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Small Business Inventory Software

The Basics of Small Business Inventory Software

Any small business requires an effective system of managing its inventory. Depending on the nature of the small business, the inventory software may require specialized design to deal with exceedingly complex industries, such as a manufacturer who must measure the initial inventory of raw materials, and then the subsequent transformation of those materials into finished products. Describing manufacturing processes in terms of physical inventory is a very complex function, and is not often a feature found in off-the-shelf inventory software.

There are several major inventory software suppliers for small business that offer inventory processing as a module of a comprehensive accountancy program. Intuit QuickBooks, a commonly employed desktop accountancy program, offers a basic inventory module that allows users to log purchases of items. Fishbowl Accounting is an inventory program that can be synced to run with QuickBooks. Other programs, such as inFlow Inventory Software, are designed chiefly for inventory management, and can easily manage several thousands products. inFlow offers several different information fields associated with each product, including the manufacturer, the last purchase price, the company’s item number, the type of inventory (i.e., stockable versus perishable), the category and the selling price of the item.

Small business inventory software allows users to perform detailed studies of how their inventory ages and moves over time. Managing inventory effectively is often as much about buying the item at the lowest price as it is about knowing how much of the item to buy, and when. Stocking any given item is risky if the item does not sell well. Conversely, if a business buys too little of a very popular item, supply shortages can very often damage the company’s financial well being. Careful business owners will spend time analyzing the trends in their inventory over time, based not only on seasonal trends, but on what customers buy what. By more closely syncing their orders to sales trends, business owners can save a great deal of money and increase their buying power. Excellent small business inventory software provides business owners with the ability to quickly generate comprehensive reports that can supply this information.

Managing multiple points of dispersal is another function of small business inventory software. Retailers and manufacturers rarely have one single point of dispersal; in some cases, there is a front store counter, and also a shipping counter. While individuals may purchase single items from the front store counter, items may be shipped in bulk from the shipping counter. Although this may sound simple in theory, on an especially busy day, items can disappear or not be properly logged in the system, leading to an inaccurate inventory count. By integrating the ability to read products via barcode, and having multiple terminals that are able to update the system in real time, inventory software can give an accurate assessment of a company’s holdings. As any small business owner will attest, being able to avoid shutting down business in order to perform a manual inventory count is well worth the investment in quality software.

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