For any business that is not purely virtual in scope, being able to efficiently keep track of and plan assets and inventory can be the difference between success and failure. Assent and inventory management systems make the inventory management process easier and can provide insights that can make a business more efficient and profitable. Early asset management systems did little more than keep track of the amount of goods purchased, sold and remaining in inventory. Modern systems can do so much more. Their abilities range from finding the optimal time to reorder inventory to minimizing storage costs and maximizing sales. They also provide live integration with sales or accounting software to provide accurate forecasting and order fulfillment. Inventory management systems can be purely virtual cloud systems that simply receive information about incoming and outgoing orders via bar code scanners, a linked business system or simple manual data entry. They can also have hardware integration, such as tracking the radio-frequency identification tags of goods in order to constantly provide their current location. The advantage that a good asset and inventory management system offers a business is the ability to know exactly how much inventory the business has on hand, which gives managers the power to make smarter and more efficient sales and purchasing decisions.
Common Inventory Management System Features
All inventory management systems feature some kind of inventory tracking database. Most also include a number of other features as well, such as order management, sales integration, a product catalog and optimization and business intelligence tools. A tracking database in an inventory management system is the central component. It is here that the data regarding what items are in the inventory, how many there are and, depending on the sophistication of the system, where they are is stored. This system is frequently integrated with other modules or third party tools to update itself whenever a new batch of items is ordered or an item is sold Also it could, depending on the product, also contain information about the specific characteristics of the different items in the inventory. Order management covers tools that help businesses decide when to order more inventory, and what kind. The simplest send out an alert when the stock falls below a certain level. More complicated systems can also take other business aspects such as recent sales, incoming inventory or seasonal adjustments into account. Sales integration helps make sure that deals that have been closed by the sales department are properly fulfilled. This is usually done by automatically generating ordering or shipping tasks for the inventory managers. Product catalog tools allow businesses to rapidly generate marketing materials for customers based on their current stock. Finally, inventory optimization software can analyze inventory trends and make recommendations for future purchasing decisions that minimize storage costs while still maximizing profit.
Popular Asset Management Systems
There are many asset management systems on the market today, with many being tailored to specific industries or business types. Some larger companies are even building or outsourcing their own in-house versions. Below are some asset management systems that are popular across industries:
- Oracle NetSuite: Oracle produces many different business systems, from business intelligence to CRM suites. Oracle’s inventory management system is popular due to its ease of use, good scalability as the business grows and easy integration with many other Oracle products.
- SAP Business: SAP develops its software for large companies with complex needs, and so its asset management software offers an incredible amount of features and customization options, from handling multiple currencies to live accounting integration. It has a steep learning curve, but is very powerful in the hands of an expert.
- QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions: Many small and medium-size businesses use QuickBooks for accounting. Adding inventory management functionality is easy and simple. It is very quick to set up, with preprogrammed options for common types of businesses, and is very easy to use. It lacks some of the more powerful inventory management features, but its price and ease of use make it perfect for many small businesses.