Working with a DIY Inventory System? Here’s How to Get More Bang for Your Buck

Aug 7, 2020 | Healthcheck, Inventory Apps

We love the idea of being self-sufficient – both in business, and in life.

But when it comes something technical (like setting up an inventory system) the DIY approach isn’t always the best way forward.

We talk to hundreds of businesses every year. And that means we’ve seen just about every kind of implementation – from the top-notch projects carried out by trusted partners, to the slapdash implementations from unapproved consultants.

We’ve also seen our fair share of DIY self-implementers. And we can tell you this:

If you’ve set up your own inventory management system, there’s a good chance you’re not getting the most out of it yet.

You’ve already invested a huge amount of time and money into your new system. So if you want to make sure you’re getting the highest return, the best place to start is with a thorough self-assessment.

How to self-assess your inventory system

Here are four of the most important questions you need to ask to see if you’re on the right track:

1. Have your users been trained?

When you think about implementing an inventory system, it’s easy to become focused only on the software. But the best software in the world won’t help if your users don’t know how to get results.

At the very least, they should be confident with the most basic functions they need – things like entering data, processing orders, and generating reports.

As a general rule, we’d recommend at least 3 hours of inventory system training for each user.

2. Are you using all the data fields?

Most inventory systems come with a huge range of different data fields for your products, your customers, and your suppliers. These aren’t just padding to make the software seem comprehensive. These little details are essential tools in improving your efficiency and the visibility of your data – and it’s one simple area where you can see massive returns for just a small change in your habits. When you start to fill out every available data field, you’ll open up a whole new world of functions and high-speed access. You’ll be able to filter your products by their category or their supplier, compare customers across different locations, and generate in-depth reports based on every little detail you’ve recorded along the way.

Not quite ready for a self-assment?

Book a System Health Check with us today for a professional analysis from an experienced team of experts!

3. Have you set up all your integrations?

Some businesses think that once their inventory system is up and running, that’s the end of it. But if you’re already using a cloud accounting app, it’s almost guaranteed that your business is relying on several other separate bits of software, too. And if you’re not letting your inventory system communicate with the rest of your software, you’re missing out. Put simply, integrations are a way of linking the different parts of your business through the apps they use – so they can share data and keep each other up to date. If you’re looking to improve your efficiency and reduce your errors (and you should be!) getting the right integrations is a huge step forward. When your sales team records a sale, your accounting software records one too. Your inventory system adjusts its stock levels, and your logistics provider gets the update it needs. It all happens automatically, and there’s no need for double entry – which also means a massive reduction in the risk of human error.

4. Are your reports showing the correct values?

Modern inventory systems aren’t just about automation.

They’re about business intelligence and data – getting fast and useful insight into the inner workings of your business and how it operates.

And if you want to be able to trust those insights, you need to be sure that your reports are giving you the right data.

We’ve seen businesses who didn’t realise there were errors on their reports until months after their system was set up – which meant the costs of those errors kept growing under the surface.

(And let’s not even get started on the potential for errors on your tax returns!)

So if you’ve set up your own inventory system recently, it’s time to take a good look at your reports – the earlier you find a problem, the better!

I’d say it’s essential to actually use someone like BlueHub. Because otherwise, you’ll end up with 6 months of chaos like we had.”

Helen Slade

Orange Heating Supplies

Ready to give your inventory system a check-up?

If your inventory system is already up and running, you might think you’re all set. But just like any other part of your business, you need to be sure you’re getting the most out of your investment.

So to make things easier, we’ve put together a handy Self-Assessment Checklist to guide you through your inventory check-up – with the 7 points you need to cover to give your inventory system the health check it needs.

And if you’re not feeling confident about assessing your own system – we’ve got you covered.

Our System Health Check gives you everything you need to get a complete understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. We’ll take a deep dive into your existing system, highlighting any errors or areas where you’re missing out.

We’ll then give you a thorough report of our findings, complete with a simple action plan to give you the steps you need to take to get the most out of your new system.

And if you want to see exactly how a real business can benefit from one of our Health Checks, you can check out our video case study from one of our own happy customers, Orange Heating Supplies.

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