Inventory On-Demand and Your ROI

Posted by Michael Runshe

Tue, Oct 09, 2012

Field Service ManagementInventory management has been around since the first shop keeper opened his business doors. Shelves must be stocked with products to sell, and there must be processes in place to make sure those items come in and go out as quickly and as profitably as possible.

Inventory management software was one of the first functions of computers from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Over more than half a century, the sophistication and complexity of inventory management software has evolved considerably. Analytics and algorithms that provide forecasting, track inventory turns, calculate shelf life, velocity stocking, facilitate purchasing, shipping and receiving along with many other features are part of contemporary inventory management systems.

With the increases with inventory management features came increases in the costs of the software. Only very large businesses could afford such robust software solutions. But with the advent of SaaS, this is no longer the case.

Software as a service, or SaaS, has been used for many types of solutions. SaaS has not been widely acknowledged with inventory management software until recently. By hosting the software from a remote location and allowing a secured connection to the business users, inventory management SaaS allows businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the benefits of a solid solution.

Managers and business owners may still be a bit skeptical about inventory SaaS. The following are some points to consider when determining your return on investment (ROI) for inventory SaaS:

How secure is it? The level of security and access is based around your service level agreement (SLA) with your SaaS provider. Your business rules will determine who has access to what features and functions in your system.

Is it “warehouse friendly”? Warehouse and distribution environments can be some of the most brutal areas for computer equipment. Because the host servers are off site, you will only need to worry about the terminals, bar code scanners, printers and other devices at your locations. There is no concern about setting aside a clean room for servers. With the reliability of online connections, inventory SaaS is definitely easier for warehouse environments.

What if we need to upgrade? Through your SLA upgrades can be managed by your provider so that your IT staff is not burdened by this task. Also most providers can scale as your business grows so you will not need to be concerned about purchasing more hardware for storage or backup.

How are backups and disaster recovery handled? The SLA with your SaaS provider should have provisions on how often backups should occur and their disaster recovery options.

When you look at the total cost of ownership (TCO) of inventory SaaS compared to purchasing and supporting your own in-house systems, the ROI in virtually all cases is much better for inventory SaaS. Carefully review your current business needs and look at inventory SaaS as one of your options. There is a good chance that you will be pleased with the choice of inventory SaaS for your business, no matter what the size.

Tags: Field Service Optimization, Workforce Management Tips, Mobile Workforce Management, Developments in Field Service Management