What is small business inventory software?
There are many types of small business inventory software available to help manage stock levels, track inventory movements and monitor stock values. The most popular type of inventory software used by small businesses is barcode-based inventory software. This type of software uses barcodes to track inventory items and can be used with a variety of handheld devices, such as scanners and mobile phones.
Top 5 Small Business Inventory Software Solutions for Your Bar
Inventory Management for Small Businesses- An Introduction
Inventory management is unavoidable, no matter how big or small the organization. Meticulous inventory management allows an organization to ace the demand-supply game and ensure that it neither falls short of stocks nor ends up with unsaleable goods. Inventory software makes inventory management easy to manage.
Small businesses like startups often lack the financial wherewithal to invest in a software solution with sophisticated features. In fact, their needs are not complex enough to warrant a top-end software system for managing inventory. Some of them, therefore, make do with simple inventory ledgers, notebooks, or rudimentary digital spreadsheets for stock-taking.
Manual and spreadsheet-based methods, however, are prone to error. Therefore, small businesses, no matter how modest their size, should always consider a software solution to help manage inventory. When selecting software, it's important to differentiate between features one needs, and features one wants. For instance, data reporting and analysis is a key feature that helps organizations make prudent business decisions and is therefore a 'must-have'. However, a small business operating on a limited scale, dealing with a limited number and variety of inventory, and possessing a limited customer base, may not need multi-user support, multi-warehouse management, or waste-tracking, making these superfluous features.
Small businesses can also arm themselves with a point of sale (POS) system that simplifies transactions and payment processing, records product sales and purchases and alerts businesses when supplies run out.
Why is Inventory Management Crucial for Success?
Here's what a good inventory management system can achieve-
- Inventory management avoids stock-outs and excessive stock that can quickly become dead stock, leading to wastage and high inventory carrying costs.
- It helps businesses understand inventory patterns, which in turn, enables them to predict ideal stock levels that need to be maintained.
- Inventory management also involves knowing exactly where items are kept in the store or warehouse so that product utilization can be improved.
- Inventory management is crucial to identify which finished products sell well and which do not, and which raw materials come at what cost. Businesses can accordingly prioritize best-selling products for promotion and investment, and plan their purchase of expensive ingredients in order to reduce costs and maximize profits.
- Inventory management and inventory tracking address issues like loss of products from theft, fraud, and pest attacks. These tend to weaken businesses from the inside and defeat all attempts to hike sales.
A business managing its inventory well can ensure that popular items are always in supply and customers never have to be turned away. What makes customers happy can in turn help enhance the business's image and prospects.
In the following sections, we take a look at some of the best inventory management solutions for small businesses.
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Inventory Management Solution No. 1- Zip Inventory
Zip Inventory is a very effective inventory management software that allows bar and restaurant owners to monitor their stocks via its easy-to-use mobile app. Zip Inventory enables shelf-to-sheet inventory counts. This data is transferred to the cloud immediately and is accessible in real time from any mobile device. The app allows users to have a clear image of stock levels without needing them to be close to the place where stocks are stored.
Zip Inventory offers a voice search function that lets businesses count stocks by simply calling the name of a product aloud.
Additionally, this software generates reports on variance and cost of goods sold (COGS). These help businesses track variations in food and beverage costs and identify factors that lead to losses.
Operators are alerted to issues like wastage, pilferage, over-portioning, and other costly misadventures via the app.
Other benefits provided by this software include order prompts, item-by-item recipe breakdown, identification of bestselling products, and information on the price of ingredients, while its waste-tracking function helps reduce resource wastage and establishes employee accountability.
Zip Inventory is available for purchase from the Hubworks app store and comes at an affordable cost which includes free support.
Inventory Management Solution No. 2- InventoryLab
InventoryLab is another useful inventory management system for small business establishments. It can calculate the quantity of stocks on hand, as well as the listed price, sale value, cost per unit, and other accounting information.
Its in-depth data analysis reports highlights top-selling products and helps businesses find suppliers that provide the most lucrative deals.
Moreover, its automated income-tracking tool helps calculate the profitability of a sale, and the net profit earned. On the other hand, its expense-tracking function helps to effectively manage overhead costs. Overall, the software streamlines and simplifies your accounting and bookkeeping functions.
InventoryLab also enables product scouting in real time, which speeds up the entire process of purchasing and makes it highly accurate.
This software offers a highly affordable monthly plan and a money-saving annual plan. In addition, an unlimited number of staff accounts can be created without any additional charge, which is a boon for small businesses.
Inventory Management Solution No. 3- Fishbowl Inventory
Fishbowl Inventory is an efficient inventory system for small business establishments. It provides the precise tools that small and mid-sized establishments need to transform their inventory management and scale up their businesses.
Fishbowl allows you to manage multiple warehouses or locations at the same time, keeping track of serial numbers, lot numbers, and product expiry dates. This helps organize warehouse aisles, shelves, and bins. It streamlines order administration by enabling items to be picked, packed, and shipped,purchase orders to be efficiently tracked, and different pricing levels to be set for different segments of clients.
Additionally, Fishbowl Go allows handheld iOS devices like smartphones and tablets to be used as barcode scanners and enables you to create your own barcodes. It helps you receive shipments into the storehouse, undertake cycle counts, move inventory between several locations, and keep track of inventory levels across various warehouses. It also allows route settings to be adjusted to save time moving between locations.
Businesses using this software can prevent stockouts by setting up automated reorder points, and when inventory runs low, merchandise can be drop-shipped.
Fishbowl makes warehouse management highly efficient, offering analyses of sales patterns and stock valuation at each warehouse. It offers highly sophisticated business intelligence reports with instant, actionable insights via customizable dashboards.
Inventory Management Solution No. 4- Sortly
Sortly works well as a small business inventory management solution. This cloud-based platform offers barcoding, audit trails, multi-location and activity tracking.
However, its standout feature is its built-in QR code and barcode scanner that can function offline. This allows inventory to be scanned even without the internet. Data is synced the moment you are online again.
Sortly is a great option for inventory management across different locations, given its offline capabilities and multi-location tracking. Small businesses can benefit from its free plan that offers an essential feature like barcode scanning, and for a small fee, low-stock notifications.
A higher-tiered plan offers application programming interface (API) integrations and lets you create custom barcodes and make use of handheld/external barcode scanners. But then, it's for you to decide if you need such advanced features or if your needs are adequately met by a leaner, cheaper plan.
Inventory Management Solution No. 5- Zoho Inventory
Zoho Inventory offers a variety of products at an affordable price. It updates inventory as products are sold, allowing multiple products to be bundled for sale as a single unit.
Businesses can avoid stock-outs by establishing reorder points and setting up notification alerts. What's more, the reordering process is automated with a list of preferred suppliers.
A very useful feature of this software is that allows you to tweak inventory levels when product shrinkage occurs and recorded and actual inventory levels diverge. It also automatically fills up product information when a barcode is scanned, making the drawing up of invoices and receipts quick and accurate.
With the help of Zoho Inventory, every item on an inventory checklist has an assigned code which lets business owners track the movement of products and their expiry dates. Its detailed business intelligence reports let you quickly identify best-selling products and provides quick visibility into operations.