When you’re operating a store, what you don’t want to see is running out of an item that is selling briskly. When this happens, you know what comes next: would-be customers—and profit—exiting your stores and rushing to a rival store instead. By investing in a good inventory management software, you ensure that none of these happen.
With this in mind, we’ll walk you through the top 3 inventory management software platforms around. We’ll cover standard functionalities such as improved inventory control and advanced forecasting to guide your organization throughout the purchasing, planning, and production operations.
Specifically, we’ll present the core functionalities of NetSuite ERP, Vend, and Zoho Inventory, our contenders for our top 3 inventory management solutions. We will compare them to see how they stack up in terms of inventory tracking, multi-location management, and traceability, among other features. Once you’re through with this article, you’ll have a better picture of which one to invest in.
Inventory management does not have to be a tedious process. But somehow, there are still companies struggling with it. In fact, about 43% of small businesses in the US still don’t track their inventory.
Recently, the popular fashion brand H&M had to report $4.3-billion worth of unsold clothes in their inventory. They were left with either slashing prices or burning the defective items. Either way that means a staggering loss for the brand.
H&M’s overproduction of clothes is attributed to the pressure that ecommerce expansion brought about. As more consumers turned to online shopping, H&M decided to open up more branches all over the world to up their ecommerce game. However, they overestimated the number of products they needed. Clearly, the brand did not have the tool to accurately forecast the demand for their products.
And this is where effective inventory management comes into play. Failure in tracking inventory is sure to lead to forecasting problems. This, in turn, results in unexpected stockouts, excess carrying costs of inventory, or an overflow of inventory that won’t move.
Modern inventory management solutions today have advanced functionalities that improve business efficiency and provide transparency into your stock availability. As even leading ecommerce platforms for small businesses help businesses achieve rapid growth, the only recourse these companies could take is to improve their inventory management to handle the increasing volume of purchases. Keep that in mind as we proceed to look at the top performers in the inventory management software category.
NetSuite ERP is an award-winning software known for its flexible inventory management features. It is a cloud-based solution that provides real-time visibility into your inventory trends, stock availability, and supplier performance. All inventory data are accessible to you 24/7, allowing you to monitor your business from anywhere you are. With complete and reliable visibility into your production workflows, you can meet customer demand more efficiently.
Visibility on multichannel sales and overall inventory makes it easier to work with big retailers and wholesale product deliveries. It allows you to respond to client queries more quickly and accurately. It effectively eliminates the risk of unexpected stock runouts due to inaccurate information.
Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you sign up for NetSuite ERP free trial here.
With NetSuite ERP’s automation processes, you can move from paper-based to automated purchasing. As the platform streamlines purchasing, you save money instead of hurting your bottom line. It also cuts down IT, maintenance, and application upgrade costs as the software aggregates all your data into a single hub. Aside from that, you can count on NetSuite ERP to reduce the time it takes for data entry and organization.
A handy feature of NetSuite ERP is its automated replenishment features. The system automatically calculates stock levels, lead times, and reorder points. This way, the system ensures that you always have the right amount of inventory to meet client demands and service level expectations. On top of that, the software supports planning for multi-location distribution requirements with more advanced parameters, helping you balance the demand and supply across your entire organization.
Vend offers a multi-outlet inventory management software perfect for small businesses and retail stores. It has the right features to improve the efficiency of your inventory management, such as product bundling, barcode imports, and centralized product catalog, among others. The software is handy for easier order management. It automatically generates stock orders as soon as a product drops below its preset levels. This way, you can avoid having insufficient stocks in your inventory.
The software comes with a powerful inventory system that gives you access to your current stock count. The system also compiles your stock history into a reliable report, giving you the chance to make better purchasing decisions in the future. With Vend, you can categorize your products by their name, brand, type, supplier, and SKU, among others.
The vendor has a comprehensive test-drive offer if you want to check the features first. You can easily sign up for Vend free trial here.
Vend speeds up inventory counts by performing multiple counts at the same time. The software gives you full visibility over the number of available stocks you have. It lets you stay aware of your inventory levels and alerts you on low stock conditions. Plus, all your inventory data is synchronized, so you can find any information about your product, inventory, customers, and reports in a single platform.
Among the unique challenges in ecommerce is coordinating your online store items with your inventory. Vend makes this possible by providing one central product catalog that synchronizes products across all your selling channels. This prevents double data entry and reduces human errors, as well.
Zoho Inventory streamlines business operations through its robust set of inventory management tools. The software effectively keeps track of stocks, sales, purchase orders, and shipments. It further simplifies inventory management by its stock control features, order fulfillment tools, and multiple integrations with third-party applications and systems. To maximize the benefits of accounting tools, the software also works perfectly with Zoho Books.
The end-to-end inventory tracking system of the software ensures that your inventory can answer to peak customer demands. Zoho Inventory comes with a batch tracking feature, allowing you to categorize your stocks based on their similar properties and monitor them accordingly. This feature accurately tracks the movement of items, gives you control over the expiration of the items, and allows you to trace batches that have defective items.
The vendor offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features. You can sign up for Zoho Inventory free trial here.
Zoho Inventory also centralizes your inventory record to avoid duplicate data entries, so you do not have to enter item and customer information more than once, saving you valuable time. What’s more, the software integrates with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify, making it easier to manage online orders using the same platform.
The automation features of Zoho Inventory further reduce mundane tasks and allow you to focus on the more important aspects of your business. The system automatically sends you reorder point notifications to prevent out-of-stock situations. The automation rules also extend to sending out personalized order confirmation emails to your clients.
If you need to manage the inventory of multiple store locations, NetSuite ERP is simply the best choice. It has topnotch capabilities for inventory tracking across multiple locations, allowing you to monitor your stores and products in a more organized system. You can arrange the information about your physical store locations in the system in a hierarchical way and then create sublocations from them.
For a finite level of tracking, simply break down these locations into bins. NetSuite ERP’s bin management lets you store any item in any location where they are needed. This way, you’ll have a better view of the inventory levels of all physical locations under your management.
Vend does not lag far when it comes to multi-location inventory management. It can operate and manage stores, back rooms, and warehouses from different locations as well. The software is equipped with tools for balancing and transferring inventory between multiple locations. Vend also supports individual or bulk-adding products into inventories in multiple locations.
Meanwhile, Zoho Inventory’s multi-warehouse management feature lets you track and manage inventory levels across multiple locations. The system’s settings also support creating new warehouses that you can simply enable in the application. Additionally, the software comes with an item overview board, which provides a quick glance at all stock level details of a particular item across all locations.
Verdict: While Vend and Zoho Inventory both support multi-location management, you can count on NetSuite ERP if you need to manage inventory levels of multiple store locations on a more defined scale. NetSuite ERP’s bin management tools make this feat possible.
One of the most important features of an inventory management platform is its stock tracking features, and NetSuite ERP excels the most in this aspect. The platform keeps an accurate count of all the available stocks you have, and it ensures that you never fall below the required safety stock level. It automates the maintenance of the right inventory amount, with order item suggestions appearing when you need to restock your products. This helps prevent out-of-stock scenarios and makes sure that you meet client expectations all the time.
Vend does just as well in this aspect. With its inventory count, the system performs a simultaneous count of your inventory. It also allows you to check inventory levels of other outlets and conduct stock transfer between multiple locations. This way, you can easily transfer items from one store to another to even out the number of stocks you have available in all your stores.
Zoho Inventory follows right behind with its stock tracking feature that comes in two forms: accounting stock and physical stock. The accounting stock is the stock level upon the recording of a transaction. The physical stock, however, is the stock level found in your inventory.
Verdict: Netsuite ERP has more advanced automation features for stock counting. Vend and Zoho Inventory, however, are just as reliable in keeping inventory levels at the required amount.
NetSuite ERP deploys full traceability on your inventory. The system enables serial or lot tracking and records all transaction details for each of them. This allows you to trace products throughout their entire lifecycles and gives you a clear view of each item’s movement in your inventory.
As for Zoho Inventory, the batch and serial number tracking will let you stay on top of inventory tracking. Zoho Inventory’s batch tracking lets you record items per batch, allowing you to trace an item back to the batch they belong to. This comes especially helpful when you have defective or expired items. With the batch tracking feature, you’ll know which set of items may have the same defects and, thus, gain total control over disposable stocks. Meanwhile, the serial number tracking will help you trace the transaction details of the item.
Vend operates on a smaller scale and organizes your products based on several categorizations, such as supplier code, SKU, brand, or tags. It also supports the management of wholesale stocks and gives you a detailed report of your wholesale operations. The system records faulty, unsold, or damaged stocks and is capable of easily returning them to your supplier.
Verdict: NetSuite ERP is the best tool in terms of product organization and traceability. It enforces full traceability for all the products in your inventory, letting you have access to all the transaction details of your items and their movement in your inventory. Zoho Inventory brings efficiency with its batch and serial tracking features, while Vend’s organization is perfect for smaller businesses.
NetSuite ERP provides one inventory management system for your entire company and bridges the operational gap between multiple locations. The software also comes with more than enough inventory and management tools, so you do not have to invest separately in maintenance solutions or upgrade other applications. Aside from that, all the data is centralized, so you and your team can check alternate locations and inventory levels on the fly.
On a similar note, Vend keeps data on inventory levels perfectly synchronized across multiple locations, and it stores all the information you need in one place. This gives you better visibility into your stocks from any place you are accessing it. Additionally, Vend provides one central product catalog for all your items and thus, eliminates the risk of data duplication.
Zoho Inventory’s record-keeping capabilities don’t stray too far from the other two. Like NetSuite ERP and Vend, Zoho Inventory has centralized record-keeping that captures all sales information at once. The system automatically updates inventory quantities, no matter how many selling channels you have. This includes online selling platforms like eBay, Shopify, Etsy, and Amazon. The platform ensures that inventory levels for your physical and online outlets are kept in sync all the time.
Verdict: NetSuite ERP, Zoho Inventory, and Vend are all tied in this aspect. All three platforms offer superb data synchronization and centralized storage capabilities. Also, the top 3 inventory management software solutions are cloud-based, so they are capable of providing access to your inventory from anywhere you are.
The top 3 inventory management software solutions have certain differences when it comes to scalability. NetSuite ERP is the one you’re looking for if your business needs are on a much larger scale. Its real-time inventory visibility makes it possible to handle big retail and operate in more than one location. The system performs well in cases of wholesale product deliveries by ensuring that you have just enough stocks to complete such transactions.
Zoho Inventory is perfect for small and growing businesses. Its warehouse management system checks stock levels and manages warehouse transfer. It also generates reports for each of your warehouses within seconds, guaranteeing the visibility of your inventory across multiple locations. Zoho Inventory also comes with an efficient order management system, where you can effectively manage your offline and online orders.
On a smaller scale is Vend, which operates specifically for retailers. Nonetheless, it deploys the necessary tools for any retailer who wants to step up his game in inventory management. Vend’s inventory system maximizes profits by providing you with details about your current and historical stock. Inventory level reports will guide you in making informed purchasing decisions for your store. Vend also supports multiple retail outlets so you can check product levels at other stores and easily transfer stocks between different outlets.
Verdict: NetSuite ERP has the most advanced inventory management system that is perfect for businesses of all sizes. Zoho Inventory excels just as well, with its inventory management features suited best for small and growing businesses. Vend, however, has limited capabilities and caters mostly to retail operations.
Among the top 3 inventory management software solutions, Zoho Inventory beats the other two applications with its freemium plan perfect for small businesses. However, this plan is strictly limited to 2 users, 1 warehouse, 20 online orders, 20 offline orders, and 20 shipping labels per month. Even so, it’s enough for businesses just starting to upgrade their inventory management. Other than that, Zoho Inventory also offers the most affordable plans, which range from $39 to $199, depending on your business needs.
Vend follows behind with its Lite plan starting at $99 per month, which is good for 1 outlet. The vendor offers a 14-day free trial of the software so you can get up to speed with the features before purchasing the product. Other plans include the pro package, available for $129 per month good for up to 5 outlets. For the Enterprise package, you’ll need to get a quote from the vendor, but it supports multi-store operations with more than 6 outlets.
NetSuite ERP is only available by-quote, so you will have to reach out to the vendor for that. To get to know their features firsthand, the vendor is offering a free demo for their product.
Verdict: If you’re looking for the best free inventory management software solutions, you might want to consider Zoho Inventory. Its freemium plan is good for 2 users and 1 warehouse. Zoho Inventory also offers the most affordable pricing plans, starting at $39. Meanwhile, Vend’s Lite plan is available at $199, while NetSuite ERP is available by quote.
There are many factors to consider in inventory management, but the bottom line is that your inventory must be able to meet consumer demand. An effective inventory management system keeps costs down for your business, keeps your margins high, and protects the quality of your goods.
A large portion of business capital goes right into inventory. Hence, it’s crucially important to take well-planned measures before investing in inventory management. In this case, you may also want to read the various types of inventory management systems that you can choose from. We also listed below some strategies for improving your inventory management.
If you made it this far into our article, we hope we were able to help you choose from the top 3 inventory management software we have listed here. If you still have not made up your mind, we highly recommend NetSuite ERP, the leading inventory management software in the market today. You can easily sign up for NetSuite ERP free trial here.
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