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.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Considering ecommerce sales? Look into Magento!


Although ecommerce and online purchases have been booming, many businesses hesitate to adopt online sales. Typically companies think that e-commerce brings challegnes like cost, complexity, constant necessary optimizations, and difficulties in coming by support.
Even if there’s a truth in these concerns, it is not as challenging as it used to be in the past. Today, there are solutions like Magento which although fully-featured – or someone could even call them ‘heavy’ – which make the entire venture much more accessible.

Ecommerce hosting and setup

One of the key concerns about e-commerce is setting an eshop up. In the case of Magento, it is really easy to get started now. You don’t even need to have dedicated hardware anymore. For example, website hosting companies like cloudways offer very cost-effective packages with one-click installs of Magento. That way, at a first level you don’t need to worry about your e-shop’s reliability anymore. Support both for the hosting server and for the Magento installation itself can be covered for you at a reasonable price.



Initial eshop improvements

Once the site is up the challenges continue of course. It is expected that the new online presence will attract little traffic at first. That can be addressed, if the business has a physical presence like a store, if it runs promotions to existing customers either online or offline or if it has been around for a bit offline and has brand awareness.

In any case, at the beginning, whatever little traffic comes in must be exploited to the fullest and with a minimum budget (as this new sales channel will not have revenue initially). One smart idea for this is to use Magento extensions to address cart abandonment – these basically attempt using appropriately timed messages with the right content to lure back customers to their cart to compelte purchases. For instance, Optimonk is such a useful tool that can help with cart abandonment, cross-selling and upselling to increase cart value, etc. And, for early days when traffic is low, it's free – so it’s a win-win arrangment for all involved.

Online sales management

As soon as e-commerce sales pick up, it is also important to keep track of orders generated on this channel so you can have online availability at the same time as products are sold in physical stores (or even in other online channels). Megaventory offers a Magento integration which helps online shops running Magento to handle their stock availability better.

So, for example when an online sale takes place, our Magento extension enables the staff in the warehouse to automatically (and without potential errors in data entry) to get all the necessary information to ship it. Furthermore, when offline sales take place site visitors will see reduced availability and that way it is ensured that the same product isn’t sold twice!



Advanced ecommerce features

Once early challenges have been addressed, more advanced problems can be sorted too. Optimization is constantly necessary to generate more sales, achieve better performance and enjoy higher security. The Magento marketplace is full of extensions which can supercharge an ecommerce effort. For example, the onestepcheckout extension of Magento, which is extremely modular, allows merchants to shape the checkout and create a superior theme design of their preference with minimum resources and development skills. That way they can enjoy improved conversion rates and better sales figures.

Conclusion

Magento enables you to sort things out with the technical implementation of putting together an ecommerce channel. Certainly, it is not at ease of use levels of 'point and click' but it is much more approachable even by non-technical people too – even with only a bit of help by a part-time developer for example. 

Also, services such as Zapier can allow for connectivity of Magento with other apps without any development work. Yes, for a wide array for other things, a specialized Magento development company or a similar professional on retainer may be needed. In any case, putting together, maintaining and expanding an online sales presence is not out of reach with Magento these days.




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Monday, July 22, 2019

How to find the best order management software

Regardless of your exact business type, if you are handling orders from suppliers and to clients, it is most likely that the competition is constantly growing. As such, it is important to be as efficient as possible while you try to grow your business. The appropriate business software is is one of the solutions you need to be looking for, if you don’t already have a satisfactory solution. It is the best way to optimize your processes and grow your profits. 




The benefits of order tracking software

The implementation of such an order management system is crucial. You will be able to manage every order with more simplicity. The structure in the steps you will be taking during these procedures will help you to reduce your errors and have a better knowledge of your order details.In fact, you are not only going to reduce your possible faults but also the cost and the time you spend for every order. You will not need to worry about unnecessary paperwork again. Storing the information of every order will help you create a valuable database and have more qualitative customer support.

Start by creating a list of requirements

However, each business has a different structure and handles its procedures in a different way. Before you make the final decision of the most suitable order management software, try to consider some important factors. Take into account the size of your business, the range of your products and the features that are needed for a typical order, for example. It is helpful to create such a list with all your requirements. In addition to this, if your list is extensive, it makes sense to split the features you need into ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ ones.

Look into business software directories

An effective way to find the best solution is to visit sites that their main feature is the promotion of software and its comparison. A well known site for this purpose is getapp.com. In this site you can have a look on every feature of all the software applications that you are interested in and compare these features side by side. For example, you can check how Megaventory's features compare with other solutions using getapp. With such a tool you can compare all order management software solutions that seem relevant according to your list of requirements and find the ones that are the best fit to your company. 

Go over user reviews

The best way though to really understand the quality of a software solution software is to go through the opinions of those people that have interacted with it in person. Sites such as fitsmallbusiness.com reviews extensively software with people who have spent time with the app - you can see an example of the Megaventory fitsmallbusiness.com review here. Similarly, sites like capterra.com contain lists of products along side the review opinions of various customers of these products. Again, as an example, you can check the Megaventory reviews to get an idea about the useful insights available from our actual customers.

Trial the software yourself

It is very helpful if the software you are evaluating provides a free trial and gives you the ability to have a close look on every aspect of the system. Following this method you can check out the features of the software in detail. 

In Megaventory in particular we have put a lot of effort to make this step as helpful as possible. As such, you can use in-app step by step guides which can take you through all the important information, be notified by pop-ups at relevant times and benefit from a live chat with an expert who can answer your questions. of course. If you have any questions you should also be able address them through the software's knowledge base. For instance, Megaventory's knowledge base contains more than 250 articles to help its customers to find answers.

Receive a demo by the vendor

In cases where your business model has many components, your shortlisted features are many and not so straightforward or if simply you need a bit of a personal touch to understand how things work, you can always book a demo with the company providing the software. So, feel free to schedule a demo when you believe you've found the software that offers the right solution.

During such a session, typically provided over screen-sharing, you can get answers to questions you haven’t been able to clarify in previous steps. You can also get a feel of the type of support and how knowledgeable the vendor is. Hopefully, by the end of one (or perhaps two) demo sessions, you will have confirmed that the application is a good fit for your company. To illustrate, you can book a Megaventory demo by using this link.




An order management software is not only a useful tool, but a crucial part of your business. Choosing the right system to organize your orders is the key for the success of your company. Make sure to take stock of all your needs and you can start to find the right software that fulfills all your requirements using the above steps.




Are you ready to optimize how you manage your orders?
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Thursday, July 11, 2019

How to Value Inventory When Selling A Business



This is a guest post by contributor Marla DiCarlo outlining how inventory and its value should be approached in any company which handles stock and its business depends on keeping detailed information about the inventory costs. 

Inventory has the potential to become quite the contentious issue when selling a business. If the seller and buyer do not agree on the inventory count or value, it will prove difficult to reach an agreement on the business' sale price. Though it will be challenging to accurately value the entirety of your company's inventory, it can be done. Let's take a quick look at how to value inventory when selling a business.



Tabulate the Inventory Cost

The first step to accurately gauge the value of your inventory is to determine the price of your inventory based on what you paid for those items or spent to manufacture them. If you paid varying costs for different items in your inventory, you need to know all this information in detail. It does not matter if the items were bought in bulk, purchased individually or made at varying cost at your manufacturing facility; you must determine the true cost of the entirety of the inventory based on what it cost to acquire or make those items. The individual or entity bidding on your business deserves to know exactly what it costs to acquire your inventory down to the penny.

Calculate the Inventory Sale Price at Current Rates

Break out the calculator and add up the true cost of your inventory based on the sale of each item at its current price. As an example, a company that sells widgets for $25 a piece would have an inventory value of $2,500 if it had 100 units stocked in inventory.  The sale price of your inventory will prove critically important to those interested in placing a bid. Such a sale price can be determined at today's rates or - if that's impractical to find out - in the rates you typically sell at.

Account for Goods That Cannot be Sold

The value of unusable goods, damaged goods and goods that cannot be sold for another reason must be subtracted from your inventory's retail value. As an example, consider a frozen fish supplier that has a power outage along with a generator failure that causes 100 servings of fish to spoil. If the retail value of each fish serving is $20, a total of $2,000 must be subtracted from the inventory' value. However, the cost of inventory remains unchanged. Unusable goods affect the inventory's retail value as opposed to what it cost to acquire or make the inventory. This is also information which needs to be maintained at any time and be easily retrievable

Perform Ongoing Adjustments of Inventory Values

Inventory value is dynamic rather than static. The true value of your inventory hinges on current market rates. This means business sale negotiations that take place weeks or months prior to the current date will be based on the inventory's price at the point of those initial talks. Continue to adjust your inventory value as time progresses to ensure they reflect the items' true value at the current moment in time. Otherwise, there will likely be a disagreement as to what the actual inventory value really is when negotiations advance. Furthermore, inventory value must be adjusted as new items are added and old items are sold.

Strive for a Mutually Beneficial Inventory Value

The inventory value must prove acceptable to the business buyer as well as the seller. In some cases, it makes sense to sell inventory separately from the company. The bottom line is there is no 100% foolproof means of tabulating the true value of inventory as there are multiple methods to calculate value. Discuss inventory valuation with the party interested in acquiring your business, reach an agreement on a mutually beneficial inventory value and both sides will feel as though they are getting a fair shake.

Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell a business so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.





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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Choosing suppliers based on product lead times and availability


If you run your own retail or wholesale company, you need to ensure a supply chain that works as efficiently as possible. Selecting the right vendor(s) to work with is an essential procedure. While you manage your sales and orders, a wrong choice of supplier may end up being devastating. As such, to arrange your orders it is essential to know with who you will cooperate with. Shortlist all the possible vendors that can provide the products you want and figure out who is better for your needs.

As a first step, you should choose partners which are on the same page as you and are compliant with their commitments. Make sure your choices of partners are straightforward and clear. You are not looking only for extra help, but also for someone who is an expert you can rely on. It is important for your cooperation to know what they can provide to you and what are their requirements. So speak with many vendors and go into agreement with only the ones that check the most boxes which matter to you!


List the particulars of each agreement with your suppliers


Once you have created a list of your vendors, then attach all the agreement features that they offer. You can have a look and give priority to the ones you consider more valuable for the products you need. A helpful piece of advice is to gather all the accurate information from every vendor in a single point. You can use this later as a reference when choosing where to order from (without having to dig up contracts, agreements, etc)


Know the product details, the stock levels and the lead times of your suppliers


You should also be able to know for each product the information you need and which is relevant to the supplier. For example, in Megaventory we have a table such as the following. 




That way you can know at any time the exact price at which the supplier offers the product to you and its product code and description (often supplier details are different than how your business presents them to its clients). It is crucial also to know about the stock level of each supplier and the lead (delivery) times of every product.


Ensure you can handle variable quantities and lead time ranges


Problems are often presented during communication with the vendor. One of the most significant is when there is a misunderstanding about the lead time of the product - ie how long it will take for an order to get to you. Be sure that you have agreed for the precise date you expect to receive a product so you are able to organize fulfilling your orders precisely and on time. It is key you have time ranges which are pre-defined and not too wide. Using Megaventory, you can define and see the individual delivery times and the quantities of every supplier, as shown below.




You are able at any point prior to making your order to have a look at every vendor on your list. It is useful to check the period of time they deliver and the quantity ranges of their products. That way you can make the optimal purchase prioritizing either against price, delivery time or other vendor preferences.


Organize your orders


After you have determined from which vendor a specific purchase order will be served, and consequently know the expected date and the quantity ranges of every product, it is time to fill in your purchase order. At this point, the supplier from whom you will receive the product and the quantity being ordered should be all you need.

In case of managing multiple locations, it is also important at this point to wisely pick the inventory location where you will be able to receive the products ordered. 



After you set up such a purchase order with one of your vendors you should be able to know when each item in the order arrives. You should also be aware of the earliest and latest delivery times of the order, taking into account all the individual products in the order and their respective lead times. Megaventory will easily do the calculation for you but you can also override Expected Dates to enter your own values.

This process will happen more than a few times and from various vendors before you can consider the stock as having been replenished adequately. In fact, in most industries, this is an ongoing process. As such, it is helpful to gather all your orders on one or more single list. It can be a great advantage to know any time you want every detail of all the purchases you have made. Here’s how Megaventory users complete and organize all their orders.





A stock procurement system for your company and your suppliers


The key before you start the selection process of the right vendor is to choose the right system to integrate into your company. In this case, you are looking for a system such as Megaventory to help you organize all your products and collect all the information about the selected suppliers. You can see anytime the stock of your supplier, the purchase price they offer for every product and the expected date you will receive your product.

The implementation of a system like this can help you prioritize and select efficiently the supplier with the best price and lead time. It can provide you all these features you are looking for, it can help you avoid mistakes and move fast and eventually it can help you grow your business much faster.


Do you import stock wholesale in order to sell to retailers? Do you purchase goods to deliver to your customers? Do you rely heavily on your suppliers continuous good performance?



Are you ready to take your supplier inventory management to the next level?
Manage your vendors with Megaventory
Sign up now for a free trial



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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Inventory Organization: Update Your Layout, Save Pick Time






When it comes to inventory, you need every process to move like a well-oiled machine. As one of the last and most important steps in the retail pipeline, you never want picking to be the step that slows you down. But your machine won’t work if the parts don’t fit together well. This is where effective inventory organization comes into play. A great layout that makes the most sense for your space can assist everyone in pulling inventory quickly and easily, making the whole process run a little bit more smoothly.

Inventory organization is rarely easy, though. Space and time limitations, the constant in and out flow of of product, and the sheer overwhelming feeling that comes with tackling such a big task can cause re-organizing your inventory space to fall by the wayside way too often and for far too long.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to get started, and get your inventory space organized in a way that maximizes your space and optimizes your resources.

Stock Optimization Starts With Space Assessment


What's happening? Where is it happening? And is that the best possible place for it to be happening? There are a few of the questions you need to be asking when deciding on the most efficient layout for your picking space.

Of course, keeping things at ground level, whenever possible, will help make picking easier and faster.   But without ample room and well-planned paths to navigate, even the simplest setup will slow down and eventually create bottlenecks and jams.

Organize your inventory so there is a well-defined flow for employees to take on their picking journey.  Simple steps like grouping items that are commonly shipped together, and routing traffic to avoid doubling back or constantly retracing their steps can make a big difference, especially when space is limited.

Visualize Product Movements to Improve them

Your current setup may seem like it is working.  But your current layout is likely masking a huge problem.  Wasted motion and needless traffic in the wrong places.
Wasted motion in warehouses costs billions in productivity every year. In food warehouses alone, wasted motion consumes 6.9 weeks annually, at a cost of $4.3 billion annually.
In order to help you conduct the space assessment and optimize your warehousing, try literally mapping out the current flow. A paper and pen are all you need to start. Or use the time-lapse camera function on your phone to watch a whole day’s traffic Which routes are being taken most often? Do they make sense? Do they involve lots of long trips or out-of-the-way detours to pick the right products?
Also keep an eye—and make note of—where things are going wrong. Is there a particularly overstuffed corner where people get caught up? Is there a reshelve tub that’s constantly parked in the wrong place? Are there areas where too many people are picking at once because of the popularity of the item?
Knowing of these issues with certainty—witnessing them and taking note—can help your get to the root of your traffic problems and visualize how to begin fixing them.

Storage Cleaning and Upkeep Are Mission-Critical

From a safety standpoint, from an efficiency standpoint, and ultimately from a financial standpoint, cleaning and upkeep are an absolutely critical part of inventory organization. Just like you plan ahead to ensure you never run out of an item, you should also be planning ahead to ensure your inventory space stays well organized and tidy.
Having a plan and arranging your space once is not enough. Once everything is in place for optimal picking time and function, you have to make sure things stay that way. Everything needs to have a designated area. Empty pallets, boxes, and other trash should be removed as soon as they are created. Any spills or other messes should be addressed immediately.
Clean-up and reset at every position and every shift or day have to become second nature.  Perhaps use project management tools to ensure this clean-up process happens each day. A place for everything and everything in its place. Enforce a no-mess policy for a couple of weeks and you’ll be amazed at how big an impact it has on overall energy and flow.
Constantly Do Warehouse Audits

Is there any bigger headache than trying to work around inventory you just don’t need? It takes up space, it requires time and energy to try and figure out what to do with, and it ultimately means more work to finally get rid of it.
Well, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the best thing to do with unneeded inventory is to avoid having it in the first place. By regularly evaluating low-turn, out-of-season, EOL inventory, you can create more accurate forecasts for what you need, and prevent the buildup in the future. And for any excess you already have lying around? Have sales/marketing develop strategies to sell through, return, or liquidate.

Product Location Is The Most Important Thing

It really is everything. According to Supply Chain 24/7, “travel time can easily account for 50% or more of order picking hours” so  it is imperative that  travel time is reduced and picking strategies are in place so time is never wasted. So much of this depends on location. From the location of the item within your space, to the space itself, location plays a vital role in determining the efficiency of your picking. Make sure your understand your location, its drawbacks, and its strengths, and plan accordingly.
And while all these tips might help make you make a better plan for achieving inventory organization, the biggest predictor of efficient picking is this: treat inventory process initiatives as mission critical for the company. Sure, there are lots of steps that come before and after, but in the long run, good business depends on good picking.


This is a guest post by Laura Hudgens, a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. She is a communications instructor and freelance writer who studies and writes about technology, media, science, and health.