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 20, 2017

Supply Chain Management Trends for 2017

Finally, 2017 is here and we can’t stress enough the importance of supply chain management. If there is a problem in your supply chain and your products cannot reach their destination on time or at all, you run the risk of losing those customers forever. 

If this has happened to you, don’t get discouraged. Even behemoths of the retail game –quite often and at crucial times like Christmas– fall short on their promise to deliver the products they say they have in stock.

Yet, in 2017 there’s no excuse to get stuck in outdated methods. So, we asked experts of supply chain management and successful entrepreneurs to share their insights on the emerging trends. Let’s see what they said.

B2B marketplaces, social product design and harder to satisfy consumers

Sue Welch - @GoBambooRose

Sue Welch is the Founder and CEO of Bamboo Rose, a business-to-business (B2B) digital marketplace powered by trade engines that allow members of the retail ecosystem to collaboratively discover, develop and deliver great products to market. A veteran of the tech startup world with six companies to her name, Sue shared her insights and focused on the following points:

●  Marketplaces will make product lifecycle management visual – even when it’s virtual: Retailers will shop just like consumers in connected B2B marketplaces.

●  Product design will become more social: Co-creation will be a must; instant sharing of ideas will be the standard to ensure the best products come to market quickly.

●  IP security issues will be on the forefront: Public tools, like Pinterest, will become more of a security concern, prompting companies to look for options with similar functionality that pose less of a risk.

“After a year of breakthroughs (from see-now, buy-now to virtual fitting rooms)” continues Sue, “meeting consumer expectations for great products and instant gratification will be even harder in the year ahead. 2017 will mark increased investment in tech to help retailers survive in an Amazon world”.

Implementation of cloud systems

Lee Fisher - @InteriorGoods

Lee Fisher is General Manager at Poles Direct, part of the Interior Goods Direct group. They trade exclusively online, offering a range of high quality products including wooden blinds, curtains and cushions.

“For us, it's all about the data”, says Lee Fisher, “and throughout the next year we'll be able to identify and utilise it even more effectively thanks to the advancement of cloud technologies. The quantity and quality of the data we now have access to means our operations are becoming more complex, collaborative and cost-effective, too. 

2016 was a huge turning point for digital technology, and it's showing so signs of slowing down in 2017. Last year saw the gradual introduction of digital to our operations, and we are now able to harness its full potential throughout the full supply chain. We're particularly excited about the speed and connectivity of our enhanced operations.”

I also expect to see AI on the rise, though unfortunately, that isn't something we're in the position to implement as of it!”

Cyber Risks in Global Supply Chains

Ayman Omar@KogodBiz

Ayman Omar is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Business and a Research Fellow at the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center (KCGC). Prior to receiving his Ph.D., Prof Omar worked in the oil industry and conducted several consulting projects. for a wide range of corporations including many Fortune 100 companies.

“One of the emerging risks in global supply chains deals with cyber risks. They can take different forms such as intentional attacks by individuals, organizations, or governments. Such risks can result in the loss of data or a company's intellectual property, major disruptions in supply chain operations, and significant damages due to lawsuits, legal fees, and the loss of customer goodwill and trust.

Cyberattacks in the US have been increasing at a rate of 25% every year over the last three years. Another issue that could result in higher risks of cybercrime is bad outsourcing decision. Such decisions are believed to cause 63% of the data breaches that take pace in different supply chains. Reducing a company's risks to cybersecurity threats can longer be viewed as an isolation, rather this should be addressed as a network-wide problem. Supply chain managers will need to figure out ways to mitigate such risks by analyzing their entire global network.”

Operational excellence and lean programs

Kimberly Watson-Hemphill@FireflyConsult

Kimberly Watson-Hemphill is the Founder and CEO of Firefly Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in innovation and operational excellence and is headquartered in Austin, TX. She recently authored the book Innovating Lean Six Sigma (McGraw-Hill, 2016.)

"While the US economy is doing well at the macro-level, many supply chain leaders are starting their 2017 needing to do more with less budget than in previous years.

Outsourcing and technology solutions continue to be popular, along with continued interest in operational excellence programs. Technology solutions have evolved and improved, and will continue to do so. They are a good investment in some cases, but can also take years to pay back the initial investment. Outsourcing can provide a medium-term cost reduction, but levels of service and customization often suffer.

Operational excellence, particularly a good lean program implemented throughout the supply chain, is one of the few solutions that can provide significant cost reduction, while at the same time developing the skills of the workforce, and empowering employees to lead change.  We predict continued strong interest in all three of these approaches from supply chain leaders in 2017."

Cloud systems for supply chain management

We already see an increasing implementation of cloud-based supply chain and inventory management systems that help businesses easily monitor each link of the supply chain. 

According to the recent research by Software Advice, a company that hosts SCM technology reviews, 46% of the companies that contacted them in order to modernize their systems were still using manual methods or spreadsheets to track movements in their supply chain. For 2017 we can see “the desire to modernize and automate systems and to improve integration”, says Forrest Burnson, of Software Advice. “Even though manual methods worked in the past, the business has either grown or is facing tougher competition, and these methods are no longer sustainable”.

On top of that, we see large companies entering the game as well, even though they have the resources to buy “on-premises” ERP solutions. Therefore, we expect to see a greater shift towards the SaaS model this year.

What are your predictions for 2017? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet us!

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 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.