Until recent years, cloud technology was only used by a handful of organizations, but it’s now become crucial to firms of all sizes in every industry. However, many businesses, especially those on a smaller scale, aren’t fully aware of what the cloud can do, and are therefore a bit intimidated by it.
The cloud is a network of software and services that run on the internet instead of locally on a computer. It allows users to access programs and data from anywhere with an internet connection, making it convenient to use.
When it comes to using the cloud for inventory management, you can use software-as-a-service, or SaaS, in collaboration with other inventory solutions. Though it has many different uses, a cloud-based inventory management system is especially advantageous for ecommerce businesses.
Take it from cloud expert and Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, who says that “the movement to the cloud is an inevitable destination; this is how computing will evolve over the next several years.” Investing in the continued growth of your company by adopting a cloud-based system will be beneficial now, but will become imperative in the future. Here are a few of the reasons why thousands of businesses are choosing cloud-based solutions for their inventory management.
1. Remote access
By moving inventory data to the cloud, you can remove restrictions as to where and how you’re able to access that information. Whether at the office or working from home, you can analyze the same reports and use the same applications. Remote access also makes organizational communication much easier. Rather than sending files back and forth over email or exchanging information through lengthy phone calls, team members can collaboratively update shared files in real time.
Cloud systems keep all data in one central location, which minimizes time wasted on duplicative efforts or manual errors, and makes collaboration stronger, faster and simpler. Cloud computing service provider DP Solutions writes, “This type of anytime, anywhere accessibility often results in the kind of productivity and efficiency that is essential in the global economy.” Cloud-based inventory management facilitates convenience and communication for international corporations and startups alike.
Growing online retailers need inventory management systems that can grow with them. As warehouse operations gain scale, a cloud-based system can adjust and expand to fit the retailer’s needs. When growing your company, adding a new system for each new business area can create conflicts with your existing services and slow your progress. On the other hand, a scalable cloud system can support multiple business models and manage international expansions, which can include adding support for multiple countries, accepting multiple currencies, and conforming to a range of tax regimes. As cloud-computing company NetSuite advises, “If neglected, [scalability] will come back to haunt you when your company’s success overloads with high transaction volumes.”
3. Real-time inventory control
Monitoring inventory levels and maintaining up-to-date information is a continuous struggle that all retail firms have to endure. Having too much inventory on hand can limit cash flow, but carrying too little inventory can result in back orders, dissatisfied customers and the loss of potential revenue. This challenge is greater for ecommerce companies because sales can come from a number of virtual sources.
Inventory that’s managed in the cloud can give businesses a more real-time visibility into their stock levels. Whenever you receive an order, make a sale or dispatch a shipment, your inventory data is updated instantaneously. Moreover, you’ll have a more holistic view of current inventory, which will give you better insights into the demands of your business. Understanding inventory flow can help you optimize your open-to-buy and cash flow abilities.
4. Cost effectiveness
In the long run, cloud-based inventory management systems are immensely cost efficient. Access to SaaS systems is typically offered on a per-month, per-user basis, which limits your investment on the front-end, and allows you to only pay for the resources you use.
Utilizing the cloud also helps better align staff requirements with innovation tactics. Because inventory managed in the cloud is so streamlined, fewer personnel are needed for basic upkeep and maintenance duties. Additionally, fewer team members are needed to record inventory levels, which allows their skills to be utilized for more meaningful business activities, like marketing or customer service. Maintaining lean stock levels can prevent the need to discount merchandise and improves maintained markup percentage. Using a cloud-based system to best understand the movement of your inventory levels can increase your total long-term profits.
Moving your inventory management system into the cloud is a smart decision on multiple levels. It improves total business efficiencies and makes the inventory management process much more convenient. A cloud-based system will propel your business into the future and change the way your business operates for the better.