If large teams manage your business’s inventory, then it’s more important than ever to create an inventory management system that’s quick, intuitive, and built for collaboration across multiple locations. While every business faces inventory management challenges, some pain points plague larger businesses and larger teams in particular.
In this article, we’ll touch on how large teams can manage inventory to eliminate unnecessary stress, save time and money, and streamline inventory-related responsibilities for other departments in your organization.
How do large teams manage inventory?
Most enterprise-sized businesses rely on specific teams of employees to manage their vast inventory. Whether inventory is stored in a few central locations, at various warehouses across the country, or at thousands of construction sites across the state, the right inventory management system can help even the largest inventory teams work together and stay organized.
One of the chief problems large teams face when managing inventory is poor communication and collaboration. This often happens because a business’s inventory system—whether a document, a spreadsheet, or inadequate inventory software—cannot meet the dynamic, unique needs of the business.
The solution is almost always robust, flexible inventory management software designed to be used on the go, across multiple locations, and by everyday employees—not just people who are trained inventory managers or remarkably tech-savvy. The best inventory apps are designed to grow with your business and allow you to track your ever-growing inventory with ease.
Establish a system that works for all teams
To optimize inventory management for large teams, you’ll need to create an inventory strategy that works for everyone.
Our best piece of advice? Create a standard operating procedure (SOP) for all sites, but don’t be afraid to make minor adjustments for local teams. After all, the goal is streamlined inventory management, and if minor deviations from the SOP help accomplish that, so be it.
Allow regional managers to make changes to your organization’s inventory management strategy. As long as all teams use the same centralized inventory management system to maintain inventory records, there’s nothing wrong with empowering local supervisors to make minor adjustments where they see fit.
If some teams practice perpetual inventory, consider encouraging all groups to do the same. After all, it can be confusing if your centralized inventory system is accurate for some sites and outdated for others.
If you cannot convince every site to practice perpetual inventory, consider setting a deadline for when the inventory system must be updated each day, week, or month. Only at that time should your organization’s accountants, purchasing departments, and other teams use inventory records to make critical decisions or prepare important documents.
Remember that the best inventory software can help all teams keep perpetual inventory in a fraction of the time.
Most important inventory software features for large teams
When deciding what inventory app is right for your business, remember that certain features are especially essential for larger groups. Look for inventory software designed to be used by many users and that works on the equipment your employees know how to use—like smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Here are six essential features to insist upon during your search:
1. An in-app barcode and QR code scanner
Barcodes and QR codes, when used properly, can help your organization automate its inventory management system. Some apps, including Sortly, allow users to simply scan an item’s barcode or QR code to check it in or out, learn more about the item, or update item information. There’s no need to invest in clunky equipment because employees can use smartphones or tablets to manage inventory on the go.
You’ll also want to find a solution that allows you to generate customized barcodes and QR code labels for your inventory. That way, if you stock anything that doesn’t come with a barcode or QR code, you can generate one, print it on label paper, and use your app’s automation features from that point on. Sortly, for example, allows users to create these codes, link them directly to inventoried items, and then print them onto everyday label paper.
2. Low stock alerts
When a large team is managing your inventory, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. That’s especially true if large groups manage inventory remotely or across dozens of locations. Certain features, such as automatic reminders when an item’s stock levels are dwindling, can help your business stay on top of inventory on the most chaotic of days.
Even if you’ve adopted a strong reordering strategy, these low stock alerts—which can also be set for warranty end dates, expiration dates, and more—can offer your business a second level of protection against shortages, stockouts, and other concerns.
3. Customizable reports
The best inventory software enables your business to generate customizable reports that can be filtered in various meaningful ways. Whether you want to sort inventory reports by location, item type, category, or something else, insist on an inventory app that helps you gather, record, and understand data.
4. A visual inventory system
One of the most overlooked features of a good inventory management solution? The ability to correctly and usefully display images. With an app like Sortly, it’s easy to take pictures of your inventory, link those images to the right item, and then rely on them to manage inventory more efficiently.
When used properly, images reduce confusion about items that sound alike, prevent employees from digging through hard-to-reach boxes, and allow large teams to understand inventory without seeing it physically.
5. A robust activity history
If possible, choose an inventory management app that tracks every change to an item’s status, quality, whereabouts, and so on. Over time, every update to an item will create a telling item history that creates accountability, visibility, and security for your business.
These activity histories can also help explain how your business uses, transfers, and consumes inventory and can help you learn more about your organization’s inventory needs over time.
6. A collaborative, flexible infrastructure
Finally, you’ll want to find inventory software designed for large teams of every shape and size. For example, if an app is so hard to use that it requires days of training, employees who aren’t tech-savvy may struggle to use that solution consistently. If specific software is designed to be handled by just one highly-skilled manager, that’s also a poor fit for a large team.
Select inventory software that allows your team to quickly finetune how information about your inventory is stored and organized. From customizable folders to categories to tags, the most flexible inventory apps will make it easy for your business to create a system that makes sense for your teams.
Your best bet is selecting software engineered for everyday employees across multiple locations. Some apps, including Sortly, have dedicated Customer Success teams that can help tailor technology to meet your business’s needs.
Experience the simplest inventory management software.
Sortly is a top-rated inventory management software solution designed to help large teams manage inventory with less stress—and in a fraction of the time. With powerful features designed to both speed up and simplify inventory-related tasks, Sortly can help your organization do more with less.
Curious whether Sortly is a fit for your business? Try our best features absolutely free for two weeks.