When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use Automation in Inventory Management
Tools for automating business processes can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the concept of reducing (or outright removing) human intervention is tantalizing: Doing so can expedite your workflow and reduce the risk of human error. On the other, it can cause you to make bigger, potentially catastrophic mistakes. Smart inventory management requires discretion when it comes to implementing automation tools. Sometimes, the human element is required. Let’s dive into when you should and shouldn’t use these tools.
When to AutomateThere are key processes in inventory management that should be automated when possible. Fishbowl Warehouse is a business automation platform designed for optimal inventory management. It gives you a comprehensive set of tools to track your orders, sales and purchasing, shipping, reporting, and more. If your business operates from multiple warehouses, a tool like this is essential. One of the most important automation features of this platform is its ability to sync up data across multiple locations. Because it puts all of your information in one easy-to-use location, you can avoid redundancies, lost inventory, and other common errors. Furthermore, accounts payable errors can cause a lot of headache (and financial cost) to a business. From batch invoicing mistakes to late payments, there are a wide range of hurdles that can complicate matters. Luckily, there are tools available that can streamline the process, nearly removing the need for human intervention completely. Some software developers look to automate your accounts payable workload as much as possible with Tipalti, including invoicing, payment, and reconciliation processes. By streamlining supplier management, collecting tax-related documents, processing and approving invoices, and automatically communicating payment status to suppliers, these applications can result in a lot of saved time. Some additional tools and features you’ll want to look for include:
- Data capture/recognition software: Instead of hiring workers to tediously enter data manually (which can lead to bad data due to human error), seek out software that can automatically scan and recognize handwriting. This is a common feature of workflow automation software.
- Invoice routing and validation: Getting an invoice approved for exception handling and authorization can be an involved process, leading to payment delays. Automatically routing an invoice from approver to approver can decrease this wait. Furthermore, if the software can match information on an invoice with relevant documents, it can automatically validate it as authentic, reducing time spent manually reviewing purchase orders.