For the technology service providers industry, the most current best practices and trends for inventory management is to use a single software portal that provides real-time, accurate inventory data at any given point or location across all departments.
That software can be just plain old barcode scanning software. However, in order to turn simple asset management into a data goldmine that will show you how to calculate ROI and increase profitability by revealing areas of lost revenue, you need a business automation platform like a professional services automation (PSA) platform or enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool.
How does a PSA software transform your asset management? Let’s take a look at six common inventory management challenges for technology small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and how a PSA software solves them:
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Multiple inventory locations
Your inventory most likely is spread out between multiple locations, such as warehouses, storage units, storefronts and work trucks, making it easy to lose track of any one item. Lost inventory results in placing unnecessary orders or reorders and a big negative effect on your bottom line.
A centralized inventory management portal like a PSA software will allow you to maintain oversight of inventory in the main warehouse and work trucks, as well as view items still out to vendors that have not come back.
All inventory has a lifespan, even if it’s a Twinkie. In the technology world, items can become obsolete very quickly, leaving your with an excess of unusable inventory that you can’t do anything with but liquidate or give away.
With the asset management feature within a business automation software, you can view the lifespan for every single item or even receive alerts when items are in inventory greater than six months with no sales. Incorporating serial numbers can also ensure that the oldest items leave the warehouse first.
Sales and invoice control
Keeping track of materials used while servicing a client requires meticulous record-keeping by your sales team or field technicians, and sometimes used parts are accidentally overlooked.
In order to make sure you aren’t giving away valuable inventory, suffering shrink and missing out on sales, give your techs field access to real-time inventory in the field. The best PSA software solutions have a mobile app your tech can pull up via their phone or tablet instead of having to take hand-written notes that could blow away or get lost along their service route before they can be given to the billing department for invoicing.
Some business automation platforms even support voice recognition, eliminating the need for your techs to enter sensitive details using their sausages-sized fingers.
The only thing worse than having too much inventory is not having enough to service your customers. This can cause delays in service that damage your brand, recognition and credibility in addition to costing you money in lost sales or extra fees needed to rush items.
A PSA software will keep track of use, current levels and items on order, as well alert you when certain items hit a set minimums or maximums.
Read this real-world case study about one converged IT services provider
who overcame inventory management woes with a PSA software.
The best way to make a profit off your inventory is ensure that it’s priced correctly to begin with. You need to be able to track cost changes, as well as monitor inventory use so that you can wisely take advantage of special offers from distributors.
With the right business automation system in place, you can view real-time pricebook updates from top vendors, accurately forecast inventory use and then set and adjust your pricing with ease. You can even take it a step further and value your entire inventory by location for P&L (Profit & Loss) and tax purposes.
It’s not something we like to talk about, but sometimes employees steal. Identifying theft is complicated without a system that allows you to track inventory quickly, easily and in real time.
Not only does an PSA software's inventory control features and historical data protect you from lost profits, but it also provides you with a record in the event the ex-employee files a wrongful termination suit.
PSA software and inventory management
Take the first step toward transforming your inventory and asset management into increased profits by finding the right PSA software for your technology SMB. Download our PSA Checklist for Technology Service SMBs and get started today!