by Erin Steiner
If you plan on keeping and managing inventory as part of your business, you are going to need to invest in some inventory tracking software. Yes, even if you plan on keeping your inventory supply relatively low
Why Use Inventory Software
The simple fact is that using software to track your supplies and products can help your business in all sorts of ways. Here are just three of them.
- Time savings: Imagine being able to know exactly what you have on hand with just a few keystrokes and clicks of a mouse.
- Intuition: How often do you run out of something because you didn’t realize you were running low in time to get more ordered? Alternatively, do you know which products are selling the best and which don’t move as well? Software can help you in all of these areas.
- Saving money: How often have you lost a sale because you didn’t have something on hand? How many times have you ordered too much of one thing but not enough of another? Inventory software can help you fix all of that.
How To Choose the Best Software
This doesn’t mean that all inventory tracking software is created equal. Some programs are definitely better than others. So how do you tell which ones are good for your business?
- How well does it integrate with your accounting software? The last thing you need is for a software glitch to keep your inventory program from communicating with your accounting software. You want the two to be compatible and be able to talk to each other.
- What kind of range of access do you need? Are you managing your business from one central computer in your office? Do you have several different storefronts? Are you somewhere in between? You need to find software that can be installed and matched across however many terminals you’ve got.
- Do you travel? If you spend a lot of time traveling for your business, you might want software that is web or cloud based. This will give you access to your supply and demand information no matter where you are.
- How much does it cost? As a small business owner or independent entrepreneur, cost is a big issue. You don’t want to bury yourself financially if you don’t have to. How much can you afford to spend?
- Which brands are the best? It’s good to help lesser known brands earn some more recognition. There is, though, something to be said for a company earning a good reputation and putting that reputation to work for your own company. So, which companies are the best? Which software programs are most worth your investment and trust?
The QuickBooks Inventory Management system is where most small business owners and independent entrepreneurs start out. This is partly because QuickBooks is the go-to for small and independent business accounting and because Intuit offers some really great small business tools. Why wouldn’t you want to go with the system that is built to integrate with the systems you’re already running? The price (less than a thousand dollars a year) is another major selling point.
Fishbowl is an industry standard in small business inventory management. This is because, for a long time, it was the only software that was easy to integrate with QuickBooks. Now there are lots of other options that will work with QuickBooks, but Fishbowl is still one of the most popular and well-respected inventory software programs out there.
The pricing for this system varies depending on how extensive you need it to be for your business.
Wasp Barcode Technologies
In addition to inventory tracking software, Wasp Barcode Technologies also offers printers and software that will help you generate and print your own barcodes for your products. This is especially helpful if you are designing and building all of your products yourself.
The programs hook right up to QuickBooks. The prices vary depending on what you need, but being able to get all of the software and equipment you require from a single provider is a pretty good deal no matter what the price, right?
Sage 50 used to be called Sage Peachtree, and it is one of the world’s most widely respected inventory control software programs available. Sage 50 has integrated accounting software that will help you with your accounting and bookkeeping needs as well as help you track your products from start to finish. It will track a variety of metrics for you as well. You won’t even need QuickBooks integration because this software has all of that covered.
Openbravo was recently ranked at the top of Tech Crunch’s “Five Top Apps for Managing Inventory.” Openbravo can help you track your products and inventory across a variety of vendors, which is something that can be very helpful, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience running a business that operates out of more than one location. You can even set it up to be web based, which will allow you to check your inventory and supplies wherever you are and whenever you feel the need to do so.
These are just a few of the bigger names in inventory management software. Do you have experience working with a different program? What has that experience been like?