When your business rapidly grows, managing inventory correctly requires more effort. Sticking to a pen and paper, in that case, will only lay the whole mess in the operational routine, which will restrain your business from healthy development or kill it eventually. According to Wasp Barcode Technologies Research of SMB, 43% of small businesses do not track their inventory or do it manually. So why should you be among them?
Automating your inventory management can be an advantage in a constant struggle with your competitors. But the reason for making friends with specialized software is not only the digitalization trend around the SMB community but a vital necessity already. Here are the most obvious pros of getting rid of manual inventory management:
- Reducing the funds “frozen” in unnecessary stocks;
- Decreasing your warehouse costs such as rent, workers’ salaries, and variable costs;
- Improving your order accuracy;
- Integrating with other business tools: POS, accounting, CRM, bookkeeping;
- Ramping up your customer’s loyalty with favorite goods always on stock.
Today, inventory management software is available for small business owners as never before. However, finding the one to pick may become an unnecessary challenge for constantly busy business people. So, I tried to do the job for you and gathered a list of top-5 inventory management solutions that fit for small businesses. Just decide on crucial features for you, calculate your budget, and choose the most suitable option.
Top-5 Inventory Management Software Solutions For SMB
To form the list, I used the following criteria: price affordability, ability to integrate at least with accounting software, and overall positive perception of users (based on 3d party reviews).
Odoo is open-source software that primarily focuses on small business needs but allows for tailoring to any size on demand. It is highly customizable, as well. Until you start using it with other products of the company, it will cost you nothing. Afterward, the pricing starts at $20/mo per user (the trial period is provided).
The app allows you to add 3d party integrations from their app store, in case you need a ready for use solution (for example, to integrate with QuickBooks). In the meantime, Odoo provides its client with a bunch of integrated solutions, which help to unfold the whole digital infrastructure for the business: from marketing to inventory management.
Odoo has a really impressive knowledge base, and it seems like they guide clients through all stages of development. However, client reviews indicate that they have some problems with support, and sometimes it is hard to find answers on questions regarding the product implementation and setup.
My recommendation: perfect match for custom user experience.
If Odoo was great for custom and almost universal purposes, Fishbowl, on the contrary, aims only at inventory management. Its core audiences are wholesalers, retailers, and producers, who want to stay in touch with their QuickBooks solutions. But if you think that Fishbowl is a niche tool for QBO fans, you might be wrong! Xero, Shopify, WooCommerce, Salesforce. Those are the loudest names from the list of supported integrations, but not the only one. Check the full list here.
The Fishbowl platform comprises two sub-products: Fishbowl Manufacturing and Fishbowl Warehouse. Plus, the company offers additional services and hardware.
Customers appreciated the user-friendly interface and client-centric support. But some users don’t like the reporting system, as it seems not always applicable to some businesses.
Fishbowl offers a standard free 14-day trial period, and the price is $4395 one-time. Discounts available for multi-users purchased.
My recommendation: best option for QuickBooks users.
You might know Zoho as an almighty octopus of business automation. So I couldn’t walk past this niche solution, as I like Zoho products myself. Accept being integrated into its ecosystem, Zoho Inventory has a variety of useful connections with other services: from payment systems to shipping providers. You can go through the whole list here.
The solution is cloud-based, so no need for local installs. And you can access your inventory anywhere. Prices start at $49/mo per user, which gives Zoho Inventory perfect cost per quality ratio. Free trial included.
In general, customers like Zoho products, but their pricing transparency can freak new users out. Sometimes, if you buy a subscription per one product, it will eventually induce you to buy a unit with additional functionality that has not been featured in your current plan.
My recommendation: best for the active users of Zoho services.
Dear Systems focuses not only on inventory management in its classic way but builds a wide infrastructure around it. Purchasing, sales, payments, accounting, manufacturing, POS, and eCommerce – and it’s not the whole list of cool things that Dear can offer.
Besides, Dear Systems provides a user-friendly approach to onboarding customers. The overall design of the product looks attractive and simple. Webinars, video records, and detailed documentation will guide you through the integration process. Dear Systems offers a wide range of integrations, should you find that their features don’t cover your needs 100%, including integrations with QuickBooks and Xero.
Dear is featured in the Top-20 Inventory Management Software (2019) list on Capterra. And to me, it means a lot, as well as to many other users on the planet. Pricing starts at $199/mo. A free first month included in an annually paid plan.
My recommendation: ideal if you want seamless integration experience: from onboarding to accounting platforms integration.
One more cloud-based multi-tool for managing inventory and a whole bunch of other companies’ assets is Cin7. It becomes the best option if your business uses an omnichannel distribution model. Cin7 sets its mission as providing customers with an all-in-one platform for containing costs as they expand to new markets and add sales channels.
SMB owners will appreciate the high-level support of the product team. Especially when it comes to the initial implementation of Cin7 into their existing infrastructure. Customers also highlight the great flexibility of Cin7 and the convenient analytical platform behind it. In 2019, Cin7 was also featured in the Top-20 Inventory Management Software list.
My recommendation: fits for data transparency and numbers fans. If you need precise analytics of your inventory and related assets, Cin7 is the best option.
Integrating software can be a headache for overloaded business owners. And inventory management system won’t be an exception. So take a deep breath and choose the option that offers the best support, the easiest onboarding, and has a wide user community behind. Keep in mind not only features you need right now but those that you will need in a few years later.
If you have already gone through the integration process, what challenges did you face?
Or maybe you are currently choosing your ideal vendor? What is your potential choice? Share your opinion with me in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.