There are literally hundreds of inventory control software programs available and choosing the best one for a particular business is imperative. Understanding what features the inventory control software offers, the initial price, any recurring charges, the software compatibility with current systems, and its scalability are factors to consider. Knowing what is needed to support the company's business will also help to make an appropriate purchase decision.
Common features of this type of software include inventory stock level tracking, purchase order history, current purchase order status, and standard pricing tables. Other features included may be: serial number tracking, automatic reorder points, expiration date tracking, volume pricing tables, multiple cost methods, multiple location inventory separation, and kitting or bill of material (BOM) process capabilities. Some or all of these features may be required depending upon the type of business that will be using the software.
Price and recurring charges are other factors to review when deciding on which inventory software to purchase. Since the purchase price will be paid up front, determine how long the software will be in use to calculate the cost per year. Recurring charges such as license fees, upgrade charges, and troubleshooting charges should also be reviewed. The prices for these "extras" vary significantly by supplier so companies should understand how often their business may need to use these services to determine what they can expect to pay.
Software compatibility with current systems may be the most important factor when deciding how to choose the best inventory control software. Typically, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems already include an inventory control module. If the company does not utilize ERP systems or has other systems such as research and development (R&D), engineering change tracking, warehouse management, and financial management to incorporate with the new inventory control software, then an IT professional should review for compatibility. If the current and new software are not compatible, the company will not get the complete benefit of having all of the information flow from one system to the other.
Scalability is another factor to consider when choosing an inventory software. Depending on the size and future plans of the business, certain software may be better than others. For example, if the company plans to expand significantly within a short period, will the software be able to support many more users and data files? Ensuring the inventory control software has the ability to grow as the business grows is an important factor in the decision making process.