eCommerce Software Flexibility (Part Two): Inventory Management
In part one of the eCommerce Software Flexibility blog series, I talked about how flexible order management software can help online retailers improve order management and their eCommerce operations. Flexible eCommerce software gives online retailers the ability to configure automated tasks to perform tasks that meet their specific business operational needs. When an online retailer is managing inventory stocked at multiple warehouses and selling that inventory on multiple online stores, a standard system may not be able to handle the different scenarios a multichannel retailer encounters. This week, I will focus on the different ways an online retailer may benefit from eCommerce software flexibility when trying to improve inventory management.
Just in time Inventory Management
A retailer whose eCommerce operations is revolved around just in time inventory needs a system that will automatically generate purchase orders as orders are placed. There is flexibility that is involved with creating a individual purchase order for your company, assigning products to be fulfilled just in time and others to be fulfilled with the stock in the retailer’s warehouse. A retailer may choose to send a purchase order to a supplier as soon as an order is placed, so there is minimal lag time between when the order is placed and when the order is received at the warehouse to complete the shipment.
Or, a retailer may choose to wait until the end of the day and send a consolidated purchase order to a supplier with all the orders that contain products from this supplier. This is advantageous to retailers, who are typically trying to save money with just in time inventory, because they will only have to pay for one shipment from the supplier per day.
Using Dropshippers to Manage Inventory
This same process for managing just in time inventory can be created for dropshippers. Instead of the supplier sending the inventory to the warehouse, the dropshipper would receive the purchase order and simply ship from their own warehouse.
Bin Inventory Management
A retailer who executes a just in time inventory strategy may also need a system that will manage bins in their warehouse. Retailers use a bin system in a warehouse to organize incomplete orders. For example, when a customer orders 3 products online, 2 which are stocked in the warehouse and 1 which is fulfilled just in time, the warehouse managers use a bin system to keep the 2 products stocked in a warehouse separate and ready to be shipped once the last product is received to complete the order. A flexible inventory management system may allow a retailer to manage:
- Multiple orders per bin
- One order per bin
- One bin per store
- One bin for international orders
A flexible inventory management system will also allow a retailer to easily add and edit inventory items in a bin, while updating levels in real-time and notifying all the relevant parties of these changes. Retailers may also want to see an image of each item in a bin or they may want to see an itemized list.
There are many ways retailers can manage inventory. With eCommerce software that provides flexibility, retailers are be able to streamline eCommerce operations specific to their businesses. For more information on managing inventory, check out our Functions and Features page!