A question every business needs to ask is: how much does inventory management software cost.1 You can’t expect to get something for nothing. But you should be able to expect high quality for the right price.
For example, you might try something extremely cheap at first. If you use a solution like Excel to manage your inventory level manually, you’re limited by its features. Excel is not designed specifically for inventory management. So it won’t be able to automate your business processes.
On the other hand, there are incredibly expensive solutions, such as ERPs. Those types of solutions are probably overkill in many ways. First, they offer too many features that a small business doesn’t need. Second, they are too expensive. What you need, most likely, is something in between the extremes. An affordable solution that will meet your needs now and grow with you in the future.
Let’s talk more about how to find the best inventory management software for you. At a reasonable price.
Purchasing Inventory Software
Purchasing small business inventory software is a big deal. You need to make sure you make the best choice. Because the wrong one could lead to more expenses and wasted time.
Even if you pay nothing for your inventory software or warehouse management system, you will still pay in other ways. How? By spending excessive amounts of time on jobs that would otherwise be fairly simple. Such as ordering, receiving, picking, packing, and shipping, among other warehouse jobs. That is the cost of a manual inventory management system. It is much better to get an automated inventory control system.
Here are three ways to help you avoid paying too much for inventory management software:
1. Define Your Needs
If you know exactly what you need, you’ll have an easier time judging between inventory or warehouse management software solutions. Whether they are right for you or not. Make a checklist that includes inventory management tools such as barcode printing and scanning of different types of barcodes, inventory tracking, warehouse management, inventory data organization, and inventory level or stock level forecasting. Armed with this information, you can narrow down the field to inventory optimization solutions that have the features you’re looking for.
Keep in mind that your needs will change as you grow. Thus, it’s a good idea to research and find out what other features you’ll need in a few years. A cheaper solution might wind up costing you more if it’s not scalable and must be replaced when you outgrow it. Instead of learning a new solution every few years, it’s better to stay with a solid solution.
2. Ask About Promotions
Let’s say you find a great inventory software solution, but it’s just outside of your price range. How can you deal with that situation? You could ask if they’re offering a special promotion or if they’re willing to accept a payment plan. This is a good strategy to start taking your small business to the next level without overextending yourself financially.
Often, software providers will be willing to work with you on the price and upfront cost. With the right solution, you should be able to decrease your costs. So the inventory system will justify its price over time. However, that is another topic we will discuss next.
3. Measure Your Return on Investment
Good inventory or warehouse management should pay for itself within the first few months of purchasing it. The inventory system pays for itself by cutting costs, increasing revenue, saving time, and reducing staff needs. You can do more with less.
It’s possible to calculate your return on investment before buying inventory management software by using an ROI tool. Simply compare the ROI of multiple inventory software solutions. That way, you can tell which one offers the best value.
The Right Price for Inventory Software
Now that we’ve discussed all these factors, we’ll return to the original question. How much should inventory software cost? It all depends on if it does the job you want it to, doesn’t break the bank, and pays for itself quickly. It’s up to you to decide what is the right amount to pay.
The right inventory software could turn out to be much cheaper than other solutions. Or it could be more expensive at the start but save you more money in the long run.
A good way to test inventory management software is to sign up for an online demo of it. Fishbowl is the No. 1 selling inventory management software for QuickBooks. See for yourself if it feels right for you.