Accurate inventory tracking is essential for all businesses. Too little inventory means running out of stock and losing sales when customers go to competitors who have the items. Losing customers in this way is very costly, particularly when they are repeat customers. Too much inventory ties up money that could be productively used elsewhere in the business, or to pay bills and employees.
Surprisingly, there still are small businesses that rely on paper, pens, and clipboards for their inventory management. Others use spreadsheets such as Excel, which although highly versatile, are poorly suited for this task. They are a form of semi-automation where inventory data is entered by hand. This is inefficient and risks data entry errors. Spreadsheets also tend to get unwieldy and unstable as their file sizes increase.
While there are ERP (enterprise resource planning) inventory management software solutions available, they are prohibitively expensive for many small businesses. ERP software that only works from workstations are not always the best investment because they lack many of the conveniences and benefits unique to mobile app versions. It is precisely these unique conveniences and benefits that make inventory management mobile app development a lucrative business opportunity. These benefits include:
- Inventory can be taken, identified, or updated by any employee’s mobile device by using its camera to scan bar codes. This eliminates the need for expensive RFID readers.
- Inventory management personnel, no longer tied to their workstations, are free to interact with the inventory management software while on the warehouse floor.
- Field sales representatives have instant access to inventory data. Inventory information can be viewed any time, anywhere.
- Close collaboration with suppliers is possible by downloading an inventory tracking app to their smart devices. This allows them to monitor a business’s inventory levels and automatically ship replacement stock to them when their levels are low.
- The mobile device’s build-in GPS can be used to tell employees they are at the right location in an outdoor storage yard or at the right warehouse. GPS can also track outbound and inbound shipments.
These points are just a few of the ways that inventory management mobile apps can be differentiated from many highly priced desktop ERP software. Specializing to specific industries such as retail, healthcare, and manufacturing is yet another way to further differentiate these apps. Efficient and effective inventory management is a universal need especially among small businesses that have neither the inclination nor the capital to invest in big ERP solutions.
Spiralogics builds, deploys, and maintains mobile apps that run on most common devices. To learn more about our mobile app development expertise, contact us today.