When sales of products and services depend on sufficient inventory without overstock, every business owner relies on accurate information. Sales are lost when the customer is told an item is stock, but the salesperson finds that the webpage and shelf do not reflect the same information. Customers have little patience when an item is needed, but the store is not able to track the inventory. Service businesses waste countless hours every year moving supply inventory from one location to another since every employee needs certain supplies to complete work for paying customers.

All of the challenges of managing inventory must be addressed through efficient business practices, and the following online inventory management applications have been designed to enhance the control necessary to maintain proper levels of supply and sales inventory.

Inventory for today....

Inventory for today....

1. Connect-2-Field – For the service-based business, this powerful online tool is specifically designed to work with smartphones. Each employee accesses the online application through the website and performs all paperwork electronically. Inventory availability can be verified and requested from the proper location without leaving the job site. Parts requests can be sent to the office for a courier to deliver requested parts while work continues. Communication is enhanced because each employee updates his work status and paperwork online for review by office personnel. Office personnel can read the information and provide the necessary information to complete the job.

2. Visual Online – Local software installation is not required with Visual Online, so easy access from absolutely any location is simple and convenient. All functionality is available to the user who wishes to verify existing inventory at each location, order replacements, and run reports to monitor actual inventory. Each department, location, and warehouse can be managed separately for appropriate delivery scheduling. User permission can be limited to certain inventory stores to prevent overlap.

3. Megaventory – Custom transaction types can be defined for the business with unique product return and credit handling policies. Megaventory will closely control all aspects of ordering and managing an inventory across multiple locations by providing tight user permission controls that prevent duplication of effort. When inventory levels drop below preset levels, alerts are sent to the appropriate users for immediate action.

4. Zoho CRM – Beyond the standard Customer Relationship Management functionality found in most CRM applications, Zoho takes convenience one step further by maintaining preferred vendor lists. Inventory is managed entirely through the web interface to order the appropriate number of items directly from vendors for delivery on time to the correct location. Complete integration of the inventory function makes sales quotes, price books, and invoices consistent with all other aspects of the sales cycle.

5. Bright Pearl – For businesses with a storefront and a website operating concurrently from the same inventory stores, real-time information is paramount to satisfying customer requests without shortages. Bright Pearl grants the website customer the ability to reserve a product in the online shopping cart and marks the product as “allocated” to prevent the salesperson behind the counter from selling the last item on the shelf. Certain products can be marked for “online sales only,” or “store only,” and the application will track the availability with up-to-the-second accuracy.

6. Unleashed – Businesses that currently use Xero accounting software will benefit from the ease of the Unleashed online inventory management application. Full integration occurs when the online accounts are established in Unleashed. Careful inventory monitoring is possible because of the real-time updates that occur from the ecommerce store and the point of sale in the storefront. Supply, sales, and office supply inventories are tracked and reordering is simple to initiate and complete.

Appropriate inventory levels are essential to maintaining sufficient cash flow in any business. Aging inventory can expire or become obsolete without anyone realising the products are on the shelves unless accurate inventory information is kept. When all aspects of the inventory are visible through electronic reminders and accurate reports, inventory management is integrated into other business processes. Dependable inventory information enhances employee productivity and reduces frustration for those who depend on sufficient inventory to complete job duties.

In addition to being powerful inventory management applications, security within each tool is designed to protect all business-related information in these online applications. Technological security protocols are maintained to prevent breaches of the website and the database where information is stored. Business owners can be confident that use of an online inventory management tool will not compromise confidentiality or competitive advantage within the marketplace.

James Adams blogs and is a reviewer for CartridgeSave, an online shop for discount ink cartridges.

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