Here are three features that every company will rely on their inventory control software in the future.
Good inventory control is all about having the right product in the right place and at the right time. And thanks to the ecommerce boom, which is expected to hit $4.5 trillion in sales(opens in new tab) for the B2C sector and $1.2 trillion(opens in new tab) on the B2B front by 2021, the need for reliable inventory management procedures has grown significantly over the past few years.
As companies strategize on how to best procure and position inventory in a way that meets their customers’ changing demands, many of them are using inventory control software to streamline the process while saving time, money and manpower. In return, those companies get more accurate inventory records, better vendor relationships, reduced errors, improved operational efficiencies and enhanced customer service.
Encompassing all aspects of a firm’s inventory management process—including purchasing, shipping, receiving, tracking, warehousing, storage and reordering—inventory control software provides accurate inventory counts, automates supplier management and product reordering, and provides data that can be used for good decision-making.
As inventory control software continues to evolve, vendors are adding new features and capabilities to their solutions. Here are three that benefit a broad range of companies across all industries:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning. By making machines work and react like humans, artificial intelligence (AI) is working together with machine learning (ML) to help companies automate their operations and free up human labor to focus on more important projects.
Considered futuristic in the inventory management realm, AI and ML will continue to make their way into inventory control software. Right now, for example, distributors are already using chatbots combined with analytics solutions to confirm order status from their manufacturers. Taking that concept a step further, ecommerce sites will incorporate AI-enabled chatbots that provide real-time customer data on: what’s currently in stock, how much those items cost and the supplier’s shipping policies.
The employee who once staffed that chatbot can then be reallocated to another position, thus improving overall labor utilization. Artificial intelligence will also help companies make more out of their existing warehouse space, cut production costs and improve their demand forecasting—all of which will help them improve their inventory management, customer service and bottom lines.
All the Right Moves
The need for good inventory controls isn’t going away. In fact, it’s becoming a strategic imperative for more and more companies as the pace of business speeds up and as customers become more demanding. Future-forward features such as AI, VMI, and mobile device integration can greatly improve the efficiency of inventory management.
Using a solution like NetSuite allows companies to consolidate their inventory systems into a single, integrated warehouse inventory control solution. Completely integrated with NetSuite financials and customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities, the solution provides complete visibility into all demand and supply measurements across the entire organization.