Inventory Management Software (IMS) is software that helps you to manage stock that you are intending to sell. It is mostly used in online and ‘bricks and mortar’ retail stores to allow businesses to maintain healthy stock levels and sell products to customers at the right price. In this article we’ll explore the main functions of IMS.
Good Inventory Management Software should work alongside and integrate with point of sale (POS) software. POS software is designed to allow you to sell products to customers, take money from them and reconcile everything together. The integration of IMS and POS allows store owners and managers to understand the complete lifecycle of the products that they sell, from ordering, purchasing from a supplier, delivery to the store, keeping the item in stock, selling it to a customer and reordering the item.
The main features of inventory management software
Good IMS should have most or all of the following features:
- Overall product information – Information on the various different types and ranges of product that a store has in stock or wants to order.
- Detailed product information – Details of individual products and variations on a product such as different sizes, colors, varieties and prices.
- Stock levels – The stock levels of individual products, product ranges and your entire stock inventory.
- Stock value – The value of your stock, both on a product-by-product basis and also for your overall inventory.
- Stock location – If you have more than one location, details of where your products are at any moment in time.
- Pricing information – Information on regular product prices, discounts, promotions and historic price data.
- Profit margins – Details of cost price, selling price and the profits on individual items and the inventory as a whole.
- Supplier information – The names, contact details, terms and other aspects of the various suppliers and wholesalers that provide stock to you.
- Ordering and reordering – Setting stock levels, adjusting levels for seasonal variations, generating orders and sending orders to suppliers.
- Delivery and inventory – Tracking delivery of items and adding items to the inventory when they are delivered.
- Sale of items – Integrating with POS systems to reduce stock levels when items are sold.
- Reporting and reconciliation – Providing detailed and summary reports of stock levels, pricing and the like.
- Forecasting – Understanding likely future demand for items.
- SKU and barcode management – Integration with barcode scanners and POS to allow easy, accurate tracking, stocking and selling of items.
- Invoicing – Generating invoices for customers.
Effective Inventory Management can make managing your stock inventory much easier. The combination of accurate stock levels, reasonable profit margins, easy re-ordering, reporting and more can save a retail business significant amounts of time, energy and money. This can enhance your store’s chances of success and ensure that you have the right amount of stock to meet the needs of your customers.