1. How extensive is your stock management?
Inventory management of a small business looks different from that of a large enterprise. That goes without saying, but it also means that the two companies have different needs. That, in turn, makes the software they choose differ as well.
>> Find out more about analyzing your needs in step 1 of this post.
2. What software do other companies use for their inventory management?
Every company is different; that has been touched on above. But getting ideas and inspiration from others is always helpful. Scour your environment and look for the software others are using. Asking around is for free. (Okay, maybe you have to pay the other party a beer, but that's about it, right?)
Ask your competitive colleagues
If you maintain good contacts with some competitors, they can already point you in the right direction. After all, they are entrepreneurs in the same industry. Even though their business may differ from yours, they will undoubtedly share many of your needs. That is why they form an excellent starting point for your search for the right software.
Ask your staff
If you have a sole entrepreneur, you may not have any employees. But if you are an SME with staff, you should not forget about the input of your staff. Have they had to work with inventory management software at another company in the past? What were their experiences with that software?
Ask your acquaintances
You can also simply ask around in your circle of friends and acquaintances. There may also be some entrepreneurs among them. Or maybe there are white-collar workers who have already come into contact with inventory management software in the company they work for.
3. Surf around and ask Google
Nowadays you can find everything online. And for software, that is increasingly the rule rather than the exception. “Google is your friend” has become the credo of the 21st century for a reason. A few simple keywords will get you far.
When you google inventory management, chances are you'll immediately come across familiar programs. Perhaps you've seen the software advertised before, or maybe you've heard the name mentioned during your survey. If you have heard a lot of good things from others, then it is certainly worth taking a little more time to consider the company in question.
But remain critical! Remember that your business is unique.
4. Make a shortlist of stock software that interests you.
Compare the stock management software you encounter based on tip 1 with your own needs and wishes. You can immediately exclude some packages when you notice that they can't even handle your basic processes.
The shortlist consists of as many programs as you wish. Moreover, that number depends on many factors: the size of your company, the urgency with which you want to implement, the time you want to invest in the search, etc. There is no magic number, but try to get at least 3. A selection of three to five is a feasible list.
5. Request a few demonstrations.
While one company works with trial versions, the other works with demonstrations. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Which you prefer depends on these factors: the size and complexity of your inventory management, as well as the time you want to invest in each inventory program before making your choice.
Trial or test version
Everyone knows the principle of the free trial. You may use the software for a limited time or for a limited number of actions to experience for yourself whether the program is right for you. This works well when your inventory management is relatively limited and simple.
However, when the complexity increases, the usefulness of such try-it-yourself options quickly drops. For a more comprehensive tool, it is not always possible to find out exactly how your complex process fits into the program. Often the learning curve with that software is just a bit higher. This does not mean that the program is unsuitable for your company. So don't get discouraged! Feel free to ask the sales or support staff of that software company for help.
Demonstrations have been around for ages; the same goes for inventory management software. A salesperson introduces the program to you and he or she shows where the power of their tool lies. Moreover, the representative who gives the demo immediately thinks along with you. In the best case, he or she will therefore concentrate on the functionalities you are looking for during the demonstration. That is the power of such a personal touch.
The biggest advantage of a demonstration is the time you save. Although a decent demonstration can easily take an hour, that's nothing compared to the time it would take you if you had to figure everything out yourself.
While demonstrations used to be often given face-to-face, there is now a clear trend towards online demos. The technology is well developed for this, so that often does not affect the quality of the demonstration. However, it is an efficient method. If you do attend a face-to-face meeting, don't worry: many companies are still willing to meet you.
Choosing good inventory management software is important
Choosing new inventory management software is an important decision for your administration. Start the process by analyzing your own needs and asking around. That way you are already prepared when you scour the internet for tips and possible suppliers.
Once you have a good idea of the possible software vendors, make a shortlist of the programs that seem most suitable for your business. You then request demonstrations and/or trial versions, so that you can compare the advantages and disadvantages of each program. The rest is up to you.
Are you interested in a free demonstration our solution? Don't hesitate to request a demo.