Your manager just gave you a surreal task of finding the best inventory management software for your company and he told you to have it done by next week. You know you are going to need more time than that so you just pick off the first one that you searched online. The project expectedly blew up on your face and now you are wondering what you did wrong. If this does not feel familiar to you, then congratulations are in order because you still have a chance to save your job. Choosing an inventory management software is no simple task so your best bet is to learn from people who made mistakes and make sure you do not do them.
In this article, we are going to talk about the things that you should not do when choosing an inventory management software for your business. There are a lot of factors that you have to consider and a lot of information that you want to gather. The most crucial of which is probably are your company needs or the requirements, and the money and time they are willing to spend. Once you have all of that in the bag, it is time to get acquainted with the most common mistakes.
A Good Inventory Management Software Should Cost A Bit Of Money
You do not always get what you pay for but in the case of business software, you have to pay up or risk losing more money buying faulty software. Software development does the heavy lifting so you and your employees will not have to do it for you. This is the value that software adds to your company and if done properly, can push you towards your end goals. The same can be said about inventory management software. If you know anything about inventory management, you know just how expensive it is to make a mistake.
With that said, it doesn’t mean that a good inventory management software is going to bleed your company dry. There is a good amount of healthy competition among solution providers that provide adequate systems that you could buy on the cheap. If there is one aspect however that you wish to ensure, it would be the support. If they can promise to support operations for a little while after the deployment of the system, then, at the very least, you could fix any problems that could arise.
The Future Of Inventory Management Software Is The Cloud
Like most systems nowadays, the future of inventory management software systems is the cloud. If you are not familiar with it, think of the cloud as a remote location for your servers. This differs from what is more traditional which is the on-premise model wherein a company hosts their own systems and databases inside their server rooms. Both approaches have their merits and there are valid use cases for both approaches.
If you want to be able to access your inventory management system at any point in time and at any place in the world, then your best bet would probably be to push the software in the cloud. Of course, you could host your own projects via your own web server thereby transforming your data center into your own private cloud. However, if you are just doing this to host your inventory management software along with a few other systems that your company uses, then you might just be burning money. Servers cost a lot of capital and the amount they burn during operation is nothing to scoff at as well. Think of server rooms like a greenhouse inside out.
Cloud hosting allows you to pass on all the responsibility to your cloud providers. This means less debugging system failures and less worrying about hardware failures as well. Additionally, these cloud systems are battle tested and backed by multi-billion dollar tech companies. Thus, you would have the best possible engineering behind your own system.
There are certain scenarios where on-premise works better. Like for instance, if your company is big enough(I doubt it), then you could make a case of saving more money by owning the infrastructure as well. This does not erase the possible nightmare of managing the hardware however so you better consider the cost of on-site engineer salaries as well.
Inventory Management Software Is Essentially Database Systems Software
Remember the days when we all had to put our work in excel sheets, learn countless formulas that somehow makes it so easy to be difficult. One minute you are getting the sum of a column, and the next minute you are finding out how to bind your data from 1995. I too dread those times as I am spoiled by enterprise software and I will never look back.
The truth is those spreadsheets we love to loathe never really went away. And no I am not talking about the time you wanted to show off your skill in spreadsheet art. The columns and rows were simply transported into a more sturdy system called the database. The database holds all the information of your inventory and should be completely detached to the inventory tool, which is more commonly called the user interface, per se. In other words, you can easily replace, or make other versions of, the user interface of your system but you cannot easily replace the database.
This is why you should pay extra attention to how the inventory management software works in the background. Most software companies allow its customers to choose the database system they want for the software that they buy. This allows the customer to decide based on their company needs and budget.
Inventory Management Software Support
For any system deployed, the support that follows is most crucial. There is a saying in software development that goes anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I know it is not comforting but that is how robust systems are built. Accepting that there will be some problems encountered at some point allows the development to build upon its mistake and come up with a better version of the software.