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With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more
Sortly Pro is a cloud-based inventory management solution that caters to small and midsize businesses across various industries. Key features include activity tracking, location tracking, inventory management, barcoding and audit ...Read more
Odoo Point of Sale (POS) is part of Odoo’s integrated suite of business applications. The module is available both on and offline and provides unified data across stores and has an integrated inventory management function.
monday.com, an award-winning collaboration and project management platform, helps teams plan together efficiently and execute complex projects to deliver results on time. monday.com team management and task management tool allows ...Read more
Megaventory is a cost-effective, Web-based inventory management system. Designed with small businesses in mind, Megaventory includes standard features such as order management, demand forecasting and reporting capabilities....Read more
Zoho Inventory is a cloud-based inventory management solution designed for small to midsize businesses. It features inventory management modules including reporting and analysis, vendor managed inventory and lot traceability. It f...Read more
EZOfficeInventory is a dynamic asset and maintenance management solution tailored for companies of all sizes. The cloud-based software works as you do and is accessible from anywhere and at any time.
Track items across locati...Read more
Companies adopting SCP 4.0 have reported up to 65% inventory reductions and annual savings over $2 million. This vendor managed inventory and demand planning solution provides great suggestions to keep inventory on target....Read more
QuickBooks Commerce is a powerful cloud-based inventory and order management software for modern online businesses. Seamless integration across all major e-commerce platforms ensures that product listings, orders, and data stay up...Read more
Sellbrite is a cloud-based inventory management solution designed for small and midsize companies. It offers order management, product management, channel analytics and inventory control functionalities within a suite.
One Platform. Total Commerce Control.
Linnworks is a leading commerce automation platform that works with the world’s major marketplaces and selling channels.
Linnworks connects, manages and automates commerce operations, power...Read more
Veeqo is an all-in-one inventory and fulfillment platform that gets your ecommerce business ready for growth. Built on 30+ ecommerce and shipping integrations, Veeqo unifies your inventory and orders, speeds up your dispatch, and ...Read more
Wasp Inventory Control, designed specifically for small businesses, offers supplier management, inventory management, demand forecasting, reporting and analysis, and more. It is an on-premise solution....Read more
SkuVault is a cloud-based warehouse management software designed for small and medium-sized omnichannel businesses with a focus in eCommerce. SkuVault features warehouse management applications that include multi-warehouse invento...Read more
HandiFox is an inventory tracking and sales management system designed for small to midsize inventory-centric businesses in a variety of industries, such as retail, wholesale/distribution and manufacturing.
The app is availab...Read more
Brightpearl is omnichannel-native and designed specifically for retail. It is built to reliably handle peak trading, and it integrates with the full retail tech ecosystem, providing real-time trading insights. And it’s all automat...Read more
Solid Commerce is a cloud-based inventory management solution that caters to businesses of all sizes across various industries such as computer software, apparel and fashion, consumer goods, business supplies, retail, and more. Ke...Read more
DEAR Systems is a cloud-based ERP solution for small to midsized retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and e-commerce operators. This comprehensive solution includes modules such as e-commerce, manufacturing, purchasing, sales, i...Read more
Finale Inventory is an intuitive, cloud-based inventory management system that is easy to use while also designed to scale to the demands of a growing business. Seamlessly handle all stock movements from purchasing through to sale...Read more
SellerCloud is a multi-channel e-commerce platform designed for organizations of all sizes. It synchronizes online inventory and distribution, provides real-time reports, and generates shipping information. The system's single-sou...Read more
Inventory control is a complex process with multiple moving parts, quite literally. Any business that deals in physical products needs to maintain its inventory, whether that means transporting or selling products, or assembling them into a different product. In each case, it's essential to always have the right amount of necessary goods on hand.
Selecting the right inventory control software to help you with this process can make your job a lot easier, but choosing that software can be a challenge. The subtle differences between "inventory control" and "inventory management" can also be confusing.
This article will help guide you through this process, so you can choose the inventory control system that best fits your business needs.
Inventory control (sometimes also called "stock control," a term used synonymously) means monitoring a company's inventory of products to ensure that slow-selling or little-used items are not overstocked. This way, the business can save money, time and warehouse space by not acquiring products or materials that are unnecessary. The ultimate goal of inventory control is to create maximum profit from the least investment in inventory, without negatively impacting customer satisfaction.
Inventory control systems can automate the monitoring and tracking of your products via their inventory codes, eliminating the need for time-consuming pen and paper logs or Excel spreadsheets. The software relies upon tracking items via barcodes (which you can create and customize) as products move in and out of your warehouse. It can provide automated alerts and reports as those items are checked in or out by various parties.
Inventory Control Software vs. Inventory Management Software
Whereas inventory control is the process of ensuring that you have the ideal amount of stock, inventory management is focused on most efficiently organizing and managing stock, so that reorders happen at the exact right moment.
According to major inventory control and inventory management vendor Fishbowl Inventory, the difference can be stated as follows:
Inventory control: "Focuses on cutting the number of slow-selling products a company purchases. This saves businesses time and money because they don't have to spend lots of man-hours reordering and receiving goods that they don't really need."
Inventory management: "Focuses on quickly and efficiently reordering products...Stocking up on products primarily because they can be obtained at a cheaper price will most likely lead to more products spoiling and becoming obsolete, as well as creating an inefficient use of storage space."
The two processes clearly complement one another, and thus many vendors will offer both inventory control and inventory management features, either in a shared package or divided up into separate offerings that can be integrated together.
The most typical inventory control system features are explained in the following table:
Enables you to track your entire inventory. This feature allows you to track your products by site, location, serial number, lot, date and/or pallet.
Create an inventory system that fits your needs, with flexibility in creating your own inventory and shipping labels.
Track items as they move through the warehouse to employees, vendors or customers, preventing them from getting lost along the way.
Receive automated notifications about low inventory levels, expiring items, overstocked items and reorder points to help you better keep track of inventory levels.
Run periodic audits of your inventory and generate reports so you can track your stock and recognize problems before they develop.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
When considering inventory control software, you should take the following factors about your organization into account:
Industry. Your inventory control needs will vary greatly depending upon the type of industry you're buying for. Retailers will have very different needs from manufacturers, who will in turn have very different needs from distributors. Specific inventory control systems address the unique needs of different industries and may even have functionality that is directly suited to specialty niches within larger industries.
Company size. You should consider whether your company is a small business with one location; a midsize business with multiple locations within a relatively small geographical area or a large, enterprise-level business, with multiple lots located across a wide area. You will need an inventory control system that fits the needs of your particular business segment and the levels of complexity that come with any increases in size.
Be wary of overpaying for robust systems that have more capabilities than you need, but also be sure not to underestimate your needs.
Software needs. Consider carefully whether you are just looking for inventory control, or if you have greater automation, tracking and reporting needs. You may be looking to combine inventory control with inventory management, for example, or you may need an inventory control system that is part of a larger suite that includes other essential features such as supply chain management, warehouse management and/or business intelligence.
Benefits and Potential Issues of Inventory Control Systems
The obvious benefit of inventory control software is that it allows you to automate the process of tracking your company's inventory. It helps you figure out how much of a certain product you need to have in stock, without overages that mean you're stocking extra product with no attendant extra profit. Automation lets you take control of your inventory in a way that would prove exceedingly complex and complicated using spreadsheets or pen and paper.
Through inventory control, you can keep the right amount of raw materials and finished goods on hand and automatically place reorders at the right moment to maximize profit while minimizing stock overage.
However, because inventory control systems rely heavily upon barcode scanning, it does come with certain hardware requirements. Many vendors have mobile apps that can scan barcodes via smartphones or other mobile devices, while others may provide the necessary scanning hardware, potentially at an additional cost.
Market Trends to Understand
Here are some market trends you should consider as you select a product:
Mobile functionality. Largely provided by apps for phones and tablets, mobile functionality is a significant technological shift across most industries, and inventory control software is no different. In these contexts, apps connected to the inventory database can enable employees to scan barcodes throughout the warehouse without having to refer to a desktop computer.
Cloud-based software.Cloud-based systems, which are increasingly popular, require less hardware than on-premises software. They also require less IT knowledge (ideal for small businesses without an IT department), have lower upfront costs and are more quickly implemented, making them a good choice for smaller businesses in particular.