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Inventory Management Software

Inventory Management systems monitor inventory levels to ensure optimal production and distribution of wholesale or retail goods. Inventory tracking systems enable organizations to efficiently manage inventory as well as procurement and order fulfillment functions. Inventory Management solutions ensure accurate real-time tracking and reporting, as well as the ability to distribute this essential data across multiple locations and throughout an enterprise. Inventory Management software is related to Inventory Control software and Supply Chain Management software. Find the best software for Inventory Management for your organization in Canada.

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Connect your inventory, sales channels, orders and warehouses in one automated solution with built-in EDI and 700 integrations. Learn more about Cin7 Omni
Cin7 connects your inventory, sales channels, orders and warehouses in one automated inventory management software with built-in EDI and integrations to all the popular eCommerce platforms, marketplaces, accounting tools, and 3PLs. Designed for SMBs, its real time data gives you a full picture of your products from procurement to order fulfillment. Cin7 provides exceptional automations, workflows, reports, and analysis to enable brands, manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers to operate efficiently as they scale. Learn more about Cin7 Omni

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The secret powering small businesses in 90+ countries worldwide. Track stock, manage sales, pick and ship orders, and more, Learn more about inFlow Inventory
inFlow Inventory is the easiest way to run your wholesale, distribution, manufacturing, or ecommerce business. Track stock across any location and manage purchases and sales—all from one app. inFlow helps you manage any order or process from start to finish, with full pick/pack/ship support, BOM and assemblies, and connections to over 35 different ecommerce platforms. We offer in-house support via live chat, email, and callback. Click Visit Website to start your free 14-day trial now. Learn more about inFlow Inventory

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Manage your production floor with Fusion Operations by Autodesk. Eliminate unnecessary costs, and speed up time to market. Learn more about Fusion Operations
Fusion Operations by Autodesk is a Manufacturing Execution System for all levels of production, giving you the solution you need for keeping on top of production. Gain insights to predict machine downtime, track production progress, identify bottlenecks and eliminate waste through a fully digital and automated operations tool. Track orders and shipping, schedule and manage your production, all with real-time production visibility from any device. Learn more about Fusion Operations

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For retailers, wholesalers & multichannel brands trading over $1M. Brightpearl handles inventory management, planning and much more. Learn more about Brightpearl
For retailers trading over $1M, Brightpearl helps increase inventory accuracy with real-time syncing across all your sales channels, provides data-driven inventory planning so you can meet demand and comes with a huge amount of best-in-class features to help your retail/wholesale/multichannel business with: accounting, reporting, shipping, order management & fulfillment and more. Brightpearl fully integrates with major e-commerce platforms and marketplaces like Shopify, Amazon etc. Learn more about Brightpearl

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Top ranked inventory management, warehousing, manufacturing, and asset tracking for Government, Manufacturing, Construction & Education Learn more about Flowtrac
Improve your ability to track and forecast. Eliminate hidden cost and waste by gaining visibility and control of your inventory, assets, shipping, and warehousing. Move from pen and paper to one of the highest rated, most customizable inventory management solution on the market. Available in the cloud or on-premise, our solutions are ideal for Government, Manufacturing, Construction and Education segments. Enjoy the ease of implementation with an expert staff that will have you up and running quickly. Now as part of Unanet, we seamlessly integrate into your ERP and CRM systems and have the resources to accelerate our solution roadmap. Ensuring that you stay ahead of the crowd with solutions that meet your every changing needs. Learn more about Flowtrac

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#1 Inventory Forecasting and Planning software for e-commerce businesses. Always know exactly what to buy and when to buy it. Learn more about Inventory Planner
#1 Inventory Forecasting and Planning software for e-commerce businesses. Inventory Planner tells you exactly which items to purchase - and exactly when to purchase them based on reliable forecasts of future demand, taking seasonality and market shifts into account - so you never overstock unpopular items or run out of stock when orders spike. With over a decade of experience in forecasting and purchasing, Inventory Planner has helped more than 2,300 merchants accurately plan inventory. Learn more about Inventory Planner

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Optimize inventory levels, boost profitability and decrease cost of goods sold with NetSuite inventory management. Learn more about NetSuite
NetSuite inventory management automates manual processes associated with traceability, replenishment, cycle counting, and managing inventory across multiple locations. With a single view of items, inventory and orders businesses can carry less inventory on hand and free up cash. Demand-based replenishment uses historical sales and seasonality to automate re-order points. Forward and backward tracing capabilities link finished goods to customer orders and suppliers allowing for full traceability. Learn more about NetSuite

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We are a leading provider of inventory management, demand planning, forecasting, and inventory optimization solutions. Learn more about Smart IP&O
Smart Software offers Smart IP&O, an integrated set of native web applications for demand planning, inventory optimization, and supply chain analytics. It provides a single, easy to use, easy to scale, easy to collaborate, environment with robust inventory and forecast modeling. Our implement one, implemented for all approach means you can address a discrete set of needs initially and add new apps when ready without additional implementation costs. Learn more about Smart IP&O

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Cloud-based warehouse management system with an omnichannel order management system all-in-one solution for eCommerce and 3PLs. Learn more about Shipedge
Shipedge is a cloud-based Supply Chain Solution that helps 3PL warehouses, distribution centers and eCommerce companies run efficient order fulfillment operations. Complete inventory control with channel automations (selling channels, suppliers, & shipping carriers). Monitor inventory from anywhere, use forecasting for replenishments, and eliminate dead stock. We cover lot control, serial numbers, expiration dates, returns, and exchanges. Designed with ecommerce pain points in mind. Learn more about Shipedge

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Katana's cloud platform offers live inventory, production, accounting, and reporting for businesses to make the right decisions. ​ Learn more about Katana Cloud Inventory
Katana Cloud Inventory Platform offers a centralized view of your inventory to maintain optimal stock levels and avoid stockouts. Bring sales, purchasing, production, and accounting into a single platform for an overview of your daily operations and performance. Manage orders from all sales channels and track products available for sale in real time. There’s also a Shop Floor App to work remotely with your team, batch tracking for total traceability, and automation for resources and reorders. Learn more about Katana Cloud Inventory

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A 100% Cloud-based WMS solution specifically created for the unique needs of third-party logistics providers. Learn more about 3PL Warehouse Manager
Enabling 24/7, real-time inventory management worldwide, Extensiv 3PL Warehouse Manager offers enterprise strength cloud-based WMS solutions. Designed by warehouse management experts, we enable 3PLs to grow their omnichannel order fulfillment businesses to new heights. Our WMS offers turnkey EDI integrations, automated small parcel packing and shipping features, mobile barcode scanning capabilities, and a wide range of ecommerce shopping cart options. Request a demo today. Learn more about 3PL Warehouse Manager

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All-in-one Inventory management software. Organize, schedule and track equipment, so you always know what’s available in your stock. Learn more about Rentman
All-in-one inventory management software. Only pay for the products and add-ons you need. Control equipment flows: Keep track of your inventory in a timeline view, so you always know what goes in and out of your warehouse; Spend less time booking equipment: See availabilities, schedule equipment and manage subrentals in minutes; Make better decisions: Prevent shortages, track equipment usage and manage repairs so you can run your business more smoothly. Try 30 days for free! Learn more about Rentman

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StockIQ is an intelligent supply chain planning solution for planning demand, inventory, replenishment, suppliers and capacity. Learn more about StockIQ
StockIQ is an intelligent supply chain planning software solution for Demand management, Replenishment planning, Supplier planning, Promotion Planning and monitoring, Inventory and Capacity planning. The StockIQ software is tailored to the distribution and manufacturing industries. The inventory reporting solution accelerates the Sales & Operations Planning processes (S&OP) and ensure timely collaboration among sales, marketing, supply chain, finance and partners. Learn more about StockIQ

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Visibility and efficiency in your warehouse. Start now for free. Learn more about SwiftCount
Have a warehouse? Give yourself the gift of knowing what you have and where it is. Reduce errors and increase in-house visibility, all the while staying mobile. (Take your receiving process to next level | Fast & accurate: pick, pack & ship | See clearly with Location tracking). Start now for free. Learn more about SwiftCount

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Algo is a supply chain planning platform that can easily monitor your inventory and demand across all channels and locations. Learn more about Algo
Algo is a supply chain planning platform that can easily monitor your inventory and demand across all channels and locations. Our analytically enriched supply chain planning platform unifies siloed business data and delivers predictive analytics and insights in real time, empowering organizations to make data-driven decisions that drive growth and efficiency. The result: modern technology and business-outcome driven solutions that deliver real ROI in weeks, not months. Learn more about Algo

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Inventory and order management for growing businesses. Learn more about Zoho Inventory
Zoho Inventory is an online application that enables you to manage orders and inventory. With multi-channel selling, shipping integrations and powerful inventory control, you can now optimize your inventory and order management, right from purchase to packing, to payments. Learn more about Zoho Inventory

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RFgen Mobile Edge™ automates critical supply chain workflows with barcode scanning, mobile apps, and cutting-edge hardware. Learn more about RFgen
RFgen Software empowers businesses with cloud-based mobile barcoding systems to reduce inventory and warehouse productivity issues and increase accuracy with real-time, on-demand access to enterprise data. RFgen Mobile Edge™ connects Windows, Android, and Apple iOS barcode scanners, tablets, handheld computers, RFID, and more. Extend ERP systems such as SAP S/4HANA, Oracle Fusion Cloud SCM, Oracle’s JD Edwards, Oracle E-Business Suite, Deltek Costpoint, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Learn more about RFgen

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Software for your wholesale distribution business to help in avoiding costly order fulfillment errors with the right inventory on hand. Learn more about DistributionPlus
DistributionPlus software is an integrated distribution ERP system that is designed with all of the tools to help wholesale distribution companies manage business. Specific functions for inventory are many. There are tools in place to make sure you have the right amount of inventory on hand. Lot and serial tracking tracks product even if it has become part of another component. Kitting function allows kits to be created on the fly while tracking the inventory level of kitting components used. Learn more about DistributionPlus

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Finale Inventory is the adaptable and flexible inventory management system to support your workflows of your growing business. Learn more about Finale Inventory
Finale Inventory is the most adaptable and flexible inventory management system to support your workflows of your growing business. Integrates seamlessly to many eCommerce selling platforms to prevent overselling. Take the guesswork with POs by leveraging Finale to dynamically calculate reorder points based on sale velocity and supplier lead times. Bundle our software with barcode scanning hardware for a comprehensive warehouse management solution. Complimentary training / consulting. Learn more about Finale Inventory

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Netstock enables businesses to reduce excess, minimize stock-outs, place orders quicker, and forecast demand accurately. Learn more about Netstock
Netstock seamlessly integrates into leading ERPs, empowering businesses to optimize inventory. Utilizing powerful intelligence in ERP data, Netstock increases inventory visibility, enabling you to place quicker orders, minimize stock-outs, reduce excess inventory, and optimize capacity planning in your supply chain. With Netstock, you always have the right stock in the right quantity at the right time *Netstock is not a WMS or inventory control solution Learn more about Netstock

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VeraCore's powerful order fulfillment and warehouse management software is ideally suited to a wide range of industries. Learn more about VeraCore
The VeraCore Fulfillment Solution was developed for leading 3PLs, order fulfillment companies, and online retailers. VeraCore is designed to be at the core of your fulfillment business. More than just pick & pack software, VeraCore combines Smart Order Management & Warehouse Management to handle every aspect of the order fulfillment process. Learn why VeraCore is the most trusted name in fulfillment software at www.veracore.com. Learn more about VeraCore

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A flexible, affordable and comprehensive ERP solution designed for use in most manufacturing and distribution-based businesses Learn more about ERP123
ERP123 is an innovative and comprehensive ERP software solution designed for implementation in small to mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies. Built by IntegrateIT, ERP123 is the result of our mission to continually reduce the delivered cost of ERP systems while improving the results. With a wide breadth of industry experience, our team of professionals will support the implementation of ERP123 within your business, thereby ensuring your success. Get to know the ERP123 difference Learn more about ERP123

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Plex Systems delivers the first smart manufacturing platform that empowers innovators to make awesome products. Learn more about Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform
Plex gives manufacturers the ability to connect, automate, track and analyze every aspect of their business -- from the plant floor to the top floor. Plex offers the flexibility to connect, automate, track, and analyze all aspects of your enterprise. Enhanced analytics provides additional levels of analysis. Industrial IoT (IIoT) enables plant floor production and asset management tracking. Learn more about Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform

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Centralize your inventory management with a cloud-based platform that includes barcoding, expirations dates, lot & serial traceability. Learn more about QT9 ERP
Inventory Management Software Made Easy. Flexible. Scalable. Multi-Site Compatibility Included. Barcode Scan Inventory. Real-Time Data Analytics. Automated Email Alerts for Minimum Stock Levels & Soon to Expire Inventory. Track By Lot Number or Serial Number. Includes Transactional & Physical Inventory. Track Work in Process. Complete Audit Trail and 100% Traceability. Simplify ISO & FDA Compliance. Eliminate Data Silos. Maintain Less Stock. Reduce Costs. Start a free trial. Learn more about QT9 ERP

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Several optional yet fully integrated modules including Forecasting and Planning (DRP), Finite Scheduling, and more. Learn more about SCP 4.0
SCP 4.0 provides materials managers and planners with a tool to control inventory. SCP recommends what to make, how much to make, and when to make it in order to fulfill demand and maintain, but not exceed, desirable inventory levels. SCP includes forecasting, time-phased demand planning, MRP, constraint planning, and optimized scheduling. Use SCP to plan your supply chain and for Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) partnerships. Learn more about SCP 4.0

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Inventory Management Software Buyers Guide

Introduction

Inventory management software is the name given to software applications designed to allow users to monitor inventory levels with a view to optimizing distribution, stock control, order fulfillment, inventory creation, and other associated tasks. For businesses across Canada, managing inventory effectively can be essential for achieving greater supply chain efficiency and for maximizing both short and long-term financial results.

Software of this kind can be valuable for any Canadian business that needs to hold goods or materials for future use. The entire discipline of inventory management, or field inventory management, involves understanding demands on stock, how those demands may change or be affected by internal or external factors, and the stock levels that are needed for the business to remain as productive and profitable as possible.

A key benefit of utilizing inventory management solutions for small businesses is the ability to automate many of the processes associated with field inventory management. When these tasks are carried out manually, they can be extremely time consuming, and it can be harder to identify sudden changes in demand and respond to them at the ideal time. In this sense, automation not only improves efficiency but also allows businesses to achieve superior results.

Inventory management applications are often compared to order management software and there can be significant overlap in terms of the features of these solutions and their overall role within an organization. Additionally, this software may also be compared to supply chain management software, or a warehouse management system. In some cases, these solutions can be used in combination, although comprehensive, all-in-one packages are available.

Features included within the different inventory management solutions can vary, as can the quality of those features when put into practice. Yet, most software in this category will share similar core functionality. With this in mind, using inventory management software, users should be able to carry out the following tasks or activities:

  • Track current levels of stock and receive alerts when it is time to order more of a particular item
  • Order products or materials from suppliers, store receipts, and make amendments to orders over time
  • Categorize inventory items based on their features or attributes, and then make use of search functionality
  • Access data related to inventory performance, generate reports, and monitor performance over time

What is inventory management software?

Inventory management software is software that has been designed with the aim of assisting businesses with field inventory management tasks. This generally means tracking stock levels, optimizing supply chain-related functions, identifying changes in demand, and responding to those changes appropriately to maintain order fulfillment. Businesses need to manage their inventory carefully to reduce unnecessary storage space, avoid waste related to perishable goods or materials, minimize customer waiting times, and maximize profit.

Inventory management is important for almost all businesses because products need to be available for sale and able to be delivered to customers as soon as possible, while raw materials need to be stored and made available for use. This means that, in the vast majority of cases, Canadian businesses will have some form of stock that needs to be managed.

Crucially, high-quality inventory management software allows these needs to be balanced against any limitations that may exist in terms of physical space available and the shelf life of stock. Better still, much of this can be automated with a view to achieving maximum accuracy and efficiency. This, in turn, can help companies to achieve peak performance while also delivering the kind of customer experience that builds lasting loyalty and repeat business.

Furthermore, the most advanced solutions can help organizations in Canada to audit their inventory so that issues are found swiftly, inefficiencies can be addressed, and the need for active human involvement is reduced.

What are the benefits of inventory management software?

The benefits of using inventory management applications for small businesses tend to focus on automation. After all, inventory management is a complicated discipline, which requires companies to think carefully about their stock mix, the demands placed on their stock, the extent to which those demands can shift, and what needs to be done to optimize performance in spite of these changes. With that being said, there are specific benefits linked to the use of software of this kind, such as:

  • Supply chain efficiency: the process of managing all aspects of a supply chain manually can be extremely time-consuming, and modern technology has made it unnecessary and, in many cases, inaccurate too. Through the use of inventory management software, it is possible to automate many of the tasks and processes in this area. For instance, most software in this category will provide tools to manage orders with suppliers, make new orders when stock is needed, and make changes to existing orders. When this process is automated, the software can automatically place orders when levels of stock reach a set threshold or when demand reaches a certain level. Through the power of artificial intelligence, this can be more reliable than manual management of supply chains because changes or low stock levels will not go unnoticed and immediate action can be taken.
  • Financial benefits: initial investment in inventory management software can have long-term financial benefits, helping organizations to save money, reduce costs, and maximize profits. When inventory is managed effectively, the amount of stock that is kept in storage at any given time can also be kept to a minimum. This, in turn, can save businesses money by reducing the size of stock rooms or warehouses the business requires. Furthermore, effective management of stock can minimize or even completely eliminate money that is spent on perishable products or materials that expire before they can be used. As new stock is ordered automatically, at the best possible time, organizations can also avoid some of the charges linked to requesting urgent deliveries from suppliers.
  • Reduced demands on staff: when utilized to its full potential, artificial intelligence allows many inventory management tasks and processes to be carried out automatically, in the best moment, without the need for employees to personally act. The reduced labour demands can have several important benefits, such as reducing workloads, generally making day-to-day life easier for employees, and limiting the number of staff that need to be working at any given time. As a consequence, businesses may not need to recruit as many people, and this can lead to significant savings. Away from the financial benefits, reducing work demands in this way can free up more time for employees to focus on complex or unpredictable tasks, which AI could not handle.
  • Rapid response to changes: businesses often need to contend with sudden events or changes, and this applies not only to their own organization but also to suppliers, business partners, and clients or customers. Examples of this include a sudden increase in orders from customers or seasonal shifts in demand for a particular product. Alternatively, the sudden changes could be caused by completely unforeseen circumstances, such as the emergence of COVID-19 and the subsequent imposition of restrictions on mass gatherings. Regardless, inventory management applications can allow businesses to respond swiftly to any changes that impact demand. If there is a sudden spike, the software can alert decision-makers or automatically place orders for more stock. Conversely, if demand drops, the software can identify this too, and cancel planned orders for new stock, or make adjustments to the order, so that less of a particular product or material is ordered. The key here is to avoid situations where an organization either has too much stock or insufficient stock to cope with the levels of demand they are facing.
  • Centralization of data: the entire process of inventory management means plenty of information needs to be kept. This includes information about stock levels or information about specific products or specific materials. However, it can also include details on agreements with suppliers, information about orders that have been placed, and more. Having as much of this information available in a single place can greatly simplify inventory management efforts and can help to avoid situations where employees need to switch back and forth between different applications.

What are the features of inventory management software?

The features of inventory management software are all intended to assist users with the process of managing stock levels. This means having the ability to oversee aspects of the supply chain while also managing factors like fluctuations in demand. While software packages in this category can differ in terms of some of the supplementary features provided, most solutions will have similar core functionality. Some of the most common and significant features associated with inventory management packages are outlined in more detail below:

  • Inventory management: create a database for business inventory so that all relevant information is accessible from one place, and then oversee all aspects of managing that inventory. Through the inventory management features, users can view current levels of stock for each individual item in their inventory and gain a clear understanding of what products or materials are in stock, which are running low, and which are out of stock entirely. Much of this information can be automated, especially if integration with a point-of-sale system is possible so that inventory levels are automatically updated as and when new orders arrive or when sales are processed.
  • Inventory optimization: establish ideal levels of stock, based on the specific needs and circumstances of the business, and ensure that those levels are maintained. Inventory optimization is concerned with reducing or eliminating instances where stock levels for a particular item are too low or too high. When stock is too low, customers could potentially face delays that have a negative impact on the customer experience. When stock levels are too high, businesses need to find space to store the items and the possibility of some of the stock perishing before it is used increases. Through automation, ideal inventory levels can be maintained, with intelligent adjustments to ordering being made as levels of demand change or as other significant events occur.
  • Product identification: categorize products according to their features and attributes, and assign product types or keywords so that the inventory list can be sorted in logical ways. Product identification can help to make the inventory database fully searchable, allowing users to quickly and easily find specific items and see current stock levels, along with important contextual data. Information that may be collected about inventory items includes weight, size, batch numbers, and expiry dates. This allows different items in the inventory to be treated differently based on the specific business requirements and the demands that are relevant to that item. Some high-level inventory management software will also include support for barcode scanning—or other product identification techniques—so that items can be scanned and automatically added to this database, without the need for manual data entry.
  • Purchase order management: manage all aspects related to the purchase of products, materials, supplies, and equipment. This can include having access to all past order information, receipts, contact information for individual suppliers or vendors, and details of recurring orders. Invoices can also be collected, added and stored indefinitely, making them easy to access in the future. In addition to overseeing the basic details related to orders, a key part of purchase order management involves evaluating current behaviours and assessing whether all purchases are necessary, beneficial, and have been optimized in terms of cost-effectiveness.
  • Supplier management: collect and manage all relevant information about suppliers, including contact information, past communication, order history, receipts, confirmation emails, dispatch notices, invoices, and contracts or signed written agreements. In some cases, the software will include tools for signing and authenticating documents digitally, so that all agreements with suppliers can become completely paperless. Storing all of this information can make it easier to refer back to in the event of a dispute, disagreement, contractual breach, or missed deadline. In some cases, it may also be possible to compare suppliers in areas like cost, turnaround times, and availability, so that items can be ordered from the best supplier, in the right moment, for the best cost efficiency.
  • Alerts/notifications: create alerts when inventory reaches a certain level—or when demand hits a certain threshold—in order to prompt a response from decision-makers. Some organizations may have circumstances that mean they do not want to take advantage of automation to re-order materials or other stock. In these situations, alerts can help to ensure they are still able to respond swiftly to changes in circumstances when they occur. This then helps to avoid any situation where an organization is left without supplies or materials they desperately need.
  • Reporting/analytics: set key performance indicators, collect the relevant data, and create insightful reports into past and current inventory performance, or create forecasts about future inventory performance. Report generation can be essential for keeping stakeholders informed about the current state of play. They may be key to achieving buy-in in situations where more storage space is needed or where more fundamental changes need to be made to business practices. Top-end inventory management solutions will provide access to real-time insights so that any issues or inefficiencies can be identified and addressed as soon as possible. Data visualization tools may also be on offer, allowing key indicators to be viewed in easy-to-digest formats, such as charts, graphs, or tables.

Capterra's inventory management software directory includes a large number of options, which can be filtered based on price, the available features, the method of deployment, and the number of intended users. As a result, businesses can streamline their search for the ideal software solution, removing options that do not match the requirements.

What should be considered when purchasing inventory management software?

When purchasing inventory management software, there are many different factors that need to be taken into consideration, and decision-makers need to think carefully about their process for identifying the ideal solution for their specific needs. An effective way to understand those needs is to ask some key questions and come up with answers to them, as this can help to focus minds on what really matters. Some of the most important questions to ask are:

  • What are the inventory management software features? While there are a number of core features that buyers would expect to find in the vast majority of software solutions of this kind, it is important for buyers to give careful consideration to the precise range of features they need, as well as any features that may be less essential but still valuable. The inventory management needs of businesses can vary significantly, too, so the features required by a restaurant or hotel may differ substantially from the needs of an electronics retailer or a supermarket. Buyers need to identify the features that are most important to them. From there, they can utilize their search process to narrow down the available software solutions to those that best cater to these requirements.
  • What is the total cost of inventory management software? Businesses always need to weigh up the costs of the different software options on the market, but it is important to understand that this needs to be evaluated in a holistic way, taking into consideration the full range of costs over the entire time the software is being used. This can be understood more simply as the total cost of ownership and use, and it means companies need to think not only about the cost of acquiring the software but also about the expense attached to providing employees with the necessary training, acquiring support in the event of technical difficulties, receiving software updates, storing the associated data, and providing access to all of those who need it.
  • Is integration with other applications possible? Modern businesses tend to use a wide range of tools and applications, and this can make integration and compatibility important. In situations where businesses are already utilizing finance software, point-of-sale systems, and similar tools, integration with an inventory management system is going to be a major consideration. When these tools can be used in combination and when data can be shared between them, efficiency and accuracy can be improved, data duplication can be minimized, and the user experience can be optimized. At its best, integration provides an additional layer of automation, saving companies time, effort and money in the process. However, integration needs should be balanced against other considerations.
  • What is the preferred method of software deployment? Aside from finding software with the right features—available at the right price point—companies also need to think about their preferred method of deployment. The two main options here are on-premise deployment and cloud-based deployment, and each has its advantages and drawbacks. Generally speaking, on-site deployment has higher upfront costs, but the long-term costs may be lower and there is a greater sense of control and ownership. Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, are deployed with assistance from a third-party service provider—usually on a subscription basis. This means the upfront costs can be extremely low, and the long-term costs, while higher, are extremely predictable and consistent. The need for on-site data storage is removed and responsibility for keeping data safe can be passed to a third-party expert. Cloud-based options also provide benefits in terms of remote accessibility and compatibility with a wide range of devices. However, there is less overall control, and the total cost of ownership may end up higher.
  • Increased use of artificial intelligence: The use of artificial intelligence within software is nothing new, but it is becoming more reliable and more advanced all the time, and this increases its potential scope. For inventory management purposes, artificial intelligence can be used to make intelligent forecasts about demand based on past data, market data, relevant real-world trends, and the current behaviour of customers. Additionally, AI can play a role in analyzing inventory performance and automating some of the core inventory management tasks. In some cases, AI may also be used to provide user support. For example, a chatbot could be used to answer basic questions about how to perform certain actions or where to find a particular piece of information.
  • Growth of remote and hybrid work: In general, businesses are embracing remote and hybrid work models more than ever, and this could mean fewer employees are on-site at any given time. With regards to inventory management, this increases the need for reliable automation, with systems in place to continually monitor stock levels and provide up-to-date information to people who may not be able to physically check warehouses or other storage areas. 85% of Canadians who worked from home during the pandemic wanted to keep doing so when surveyed in 2021 and so many businesses adapted their offering in some way during the coronavirus pandemic so that it could be delivered virtually instead. As normal life has resumed, many of these businesses have continued to capitalize on these changes—either to keep costs low, limit physical space requirements, or to keep staff happy. However, this does mean finding software solutions that provide remote accessibility.
  • Integration with IoT technology: A growing number of common devices within business settings are now 'smart' devices, which are connected to the internet, in order to communicate with other devices around them. This use of the internet of things (IoT) requires software that has been designed with such devices in mind. A growing trend within inventory management, for instance, is the use of video surveillance and video analytics in order to determine how much storage space is being used at any given time. Where integration with video analytics is possible, this information can help businesses to build a clearer picture. Another example may be the use of a smart thermostat in order to regulate temperatures in the storage area, and this could help to maximize the shelf life of certain products. However, IoT integration could be more basic, such as compatibility with smart speakers and smartphones, allowing for a greater amount of voice control.
  • Popularity of cloud-based solutions: Finally, as the demands for remote accessibility increase, as businesses become more aware of the value of keeping data up-to-date and secure, and as it has the capacity to greatly reduce upfront costs, cloud-based deployment is becoming more and more popular. In a field like inventory management, cloud-based options can provide benefits in terms of ensuring everyone is able to access the same up-to-date information, making sure that any changes to data are applied across the board. Web-based cloud options can be accessed using computers, smartphones and tablets, and permissions can be set up easily so that only those with the right level of clearance can access the most sensitive data. Of course, this needs to be weighed up against the disadvantages of cloud-based options, such as the continuous subscription fees that could increase long-term costs.

Sources:

The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in Capterra's directory that offer them. The following sources were used for this document:

  1. Gartner’s Top Actions for Supply Chain Inventory Reduction - Gartner.com (Date accessed: Monday, January 17, 2022)

  2. What Is a Digital Signature and How to Create One? - Capterra UK Blog (Date accessed: Tuesday, January 18, 2022)

  3. Workplace wellness: Almost 3 in 4 Canadian remote workers report burnout - Capterra Canada Blog (Date accessed: Tuesday, January 18, 2022)