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Five Tips for Choosing an Inventory Management System

The best inventory management system for your business is the one that works for you. But what does that system look like?

Inventory management solutions can vary from company to company and even from job location to job location. To best identify the  system that will work for your company, follow the guidance in the following five tips for choosing the right inventory management system:

Tip #1 – Set a Goal

What would you like your new system to do? You may say “increase productivity,” but what does that really mean to you? Is it reducing costs or waste, organizing materials and resources, maximizing efficiency, or simply losing less money on stockouts?

Each of these goals may require a different approach, so be clear about exactly what you want to do and why. When you set your goals, you can better define and communicate the guidelines you’d like to set for yourself; and it gets that much easier to reject systems that don’t put your specific needs front and center.

Tip #2 – Make it Flexible and Measurable

There are two requirements to keep top of mind when choosing your inventory management system.

First, ensure your system is flexible, scalable, and customizable. If you plan to grow, choose a system that will grow with you. If a system can’t be configured the way you’ll need it to be a year from now, it probably isn’t the system for you.

Second, have a way to track the quantity and frequency of what you’re using as you’re using it. Systems with reporting and data collection abilities will allow you to do this and keep an accurate count of inventory. Tracking and measuring your data will not only help you maximize your system’s efficiency, but it will also help you plan and budget for your future needs.

Tip #3 – Prepare Your Team to Accept Change

Change can be difficult and disruptive to your workforce. No matter how small or simple the change, there’s bound to be some internal resistance because a new system will affect how some people do their jobs.

To make the transition easier, have the people who are directly impacted by these changes get involved early. This can give your team a say in how your new system will be set up, and it gets them invested in decisions that may allow them to have an influence on how they do their work. You’ll boost morale and encourage people to adapt to the changes more effectively.

Tip #4 – Plan to Invest Time with Your Team

When preparing for your new inventory management system, don’t assume that you will flip a switch and everyone involved will understand the new system perfectly.

Taking the time to train your staff will help overcome your team’s possible feelings of resistance. When you communicate the impact of these new processes, emphasize how the new inventory management system will make their job easier and less stressful in the long run.

Tip #5 – Start Small

Tackling your entire inventory all at once can be a lot to take on, and doing so risks the possibility of overwhelm and frustration for your entire company. What if something goes wrong?

Instead, identify your most critical items or those used most often at your job sites, and start your program with those items first. Take time to learn the new system and have the company adjust to the impact those systems have on your business. Once you’ve worked through the process with this small slice of inventory, grow your program from there, eliminating problem areas and identifying what works best for your company’s style.

Putting it all Together

Learn more about VMI SystemsThese five tips will come in handy as you choose your inventory management system and plan your implementation. Be sure to look to your HZ Electric Solutions Manager for their expertise and guidance in ensuring a smooth roll-out that keeps your team on-board and invested.

Learn how to grow your business with an Inventory Management System that fits your business and your budget.

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Got questions about your VMI system? Call Eric Martenson at (413) 262-2705 today or CLICK HERE for assistance.