Here's what to look for in an inventory-replenishment application
Managing inventory can be one of the most complex and daunting tasks for retailers. Inventory-replenishment software can help by streamlining product reorders to meet customer demand. It also takes into account important factors that affect a company’s bottom line, such as staying within inventory budgets, improving inventory turns and forecasting supply chains.
When choosing inventory-replenishment software, you’ll need a solution that fits both your budget and store processes. Here’s what to look for in an inventory replenishment software.
One of the biggest challenges in choosing an inventory-replenishment software application is finding one that has all the features you need, but also fits your budget.
Inventory-replenishment software is one of the bigger software investments your company will make. Most services offer different monthly subscription packages starting at $199 per month up to $599 or more. Factors that go into pricing include the number of users, how many products you have in your inventory, how many locations your store has, integrations with retail solutions your company uses and compliance with trade regulations.
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Email customer support is included in most plans. However, many vendors charge extra for one-on-one phone or chat support and priority email support. Expect to pay around $150 per month for premium customer support.
Another challenge is that most vendors don't have pricing information listed on their website and marketing materials. You'll have to contact them and speak with a sales representative for a quote.
The primary purpose of using inventory-replenishment software is make it easier for retailers to efficiently manage the flow of product orders and minimize or prevent out-of-stock items. Not all inventory-replenishment solutions are the same, but the best ones work hand-in-hand with each store’s unique needs.
Here are some key features to look for in an inventory replenishment software. The best applications:
- Have an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard to access all your data
- Show you exact quantities of your stock on hand, lead time for reorders and vendor servicing times
- Tell you when to reorder products based on lead times, demand forecasts and provide an analysis of supply-and-demand histories
- Recommends ideal quantities of reorders based on an individual store’s needs
- Automate replenishments with scheduled reorders
- Review and approve future orders to stay within financial constraints
- Consider various vendors and ordering channels to minimize lead times and improve restock rates
- Provide inventory-management tools for accurate merchandise planning
- Create reports and summaries of past replenishments to discover trends
- Can manage both at the store level and by departments or subdepartments
- Help improve inventory turns to decrease markdowns and waste
- Tests what-if scenarios to test ideas and mitigate risks
The best inventory-replenishment software also goes beyond the store’s inventory and takes into account vendor data. This is especially important to calculate order cycles, lead times and total costs of restocking items.
Your inventory replenishment software should tell you a vendor’s:
- Minimum order requirements
- Pricing minimums
- Individual and bulk or warehouse pricing
- Processing and fulfillment times
- Shipping costs, time and location
- Shipping measurements, such as whether products ship by units, cases, containers, or pounds or truckloads
- Special deals or discounts
- Service and purchase order terms
By using inventory replenishment software, retailers can efficiently manage their inventory, prevent in-demand items from going out of stock, minimize overstock and stay within their budgetary constraints. The key is finding the right software that automates the process and forecasts demand by considering your store’s unique needs and how vendors ship out their products.