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The inventory advisor

May 16, 2016

Time to ditch that inventory spreadsheet

Every day, we talk to frustrated inventory managers that are looking for ways to improve their inventory planning process. Often, they’re stuck on a spreadsheet to manage their ordering, and that’s why we’ve been glued to The Inventory Mentor as they roll out their series on the hidden costs of inventory spreadsheets.

This week, they’ve posted their final instalment in the series, which looks beyond Excel towards the options that can replace those unruly spreadsheets. The right choice for many businesses struggling with inventory issues is an Inventory Management System, also known as an IMS. While there are always exceptions to the rule, a quality IMS will help transform a business’ ordering process.

Finding the right IMS

It is critical to find an IMS with the right tools, of course, and not all solutions are the same. It is advisable to look for an IMS that offers a variety of tools, such as user-friendly dashboards that make it easy to drill down into what’s really going on. Whether that’s at a warehouse level or an individual part level, gaining visibility into what’s happening is critical. A quality IMS will also deliver key performance indicators, advanced forecasts, and policy setting tools, among other features.

An IMS is all about ROI. You should see a rapid return on your investment, as you make smarter, more optimal orders and as you save time putting those orders together. An IMS can pay for itself relatively quickly, and it will continue to pay dividends every time you use it. It doesn’t take an inventory expert to see how this is a serious improvement compared to those old spreadsheets.

Don’t be shy as you search out which IMS best fits your company. Make sure you can get the visibility you need to make optimal orders, so you can strike that perfect balance in your warehouse. Whether you’ve been carrying a ton of extra stock or you’ve been suffering from painful stock-outs, an IMS will guide you to a better process. And your inventory manager will save hours a week when they are able to finally trash that spreadsheet.

The IMS game has changed

Better still, there are IMS options available now which were specifically built for small and medium sized businesses. Software that used to take weeks to implement and had serious start-up costs can now be implemented in an afternoon for a fraction of the cost. Some are cloud-based solutions, which enables users to access inventory dashboards anywhere, anytime. Be sure to take a moment to think over what your biggest inventory challenges are currently. That’s how you’ll identify which IMS is the best choice for you.

There’s never been a better time to upgrade to an IMS, and there’s simply no excuse for using the manual, labor-intensive process you’ve been using with Excel.

It’s time to ditch your labyrinth of an inventory spreadsheet. You’ll be glad you did.