Inventory Management Systems
What are Inventory Management Systems?
Inventory Management Systems, also known as “inventory management software” or “inventory control systems”, are computer-based systems for tracking inventory levels, locations, receipts, shipments and details. The objective is to make management of inventory more effective and efficient. These systems are crucial for any business that deals with physical products. The primary goal of a quality inventory management program is to assist a company in efficiently meeting supply and demand without excess either way. Obviously, a company with inventory shortages will struggle to provide the product their customers are looking for in a timely manner. This will result in unreliability and ultimately lower sales. Conversely, companies with less cash tied up in excess inventory have more liquid resources and thus a dramatic advantage over their competitors.
Inventory control systems are hardly a new concept. The idea has been around as long as people have been buying and selling goods, but it has taken on many different forms. Until relatively recently however, inventory data was generally stored in hard-copy form. Even more recently, computer spreadsheets became the obvious answers to controlling and using large amounts of data. Even traditional spreadsheets, however, can hardly hold a candle to modern inventory management software.
Most modern inventory management systems are able to not only track shipments and inventory, but also communicate these levels with suppliers and customers in real-time. This gives the program the ability to inform management when it’s time to reorder and how much to purchase. The more sophisticated inventory systems are also flexible enough to adjust to special manual orders, seasonal demands and other customizations.
How Do Inventory Management Systems Work?
The objective of an Inventory Management System is to provide efficient and effective tools by which all of the processes of Receiving, Picking, and Shipping can be accomplished to satisfy all of the business needs. Just as there are many types if Inventory, so, there are many features that are needed – depending on the company.
The first major process is Receiving: Goods are routinely received against an Order and located in a Warehouse Location or Bin. That Bin assignment might be driven by Item activity or Item storage requirements. Automation, such as data import or the use of bar code scanners, is typically used to improve the accuracy and speed of the process.
In the Sales Order cycle, the next step is usually Picking. This is the assignment if specific inventory to a Shipping Order. Goods might be assigned to an Order based on FIFO (First In, First Out) or FEFO (First Expiry, First Out) logic. Automation in the Picking process may take the form of scanning or some type of order Batching.
And finally, there is the process of Shipping. The typical major activities of packing, assigning a carrier & tracking number, printing Packing Lists & Bills of Lading must be addressed.
Depending on the business each function may have special requirements – high vs. low shipping volume, Lot/Serial/Expiration Date tracking, perishable vs. durable goods, food vs. pharmaceutical tracking, and the list goes on.
Quality inventory management software can draw some very useful information from this data. It can calculate how much product is still on the shelves and calculate an Available to Promise. It can calculate the cost of the Inventory based on the PO against which the material was received. Some industries require much more inventory data than does the Accounting system. It will also analyze the data to make recommendations for re-ordering. Many systems can be programmed to automatically order at a certain levels, as well as leave room for human decision making, as mentioned above.
Whether the re-ordering happens automatically or manually, the inventory management systems then sends the order electronically over the internet to the vendor or supplier. The order is then stored digitally and is accessible to both the vendor and the store-owners for recordkeeping etc.
What Makes CoreIMS™ Better than Other Inventory Management Systems?
Inventory management systems boast a variety of advantages including efficiency, reduced need for warehouse space, and less cash tied up in inventories. These advantages work together to provide lower costs to the merchants, resulting in lower costs for the consumer, and ultimately more sales. The CoreIMS™ inventory management software boast all of this and more! Among others, a few advantages to CoreIMS™ that set it apart from other barcode inventory systems are:
- QuickBooks US Edition & Sage 50 US Edition Accounting System Integration – As a Sage and QuickBooks™ Partner, the CoreIMS™ inventory management systems securely and accurately integrates with your Sage and QuickBooks™ accounting software. CorePartners maintains full feature compatibility as new versions of software are released. Read More About QuickBooks & Sage Integration
- Customization – The consultants and development staff at CoreIMS™ are highly skilled and experienced in specification definition and development of expanded inventory management solutions. The modifications can range from simple customer logo placement to completely new module development to fit your specific needs. Read More About Inventory Management System Customization
- Report Development – CoreIMS™ Inventory Management System, in collaboration with Crystal Reports Business Objects™, includes 40 embedded Crystal Reports that display information covering a wide range of expected inventory management operations. Read More About Inventory Management System Report Development
- Product Integration – CoreIMS™ offers a variety of standard software modules and barcode scanning and printing options to create highly specialized inventory solutions. . In addition, integration can be developed to other systems – shipping services, data collection devices, and shopping carts – so that all of your specific needs are satisfied. Read More About Inventory Management System Product Integration
To learn what CoreIMS™ can do for your business, Request a Personalized Inventory Management System Demo or call (301) 695-2673 today. One of our skilled and highly trained team will get to know you and your business and help you to determine which edition of our inventory management software will suite your needs best.
We look forward to providing the perfect inventory solution for your business!