Business owners all over the world know how much it takes to keep things in order, both figuratively and practically. That’s why such thing as Inventory management has been an inseparable workflow part of many logistic, supply companies and marketplaces for much time. However, smaller fishes of the market, even those who aren’t anyhow connected with storing goods and transportation, realized that they need an easy way to keep their assets counted. Staff, services, navigation, project mockups, resources – it is the least part which inventory management takes care of.
Here we talk about the best inventory management tools for small businesses which can ease the workflow and make it more efficient.
Inventory Management Models
Basically, inventory is the whole amount of items needed to be sold or processed in a business. Briefly, it’s materials vital for workflow and production process. Some often don’t need to bother about the storage processes, while for others inventory management is crucial. The basic planning involves writing notes, simple listing, excel management, for more complex purposes we use dedicated management systems.
These are types of inventory widely used by businesses:
- Raw materials – items used to process and create the end product;
- Work-in-progress – everything to be dealing with during the production;
- Finished goods – products which are ready to be put on sell;
- Maintenance, Repair, Operations – components needed to keep your business producing.
Inventory Management Methods
Every mentioned model can be performed or arranged in several different ways. Various techniques are applied depending on the market specialization and accounting needs or simply convenience. Small businesses can pay attention to the following:
- First product rule: oldest items should used first, newest – later;
- Last product rule: last items placed are the first to be used, suitable for inflation periods, because the last purchased goods are made at the highest cost;
- JIT / just in time: keeping just enough materials or goods to satisfy current customers’ demand, hard to maintain, however, those who can strictly follow product schedules, manage to improve their overall efficiency and decrease storage expenses;
- EOQ / economic order quantity: includes various formulas to calculate the most effective plan to arrange holdings and define the suitable order quantity;
- Average costing: AC = total production / number of units produced, usually counted once in a certain period;
- Cycle counting: requires regular record adjustments + stockage of specific products, highlights the areas need to be improved;
- ABC analysis: defines what items are in higher/ moderate/ low demand, for how long to stock and when to restock;
- Advanced system: involves advanced computing technologies, automatically counts sales, purchases, usage, etc.
Best Inventory Software for Small Business in 2023
Katana is an ERP tool suitable for practically every industry. It has a bunch of specific automatic features which give businesses control of various kinds of inventory. Can’t but mention that all the management is arranged live, moreover, the system supports multichannel sales, online or personal. All the sales channels are separated and fully visible for the user, all the necessary data is provided to each channel respectively.
The manufacturer can get full receive and track items info by barcode scanning function. If the business has the intention to promote or sell items on e-commerce platforms, SKU management elements come in handy and ease the integration. Sometimes it’s vitally important to keep or track the items separately. Batch tracking in Katana assists to make items’ management and storage according to the manufacturer’s needs.
Possessing these many advantages, Katana has some cons like too frequent updates with complex features in comparison with some other inventory software. Thus, sometimes users complain about the new changes and claim previous versions to be much more simple to use.
Upserve definitely stands out from the crowd with its industry specificity and great convenience in use. You can create shift notes and perform workforce management easily. Also, tip adjustments and check-splitting functions are provided, so integration of clients and staff is managed perfectly. Integrated logbooks make the order and goods’ storage covered from the beginning to the end too. It’s worth mentioning that Upserve is a cloud-based solution which is available for both Android and iOS-based POS systems. The level of automation truly impresses and allows businesses to manage workflow easily, increase profits and productivity.
Same as Katana, Upserve users struggle with learning how to use all the features of the tool. Besides, it requires a perfectly stable Internet connection to run.
Ordoro is one of the best inventory management software for many businesses especially intended for e-commerce. It gives a bunch of great options to run the workflow and compete with big retailers of the market. Providing multichannel support, Ordoro keeps in touch with different platforms, and gives all the data about shipping, handling drop shipping, API details and advanced analytics about the project. Also, there you can get all the data about shipping and variants, and check out about different delivery providers or logistics companies.
It’s simple to maintain the work with product labels, especially create, save, return label information and email it to customers in one click. Unfortunately for the previous competitors, Ordoro doesn’t take any money to set up an account and start working, anyone can get started immediately, that’s why we call it one of the best free inventory management software, however, additional functions will work for charge.
Unfortunately for Ordoro users, it doesn’t support the live updates, so integration between Ordoro and a marketplace may take some time. Additionally, Ordoro doesn’t integrate with some of the most famous marketplaces, which can be a problem for many retailers.
Zoho inventory is a nice and simple cloud system for working with stocks. It is needed for those who face the stock amount and timing problems. The program assists in getting the location and warning about the stocks amount. It goes well with other Zoho stuff, which is handy for both starters to big fishes. One more key feature of Zoho is easy to understand and it has a really helpful technical support team which keeps in touch 24/7. Everything can be optimized quickly and easily with Zoho, that’s why we recommend it as one of the best inventory software for small business.
Sometimes customers complain that Zoho is lacking industry-specificity, and this problem turns out to make the tool inaccurate or incompatible for some companies. Also, it gives errors once in a while when trying to update stock shortages or overages data.
To wrap it up, this was our top of the best inventory management software for the various kinds of businesses that store, track and sell items and goods. To be sure that you have the software that fits your business type and needs, and would be able to maintain your workflows, providing all the necessary data, you always have an option to develop a custom inventory software tailored specifically to your requirements. Besides, there are some other software products which you can investigate about yourself and compare at websites like SoftwareWorld.
In this article we didn’t mention many of the best free inventory management software, mostly because the free inventory software doesn’t possess as many functions and features as the above-mentioned ones. Minding the fact that business owners would rather choose quality over quantity, we recommend paying attention to the software listed here.