Ultimately, your inventory is your business’s largest asset, so you should be safe in the knowledge that it is being managed seamlessly and without any issues.
With this in mind, we have outlined four key things that you should be assessing, to help you understand whether or not it is time to look for a reliable and scalable inventory management system that will meet your business' needs.
Your existing system doesn't integrate with all of your selling channels
Trying to find an inventory management provider that integrates with all of your selling channels isn’t always the easiest of tasks, particularly if you sell on some of the more niche marketplaces.
The key thing to bear in mind, however, is that any reputable solution should have integrations with the leading marketplaces, eCommerce platforms and shipping couriers.
If your current provider doesn’t, you should really seek to understand whether they plan to in the near future.
Remember, just because you don’t currently integrate with a certain marketplace or courier, this might change going forward, so it is definitely worth using a system that can scale with the growth of your business.
In reality, it just isn’t viable for a provider to develop core integrations with every single selling channel available, which is why it is becoming more and more important to use a solution that operates its own Application Store, and has made its API available to 3rd party developers.
This specifically enables you to develop your own integrations, or take advantage of the integrations that have already been created as apps. In addition to this, you will also be able to develop apps and add-ons that help you get even more from the system.
Your platform is a shareholder of your company
As an online business, you should avoid using any Inventory Management System that charges commission, as it can be detrimental to your bottom line. Typically, commission charged by inventory management providers is typically around 1.5% on your gross turnover. As your business grows, this can quickly add up and with inflation and other increasing costs, your profit margins can very quickly plummet.
It's also worth keeping in mind that if you are using another platform that charges commission, for example a marketplace, website provider or an eCommerce provider, you may find yourself paying two different platforms commission on the same sales.
The system has limited functionality
If the system you are currently using has limited functionality, it’s worth keeping in mind that this could have a real impact on your growth plans. While it might fit your needs in the short term, if you are wanting to grow your business, you will ultimately need a solution that is capable of scaling with your growth.
Aside from the obvious functionality, such as being able to access real-time data, enable automatic re-ordering and manage multiple warehouses, you should also look for a solution that offers customisation and scripting options, advanced reporting and a quality list of integrations.
Alternatively, if the more advanced functionality is only available to users on the higher tiered subscription plans, it may also be worth looking for a solution that offers full access to features, across all plan types.
You are experiencing too many problems with your existing solution
The bottom line is, if your current system isn’t meeting expectations, it might be worth looking for an alternative solution.
In reality, all software solutions will experience the occasional issue and most of the time this may actually be out of their control – server downtime, broadband issues etc.
If, however, you feel that these problems are holding you back from effectively growing your business, it may be worth looking at other inventory management systems available to you.