Technology is constantly changing the way we do business. Today, the answer to the question “What are the 3 major inventory management techniques?” is much different than it would have been ten years ago. All three— the Push Technique, the Pull Technique, and the Just-In-Time technique—have evolved as the result of automation. So have customer expectations, which are higher than ever, especially their expectations for speedy delivery. The push technique depends on patterns of past demand predicting future demand. Data analytics is a great tool for utilizing this strategy. The pull technique depends heavily on quick response in meeting current demand. Multi-channel capability allows you to connect with multiple suppliers as well as multiple shipping carriers to ensure your supply always meets demand. Drop-shipping is one of the best tools to utilize if you’re using the Just-In-Time technique and producing products only after they’ve already been ordered to avoid high storage fees. Of course, there are other strategies in addition to the top three. There’s MRP (Materials Requirement Planning), which is another inventory management method that depends on accurate sales records, data analytics, and fast, effective communication with suppliers. Bar code creation and scanning capability are essential to maintaining accurate sales records. The Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) inventory management model estimates the number of units your company should add to inventory by examining customer demand over time. Being able to view months of sales data at a single glance helps you make the best purchasing decisions possible. Although automation has changed inventory management tools and techniques, it’s still as important as ever to have good inventory management strategies. In fact, considering all the recent disruptions, having good inventory management strategies in supply chain economics can determine whether your business will survive those disruptions. Strategic inventory management means not choosing just one of the three most popular inventory management techniques, but knowing how and when to utilize each one for maximum benefit. Just because your business is subject to the realities of supply chain economics doesn’t mean it has to be chained to a single technique.
If you’re looking for a good inventory management definition, you need to look no further than industry giants like Amazon and Shopify, whose fortunes were built on it. Amazon defines inventory management like this: “Inventory management is the process of tracking and storing products to meet customer demand quickly and efficiently.” Shopify defines it like this: “Inventory management is the process of organizing and managing stock throughout the supply chain.” Yet another definition of inventory management is a bit more all-inclusive: “Inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing, using, and selling a company's inventory. This includes the management of raw materials, components, and finished products, as well as warehousing and processing of such items”. You can find an instructional inventory management pdf on just about every well-known e-commerce business website. Companies partnering with small business entrepreneurs are eager to help educate them about the most important functions of inventory management. They can also provide you with some good inventory management examples. Since they earn a percentage of what you sell when you utilize their platforms, they want you to be able to sell a lot! Having a good understanding of the inventory management process from beginning to end is essential for success in e-commerce. The good news is that just because you should understand it all doesn’t mean you can’t automate a lot of it, so you don’t have to do it all. Automation is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for creating and implementing good inventory management strategies. No matter what the job, having the right tools for it is important.
There are a few essential inventory management tools that every e-commerce entrepreneur should have in their toolbox.
The most essential tools are:
- Bar code generation and scanning capability for kitting, bundling, automatic generation of purchase orders, printing labels in batches, and error-free updating of inventory
- Multi-channel capability for maintaining effective communication and monitoring inventory with multiple suppliers simultaneously
- Multi-carrier shipping capability for taking advantage of industry discounts and cutting shipping costs
- Data analytics capability for making the best possible purchasing and sales decisions
While there are some “free inventory tools” out there, once you start achieving some success, you’ll quickly find that they don’t remain free. Some “inventory management tools free” offers can even end up costing you money. For example, you can use a free version of an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your inventory. However, having to type in the information by hand means a lot more opportunities for human error. Errors that result in late shipments or shipping the wrong item might mean losing some of the customers that you worked so hard to find and reach. If you have enough time to spend, it’s also possible to piece together a system that includes all these elements. However, not all software systems integrate well with one another, or with smaller suppliers, you might want to partner with. Ordoro provides all the essential inventory management tools you need in one toolbox. They even made it possible for you to create and add your own using an open API.
If you’re a creative type selling unique handmade items online for a little extra cash, you probably just ignore all the “inventory management software small business” ads designed to attract your attention. Small businesses have the ability to develop personal relationships with their customers and customize goods and services for them. That’s one reason so many people prefer supporting them even though they might be able to save a few more cents with a big corporation. If you plan to stay small enough to keep your inventory in your basement, attic, or garage, you probably don’t need inventory management software. However, if your quality of life depends on profits earned by your small business and you want it to grow, yet still have the time to give your customers your own personal touch, you probably do. A good inventory management software system takes care of all the behind-the-scenes technical details for you. While the automated system is busy tracking and updating your inventory, you can continue to focus on your creations—and your customers. Seeing your business expand from dozens of customers to hundreds or even thousands can feel overwhelming. Luckily, bar code creation and scanning capability allow you to accomplish tasks in seconds or minutes that used to take days or even weeks to complete by hand.
Extensive research conducted by the software engineers at Ordoro revealed that the ability to customize their system was as important to small business owners as custom-made products were to their customers. Despite what some employers would have you believe, the human brain isn’t designed for multi-tasking. Being expected to multi-task successfully without making any errors might even be why you decided to go into business for yourself. If you want to be able to manage multiple products, services, vendors, or shipping carriers, it’s best to leave the multi-tasking to computers and software designed specifically for that purpose. Ordoro’s fully integrated system allows you to customize and automate your software to keep working for you around the clock—without your having to pay any overtime. Automation allows you to focus on creating new product lines and advertising campaigns to launch them—and building customer relationships. Those are the things computers can’t do, and that only humans can do well. Just ask anyone who’s ever had to try communicating with an automated customer service system. With Ordoro’s multi-channel integration capabilities, you can customize your system to the specific needs of your business. You can also view and control every aspect of your business from a single dashboard.
A good inventory management system reduces storage costs while ensuring that you always have enough of your customers’ favorite items in stock to fill their orders. Ordoro’s inventory management system doesn’t just allow you to update your inventory automatically with every sale and shipment. It also lets you print shipping labels either individually or in batches. Kitting, bundling, and pick and pack lists are great tools to have to reduce your inventory of items that are no longer trending to make room for more of those that are. When you combine a great inventory management system with multi-channel integration, multi-carrier shipping, and drop-shipping, you’ve got yourself a winning system. Ranked the #1 Inventory Management Software of 2021 by TheBlueprint, Ordoro specializes in helping small businesses become medium-sized businesses. Their professionals provide a free 30-day onboarding to demonstrate how to customize its features and set up automation rules that meet your specific business needs. Adding lifetime support makes it the best investment with the highest return you could make for your small business. You won’t have to find and learn a whole new system when you succeed in becoming a medium-sized business, because Ordoro is fully scalable. Their software engineers make sure your system is always fully updated with the latest cutting-edge technology while maintaining the highest level of security so that your customers’ personal information is never compromised. Letting Ordoro do what it does best gives you the time and focus on doing what you do best—creating satisfied customers.