POS integration

For businesses having both online and offline stores, quick integration between inventory and point of sale is vital, as you always want to know the latest stock status to sell and re-stock in time.

4. Inventory report

With reports, you can make better decisions and save more cost, knowing which location drives the highest sales, how much inventory you need, which warehouse is performing well.

And here is the infographic:

inventory management

Conclusion

There you have it, a complete guide of how to manage your inventory for an SME business.

I hope you already get an idea of what are the steps to successfully set up the configuration.

If you are an SME and is looking for a system that can help you connect both online and offline inventory. Do not hesitate to click the link below to have a free business consultation with our seasoned staffs.

Keenan Pham

Author Keenan Pham

Need more sales? Boost revenue and deliver a cohesive experience online and in-store with the world’s #1 POS for Magento - Magestore.com

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