Determining the right inventory management system for a business requires assessing its needs today and plans for future growth. As the company grows, can its inventory management system scale along with it? As the business evolves, does the system offer flexibility to facilitate change? Will it give the company the visibility it needs to manage inventory requirements?
Traditional on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and less sophisticated systems like QuickBooks typically lack the real-time visibility required to effectively manage inventory in today’s modern distributors. Many companies resort to unwieldy spreadsheets to manage inventory or rely on gut feel, potentially costing thousands of dollars in emergency replenishment or lost revenue from stock-outs.
NetSuite Cloud Inventory System offers a compelling alternative to manual approaches to inventory management or costly on-premise ERP. The best cloud system provides real-time visibility into inventory, with anywhere, anytime access to critical information. It can function at the core of an ERP system, integrating seamlessly with demand planning, financials and logistics. Automated capabilities eliminate manual inputs while maximizing efficiency throughout the inventory lifecycle.
Scalability, flexibility and visibility are the three key elements that comprise an integrated approach to inventory management in the cloud.
Spreadsheets or QuickBooks might be adequate for a business just starting out, but growth will quickly outpace their capabilities for inventory management. How can a company ensure that its inventory management solution scales with the business as it increases its market share and penetration, handling more products, more volume, more customers, more suppliers and more locations over the next two years, five years, 10 years and beyond?
The right cloud inventory management system, such as NetSuite Cloud Inventory System, will scale as the business grows, from a small single-warehouse operation to an international distributor spanning multiple markets. The cloud makes it easy to add users, functionality, warehouses and suppliers—without the large-scale cost and effort required to implement a new on-premise system, or install it in new offices.
A cloud system lets a company select the right level of inventory management sophistication for its business or industry. It lets a company use only the functionality it needs, without needless complexity. As the business grows, cloud inventory management scales with it by offering more sophisticated features and virtually unlimited capacity for more users and information.
With growth comes change in how a company operates. The business processes in place five years ago will likely differ substantially from the way it will operate five years from now. Can the inventory management system evolve with the company? Is it flexible enough to bend with it as its processes change?
These changes could involve simply a modification in reporting to improve inventory management speed and precision. Or they could be changes to how a company sees information, or delivers data to select managers based on their job function or location. Change could mean adding a new shipper or bar-code system, or introducing capabilities for quantity-based pricing, lot and bin management or landed cost calculations.
A cloud-based inventory management system built with flexibility in mind allows a company to define its business processes into the system. It offers flexibility to implement customizations and business rules that support unique requirements. The optimal cloud architecture preserves these customizations, so that they remain intact even as the cloud provider periodically upgrades the system to the latest release.
Visibility into inventory availability is critical for planning replenishment to meet customer expectations and seasonal or even unexpected changes in demand. Taking this visibility factor further is managing inventory across multiple warehouse locations. In the cloud, this can all be visible from one location or from multiple locations.
In the cloud, a company can have real-time visibility into its warehouses and other inventory locations, either domestically or internationally. If the company has an international presence, the right multi-subsidiary management system gives it both global visibility and localized control, so that inventory can be managed centrally or managed by location. This type of visibility will help influence purchasing requirements versus transfer requirements.
Unlike spreadsheets or desktop applications, the cloud doesn’t tether a company to a desk. Web-based inventory management gives personnel anywhere, anytime access to real-time data, whether on the road with a mobile device or receiving alerts on the warehouse floor. Metrics-driven dashboards let managers continuously monitor and improve performance.
NetSuite Cloud Inventory takes inventory management to a new level. It gives a company the ability to easily grow with the business. It allows users to configure the system to their business requirements. And it gives them full visibility within their warehouse and across multiple locations.