Megaventory Blog - Online Inventory Management Software, Order fulfillment and Control System
This is the company blog for megaventory, an online software that helps small businesses that buy, sell and manufacture physical products to manage sales, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory. We blog about new features and updates but also about enterprise software, small businesses, cloud computing and the industry in general.

Friday, January 13, 2017

4 Reasons SMB Retailers are Moving Towards Inventory Management Software

This is a guest post by guest contributor Peter Chawaga




In retail, inventory essentially is the business. Without properly understanding what’s on hand, how it’s performing, and what impact it has on the bottom line, good luck staying profitable. This is doubly true for the fiercely competitive world of SMB retailers.

With the advent of the digital revolution, inventory management has become incredibly sophisticated. Retailers can now track and analyze numerous factors about inventory items across multiple locations. The culmination of this evolution is inventory management software. You will sometimes find inventory management as a standalone product while software suites may offer it as a must-have feature. For example, the best POS software (point-of-sale software) include inventory as a built-in feature. SMB retailers that embrace the inventory management technology will gain a better understanding of their supply and demand than the competition. 

For those SMBs still weighing the pros and cons of adoption, consider these reasons why your competitors have made the transition to actively tracking their stock:



1. To become more efficient. 


It’s no secret that efficiency leads to better financial performance. But this is even more crucial when it comes to SMBs, which have less room for error and need to operate without mistakes to compete with larger businesses.

Inventory management software can be a huge boon in efficiency for an SMB retailer. Without it, employees are manually sorting through files, emailing and calling back and forth, and checking stock by hand. These tasks can all be handled by software, which frees employees to work on more important tasks.



2. To gain better visibility.


Inventory management is largely about understanding what’s on hand and what isn’t. Even SMBs can have trouble keeping track of what’s available with pieces moving in and out of storage and (hopefully) being sold at a rapid pace. 

Lately, there has been even more inventory to track. In a recent study, Supply Chain Digest found that the level of inventory on hand based on average sales per day has risen by more than eight percent over a five-year period.

By automatically tracking inventory levels and having the ability to locate specific pieces that might be requested by a customer, inventory management software has provided a useful answer to the increasingly complex question “What’s in stock?”



3. To make better orders.


The relationship between SMB retailers and vendors is hallowed. Both parties depend on each other and work to keep each other in business. Of course, it’s up to the retailer to make sure that its orders are accurate and matched to current demand.

Having too little stock will affect sales, but having too much can be just as detrimental. SMBs may have limited storage space, and unpopular items can easily take the spots of hot sellers. Plus, excess stock will tie up funds in unnecessary overhead. 

“A major disadvantage to holding too much inventory on hand is the negative cost implications,” according to The Arizona Republic. “Purchasing any type of inventory or product ties up the funds from being used elsewhere in the business.”

Keeping track of current and previous items can make reordering easier by automatically inputting order numbers, item specs, and calculating currency exchanges.



4. To make more sales.


At the end of the day, improved efficiency, visibility, and automated restocking are all efforts to make more sales. That is the business that retailers find themselves in and one that is incredibly important: The Balance reports that retail sales and consumer spending drive almost 70 percent of economic growth.

When your clerks can stop telling interested customers that something is out of stock, when employees stop wasting time physically checking the stockroom, and when new items are automatically ordered as they run out, higher sales will be the natural result.




Peter Chawaga is a contributor for TechnologyAdvice.com with years of experience as a reporter and editor for publications around the country. He’s covered arts and culture in Philadelphia, business and development in Greensboro, and healthcare and technology in Nashville.


Friday, December 30, 2016

How to Prepare for Your Annual Inventory Taking



The end of the year is great to perform a physical counting of your inventory to start fresh in the new year. On top of that, as people cease shopping after Christmas, it is usually the slowest time of the year, making it a perfect time for you to minimize or stop your sales operations for a while. Let’s see how you should prepare before inventory taking so your physical counting will go as smooth and quick as possible.



Inform suppliers and clients


During your physical counting, product movements should be stopped or be minimized and well documented. You will not be able to receive or fulfill new orders, so it’s best to inform your suppliers – and clients if applicable – when the inventory taking will be performed. Do this ahead of time so they so you don’t put any additional pressure to them. After all, November and December were the busiest and most hectic months for all.



Do a mock Counting


Physical counting of your inventory can take up a lot of time. Because no one likes wasting their time, a mock counting will help you estimate the time and resources needed for the actual counting. Take a small fraction of your inventory and record the time needed to count it. Then multiply this time with the areas that need to be counted. If you are short on people, divide this sum by the number of people available to see how long it will take to count your whole inventory. If you are short on time but plenty of people, divide the sum by the available time, to see how many of your stuff need to be there on counting day. A good idea is to have one additional staff member than what you think is needed. Problems could arise and delay the process, so an additional pair of hands can speed things up.



Communicate early with team members


The annual inventory taking usually takes place during off business hours and during the holidays so your employees might have already made plans for the day. Inform everyone well ahead of time to make sure they are available, or they don’t have to cancel their plans.

That being said, not everyone on the team is required for the counting. First of all, a very experienced employee should be present to check that everything goes smoothly. With their guidance, your team won't waste time by having to figure out on the spot what to do. Also, this process is a very good learning experience for a new employee, as they will get to better know your merchandise, so don’t hesitate to call inexperienced members as well.




Clean and organize your warehouse


Before starting the actual counting of your merchandise, it is highly important to clean up and organize your warehouse, or the place you keep your products. It will make everyone life easier during the counting and the whole process will go much faster. Therefore, during the clean-up dispose of any defective or obsolete inventory so you don’t waste time on those products during the counting.



Pull away tied inventory


To make the counting easier and avoid mistakes, it is vital to pull away any products tied to orders. Ship or pull everything on order and don’t fill new orders or receive products while counting. If this is impossible for your business, start the counting with your fastest moving products that bring the most money. That way you can have your stuff start filling new orders sooner. Plus, those are the products that most likely will contain counting errors and could delay the whole processes if counted at the end when everyone is tired.



Have the proper equipment


The right equipment can do wonders during inventory taking. Barcode scanners connected to your inventory management system or excel can speed up the process immensely. Make sure that your personnel knows well how to use them before counting starts.

Nevertheless, even with the best system, problems and questions may arise so a good idea is to be in contact with your system’s support team during the counting. Check beforehand if they will be available during that time and try asking any questions you have well ahead before the counting.



After the Counting 

When inventory taking is completed, arrange a meeting with your team to discuss what worked during the counting and what didn’t, and write down what you should change for next year’s counting. After all, holidays are to be spent with family and friends, and every minute you save is time that can be spent with those special people.

We hope this list can help you achieve that. If you have already done your annual inventory counting, let us know in the comments below or tweet us! What worked for you and what didn’t? We want to know!



Monday, December 12, 2016

Magento 2 and multiple Magento stores now supported


It is almost three years now since our first integration with Magento and today we have some exciting news!

This year Magento 2 was announced and we just loved the new improvements. The new version is totally revamped, offering a great user experience. So, during these last couple of months, we worked carefully to upgrade our solid integration between Magento 2 and Megaventory, and we are proud to announce that the new version of the integration is finally here! Plus, there is some more development news we have for you, so – without further ado – let’s jump right in.
Magento 2 is now supported

The defining feature of Magento 1 was definitely its flexibility. Yet, this came with the cost of not being the most user-friendly e-commerce software. To address this, along with other issues, the Magento team designed Magento 2. Among its key features are improved performance, user-friendly check-out, several key integrations to increase payment security, better admin interface, and more mobile-friendly.

Until recently, Megaventory supported Magento accounts up to version 1.9, but now Megaventory is in the Magento 2 Marketplace as well. Check it out!





Multiple Magento stores under one Megaventory account


In case you have multiple Magento installations, you can now track all their stock and orders through a single Megaventory login! Megaventory now supports multiple Magento installations out of the box and that is available whether you’re using Magento 1 or 2!

If you have -and manage- different e-shops and it makes sense to you to keep all the stock in one place, this extension can help you have a great control over your business or businesses.

All you need to do is to setup each of Magento stores to work with Megaventory as if you would do individually. Other than that there are two key differences:


1. One difference is in the setup of Magento in Megaventory. There you need to define the number of Magento installations which will be connected to your account by a simple drop down menu. There is no limit to the number of installations.





2. The other difference lies in the Setup Wizard in Magento. You will need to choose the value in the Magento Id field which corresponds to the Magento installation in question as far as Megaventory is concerned. Make sure that none of the Magento installations you connect to a given Megaventory account have the same Magento Id set in this field! 




Finally, note that each Magento installation can be connected to all or some of the available locations set in Megaventory. This is defined by the Inventory Locations section in the Megaventory Settings in Magento.





Undelete Button


Last but not least, we added an undelete option! When you delete a product from your Megaventory account it is possible to undelete them through your Magento backend.


To do this, in your Magento backend go to Catalog -- Manage Products open the product you wish to undelete and click Save. If the product is deleted in Megaventory, you will see a notification that will prompt you to undelete it: 

You simply need to click the link in the notification to restore the product in Megaventory. This should save you some hassle from products you’ve forgotten you have in your systems as deleted but you may want to use again.


A final note

If your business relies on the Magento e-commerce software, integrating it with Megaventory will bring superior inventory management while keeping your products synced across Magento and Megaventory over all your inventory locations.

Alternatively, if you're using Megaventory and actively considering taking your business online, now you have a couple of additional reasons why you finally should take the step with Magento. Tracking inventory online will be easy if you choose the Magento approach, which is already the platform of choice for hundreds of thousands of ecommerce installations.

If you already have tried out Megaventory with Magento let us know in the comments below or tweet about us! If you haven’t tried Megaventory maybe now is a good time to upgrade your inventory management system?

Friday, November 18, 2016

3 Important Tips to Improve Warehouse Efficiency

This is a guest post by guest contributor Tom Reddon.



Are operations dragging in the warehouse? Are routine tasks seeming more and more demanding? Are workers struggling to get typical assignments done? Are projects taking longer than usual to complete? 

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, your warehouse operations may be having significant issues. But there is good news! There are several ways you can change the culture of your warehouse and enhance both productivity and efficiency in the daily grind. 

Here are three important tips to take into consideration to boost your warehouse efficiency.


Go For Constant Process Optimization  


We may not always realize it but we can always do the same task or job better and every day we should dedicate ourselves to finding ways to complete an assignment faster, swifter and more extensively. Dedication to process optimization can result in increases in efficiency and productivity while assuring the promotion of a transformative and progressive work environment. 

Process optimization is actually something many supply chain and procurement managers promote in material handling capacities. Through consistent analysis and on-going scrutiny of daily business processes and operations, staff and personnel can establish continuity in achieving results and then devise new approaches and methodologies to exceed these achievements while also determining ways that are easier, safer and more effective in doing so. 

It is important to always be looking at active processes and identify ways to improve them as this mentality will almost always bolster success.


Cultivate A Transformative Work Culture 


According to Chron, a positive work culture is vital to the success of any enterprise or business. For many, employees are more likely to succeed and get positive results if they feel respected, appreciated and have a sense of belonging. A strong team-oriented attitude in the warehouse is known to enhance communication and it has been proven that many incidents which hamper both safety and efficiency are often a direct result of miscommunication. Supporting a transformative and progressive work culture is a great way to drive efficiency while also enabling the workplace to be positive and supportive.


Look Into And Adopt Six Sigma Or Lean Manufacturing


In material handling capacities, Lean Manufacturing or Six Sigma Methodologies have become a highly commoditized trend. A by-product of a technologically-driven era, Lean Manufacturing merges traditional best business practices with the integration performance metrics and analytics that catalyze business in the modern day. Six Sigma champions the optimization of inventory, devises methodologies to improve efficiency and also identifies ways jobs can be less labor-intensive while also reducing risk. “Work smarter, not harder” is a great mantra to describe the ideologies of both Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing approaches.

With the recent emergence of such methodologies, many workshops have been authored and integrated into the workforce and virtually any employee can gain a wide range of practical knowledge to apply in their daily duties. Comparable to training for martial arts, there are multiple levels of expertise that one can attain. As a result, employees can earn various certifications that serve as a benchmark of expertise. For example, any Six Sigma Champion can assuredly be a boost of both productivity and efficiency in even the most dynamic and challenging of environments. 




Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. 
Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon

Friday, November 4, 2016

Cards: The Right Info At Your Fingertips

A little while back Megaventory announced its brand new User Interface. With the modern entrepreneur in mind, we came up with the idea of 4 dashboards - one for each of the major functions we address in a company: Purchase, Sell, Manufacture, and Inventory.

Depending on your business operations you can choose to access one, some or all of these dashboards. This helps simplify things by hiding unnecessary information and also protects certain data from unauthorized access. As Megaventory supports multiple users and restricts their access to specific parts of the application, you can also customize the application so that the right people see the right information. This helps you keep your data safe from prying eyes and also makes day-to-day business smoother: employees are not bothered by info that has nothing to do with their job.



Pre-filtered Cards

However, you can further customize dashboards using one key element of these dashboards: the pre-filtered cards.


The dashboards in Megaventory are made up of various pre-filtered cards. Each one of these cards is essentially a custom view that gives you access to a pre-filtered document or order list. You can create cards so that you can quickly revisit these lists without having to filter again. And once made you can also share them with other users on your account – and save them some work.



Using the cards: an example – taking Quotes

Your sales team is going door-to-door talking to potential clients and taking sales quotes – which they enter directly into Megaventory via their smartphone or tablet. Your team can set and they will be able to see the “Sell” dashboard with cards like: All Quotes, Quotes of this month, and maybe Sales Orders if it is their responsibility to create Sales Orders as well.





Processing Orders

Another team is sitting at their desks in your headquarters, verifying sales quotes and turning them to sales orders, opening new orders for walk-in customers, and shipping any order that is ready. It might be crucial for them to see information like what invoices are to be paid next week and which orders have yet to be shipped.





Monitoring Everything

And then there’s you, the manager. With Megaventory you can have a total overview of all these processes – as well as some others which no one else has access to. That way you can be in total control of your business. Is this awesome or what?




Summary

So, that was a quick overview of how you can use the pre-filtered cards to save up a lot of time in your day-to-day business and make your team efficient by showing them only the information they need. The possible combinations are countless and we are certain that you’ll find the ones that suit your unique business.

If you have tried out Megaventory’s cards let us know in the comments below or tweet us!

Or if you haven’t tried Megaventory maybe now is  a good time to upgrade your inventory management system?