What is Automated Inventory Management

More and more businesses are adopting advanced business solutions like automation platforms to organize different aspects of their work processes, and inventory management is no exception. It’s estimated that 72% of businesses are adopting or considering adopting real-time inventory visibility platforms field by automation to improve their inventory workflows. 

Still, 43% of small businesses in the US are still using manual processes to track their inventory, leading to countless errors and potentially lost profits. With innovative automation technology paving the way for streamlined inventory processes, there’s no reason not to adopt these new systems.

This blog will look at automated inventory management systems and how they can benefit any business that holds inventory. We’ll also examine why it’s not only beneficial, but actually critical, for businesses with a multichannel sales strategy to onboard an inventory automation platform to increase efficiency, improve processes, and remain competitive.

What Is Automated Inventory Management?

Automated inventory management is a modern approach that allows businesses to handle their inventory with minimal manual intervention. By relying on digital tools and systems, automated inventory management can help companies drastically cut down on time spent on tasks like record-keeping and distribution while simultaneously cutting down on costly human errors. In fact, according to estimations, 46% of issues in warehouses today are caused by human error, representing the top cause of mistakes.

With this type of inventory management system, you can automate tasks such as:

  • Dropshipping
  • Order invoicing
  • Backorders
  • Inventory counting
  • Syncing inventory levels across channels

More than that, automated inventory systems can keep track of what’s in stock in real-time, offering a huge advantage for businesses that sell on multiple channels. Some more advanced inventory automation systems will also include additional features like inventory control, order generation and management, and analytics and reporting. 

The Benefits of Automated Inventory Management Systems

Automated inventory management comes with wide benefits for businesses, especially those juggling multiple sales channels. Rather than relying on employees to keep track of stock levels, automated inventory systems free up time to allow employees to focus on other aspects of the business like order fulfillment or marketing.

Manual inventory management is more likely to result in inaccurate stock levels, which can lead to lost sales and an inefficient use of time. For brands that sell on more than one channel, like drop shippers, retailers, or marketplaces, this can impact your working relationship with those channels and damage your reputation. Automated systems take all the guesswork out of managing your inventory, streamlining processes, and saving you time.
Some other benefits of automated inventory management systems include:

  • Cost reduction: When stock is optimized, excess inventory is minimized so businesses can reduce storage and operational expenses.
  • Improved accuracy: Automation decreases the chances of human error in inventory tracking.
  • Higher efficiency and productivity: By streamlining inventory workflows, you can save time and allow employees to focus on strategic tasks.
  • Quicker order fulfillment: When inventory data is accurate in real-time, your business can process more orders and decrease fulfillment times.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: Orders that ship out and get delivered faster enhance the customer experience with your brand.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Automated systems offer insights that would otherwise be unavailable, enabling you to make critical management decisions backed by data.
  • Better scalability: Automated inventory management can be scaled to the needs of your business as it grows and you need to manage more complex operations.
  • Improved inventory control and visibility: Automatic systems can help your business maintain optimal stock levels so that you’re aware when you’re over or understocked.

9 Key Features to Look for in Automated Inventory Management Systems

There are many different inventory automation systems out there, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Depending on your business’s specific inventory needs, you want to make sure the software you select has all the right features for your company. On the other hand, you also want to ensure it’s not overloaded with cumbersome features you may not need. When looking for an automated inventory management system, consider the following features as the ones to pay attention to.

 

1. Integrates with apps

Inventory management systems should integrate with third-party applications you’re already using, like e-commerce platforms, accounting software, or POS systems. This allows you to seamlessly share data across different workflows.

2. Inventory forecasting

Forecasting the demand for certain items is helpful so you can maintain accurate inventory levels. This can be especially helpful during the holiday season when certain items have increased demand.

3. Reports and analytics

Don’t overlook the power of being able to pull reports on your inventory. Gathering data and insights on things like sales, best-selling products, turnover, trends, and profitability can help you make important business decisions.

4. Multiple user access and permissions

You want to make sure that everyone who needs access can easily use the inventory management system. However, it’s also important to ensure the platform is secure and permissions are set so that employees can’t accidentally alter critical system information.

5. Multichannel synchronization

Businesses selling their products on multiple channels have the extra challenge of managing inventory or multiple selling points. Multichannel synchronization features help you ensure inventory levels are accurate and consistent across all your sales channels without having to manually update different e-commerce systems.

6. Track multiple warehouses

Companies with more than one warehouse should ensure they can track everything in one place and get data and insights at a glance. This will also help you manage orders and ensure you’re sourcing the right products from the right warehouse.

7. Real-time inventory tracking and value

One of the key functions of an automated inventory system is showing you inventory levels in real-time. It should also help you track inventory movement and monitor the value of your up-to-date stock, which can be critical data for financial reporting.

8. Low stock alerts

Get notified ahead of time when inventory levels of your items fall below a set threshold so that you can replenish the inventory, avoid stockouts, supply chain disruption, and most importantly, disappointed customers.

Why Automated Inventory Systems Are Crucial for Multichannel Sales

With multiple touchpoints for sales in multichannel retail businesses, there’s an increased risk of error. Delays, bottlenecks, or disorganized inventory tracking are more likely when you’re juggling multiple sales channels. This lack of control over stock levels can actually lead to losing customers, which is why automating the entire inventory process is so essential.

With automated inventory management for multichannel sales, when an item is sold on one channel, it gets updated across all channels instantly. For example, when a shoe company sells its last pair of a specific sneaker in size 8 through social media, the shoe in that size gets listed as out of stock on their other channels, like on their website as well as any retailers and marketplaces they’re connected to. This prevents issues like overselling so that you avoid canceled orders and dissatisfied customers. 

Additionally, gathering data and insights from multiple channels can be tedious. With an automated system, all your data analytics are gathered in one place, enabling you to make informed decisions about promotions, pricing strategies on each platform, and restocking.

Automated inventory management systems are critical for multichannel retail businesses. These systems shouldn’t be viewed as “nice to have” or something that’s extra to your operations, but rather something that comes with the territory of selling on channels like retailers and marketplaces. With an automated inventory system, you’re jeopardizing your chances at multichannel success.

 

Automate Inventory and Other E-commerce Process With Cymbio

Cymbio, a multichannel e-commerce platform, helps brands get a handle on their inventory to make multichannel selling easy and intuitive. With Cymbio, brands that sell on more than one channel, whether it’s a drop shipper, retailer, marketplace, or even social media platform, no longer need to track inventory across each channel manually.

With Cymbio, inventory is automatically synced across all connected channels for a seamless sales experience. In addition, our platform also helps you auto-populate inventory data such as images and descriptions according to each retailer’s requirements so that everything is uniform across all your sales channels. 

The best part is that Cymbio gives you full control over inventory visibility by connecting your stock with virtually any e-commerce platform in the industry, meaning that no matter your team’s technical capabilities, you’ll be able to onboard to any retailer. You’ll get peace of mind knowing that your inventory is accurately synced across all your sales channels and managed all in one place, even if you have multiple warehouses or storage points.

Aside from automating inventory operations, Cymbio’s e-commerce platform can also help you:

  • Control pricing in different currencies on all your channels
  • Automate order management such as capture, tracking, returns, and cancellations
  • Pull detailed reports and analytics on your inventory and orders for data-driven insights 
  • Automate payments and reconciliation and take advantage of next-day payouts
  • Connect with new channels and grow your brand with Cymbio’s team of retail experts

Optimize Inventory Management With Cymbio

Automated inventory management is a game changer, particularly when it comes to multichannel sales. These days, as opinions or brands and products are increasingly shared online, the risk of recurring human errors and losing customers is too high. Automating your inventory with a platform like Cymbio can actively help you prevent these types of mishaps so that you protect the integrity of your brand and ensure your workflows are as efficient as possible.

 

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