What is the cost of receiving and processing one order? From creating a catalog to sending a sales rep to a customers retailer location, the actual...
3 Criteria Nurseries Should Look for in an Inventory Control System
Manual inventory management on a single excel sheet likely costs you more than you think. Paired with a manual order process, it’s a recipe for chargebacks, and over or underselling. Simple technology specifically made for growers an opportunity to reduce waste and increase profit margins.
Manual inventory management on a single excel sheet likely costs you more than you think. Paired with a manual order process, it’s a recipe for charge-backs, and over or underselling. Simple technology specifically made for growers offers small and large operations alike an opportunity to reduce waste and increase profit margins. Of course, technology should work within your specific business and provide you visibility over your entire production, order and invoicing processes. Fortunately, there are plenty of inventory management software options available to nurseries and greenhouse growers and we thought it might be helpful to outline three criteria to consider as you set your business up for long-term success.
1. Production Process Tracking
Nursery and Greenhouse growers have their own specific production processes. An inventory control system should track your product from seed to sale, no production changes required. The inventory tracking system should track each product at every stage so you and your sales team have full visibility over what is currently available and will be in the future.
The inventory management control systems should offer:
- Barcodes or Sku tracking that works within your production process
- Real-time inventory listing and valuations providing details on inventory movements
- Inventory reporting that measures product quality
A good inventory control system allows you to know exactly what you have available to your customers at any given time. Inventory visibility reduces information bottlenecks that waste time and lead to errors during the ordering and fulfillment process.
2. Mobile Capabilities
Your staff are usually out in the field or the greenhouse, so mobile capabilities should be a high priority when looking for new technology to assist with your inventory control. We all know that manual inventory counts will always have their place in this process, but redundant data entry can be eliminated from those counts.
“Mobile devices give growers out in the field the ability to make adjustments and track the movement of their material, so that staff in the back office can be made aware of changes in inventory immediately.” Source- Digger Magazine
Convenience and free exchange of inventory information not only increase internal visibility but it offers better service to customers. Mobile Sales apps like OrderEase’s Rep App provides your sales team access to real-time inventory when placing customer orders. This reduces over and underselling products and improves overall service in the long term. In other words, mobile-enabled inventory tracking allows your staff to view your inventory almost anywhere.
3. Order Fulfilment and Invoicing Capabilities
The last piece of the inventory management puzzle is order and invoicing management. Whenever an order is placed, the inventory system should update based on the contents of the order and an invoice should be created. Inventory systems that include pricing and shipping terms for each customer as a feature will save you a tremendous amount of time on invoicing. Ultimately the inventory system should continuously be counting down as orders are placed and fulfilled. An online ordering solution like OrderEase helps to reduce order entry error by transferring data directly into the inventory system.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of features you should consider but we hope it gives you a good start. The needs of your business are unique and will likely mean that other capabilities will also be important to look into. Ultimately, whatever system you choose, it should reduce as much of the manual work in your inventory management process as possible and will help to increase efficiency in the long term. It's time to get rid paper and excel sheets and evolve your inventory management process.