Three of the best inventory management techniques every SME should be using

If you’re in the manufacturing, warehousing, retail or distribution industries, you understand the challenges of staying up to date with the best inventory management techniques.

Working with similar companies across Australia and New Zealand, whenever we discuss inventory, it’s always bout how much everybody just hates keeping track of stock. And due to this disdain, business owners struggle with stock losses, wastages, and dead stock – all eating away at their bottom line.

Considering the amount of investment tied up in inventory, as well as its revenue potential, there are plenty of reasons to start treating your stock with more respect. Especially considering that stock-taking and inventory management don’t have to be painful. Ever wondered how the best-of-breed businesses do it?

Here are three of the best inventory management techniques to improve how you deal with your stock.

 

1.    Start treating your stock like cash

Start treating your stock like cash

You wouldn’t tolerate mismanagement of cash – so why tolerate mismanagement of stock? Start treating your stock like cash!

Most businesses don’t treat their stock with the same importance of cash. Mismanagement of cash wouldn’t be tolerated in most businesses – so why do so many businesses continue to mismanage stock?

When staff have little respect for stock, it gets neglected – stocktakes are inaccurate, products aren’t replenished, and there’s little accountability. And many businesses just don’t have the processes in place to easily track, monitor, and understand stock movements within the company. But that’s not an excuse when it directly impacts your bottom line.

If you want to minimise risk, losses, and wastage – you have to start treating stock like cash. That includes crunching the numbers in order to understand:

  • How much stock you’ve got coming in;
  • When you can expect that stock;
  • How quickly you will move the stock;
  • When you’ll need to re-order;
  • From whom you re-order to get the best price; and
  • How much you need to order to get the best price.

Getting some process and rigor in place around understanding your stock, allows you to plan better for the future, avoid making unnecessary orders, and make smart decisions based on actual data.

2.    Improving your DIFOT performance with automation

One of the reasons staff hate dealing with stock so much is because it’s just so tediously manual. And it’s not surprising why staff dislike stocktakes, placing replenishment orders, and following up late deliveries – there’s not much to love. But it still needs to get done if you want to meet your DIFOT objectives.

So how do you kill two birds with one stone? Automate!

With automation, not only do you save your staff from manual, error-prone tasks they hate doing – you’re also very likely to improve your DIFOT ratings through sheer efficiency. And that helps you stay ahead of competitors who are late to the automation party.

With the right inventory management system, you could automate a range of stock-related tasks. For example, with automated workflows and reports you can set your system up to:

  • Detect which stock items are nearing depletion, and notify your staff;
  • Create an auto-replenishment request to your chosen suppliers for items low in stock;
  • Identify and notify suppliers when they have not delivered on time or in full.

Here’s an example of how we detect items low in stock using HARMONiQ.

Here’s a report generated by HARMONiQ that highlights exactly which items are low in stock. Allowing you prioritise replenishments.

Here’s a report generated by HARMONiQ that highlights exactly which items are low in stock. Allowing you prioritise replenishment orders.

 

HARMONiQ can even suggest replenishment orders for a particular supplier based on the min, max and reorder quantities on each stock item – all based on previous sales history.

HARMONiQ can even suggest replenishment orders for a particular supplier based on the min, max and reorder quantities on each stock item – all based on previous sales history.

 

3.    More functionality to better support your staff and customers

Accurate inventory figures makes for better-informed and more confident sales staff

Empower your staff with visibility over accurate stock information – allowing them to confidently make sales and avoid disappointing customers.

There are few things more tiresome than inaccurate stock data – this kind of misinformation results in frustrated staff, and even more frustrated customers.

So how do you,

  1. Make sure your inventory data is up-to-date and accurate?
  2. Give your staff access to it?

Firstly, you need to make sure you have an inventory system that’s capable of integrating with your POS (Point of Sale) system – so any time an order is placed, your inventory system is automatically updated, with no lag times due to data entry.

Secondly, choose an inventory system that gives all staff visibility over all inventory data, whether they’re back in operations, or customer-facing at retail stores. This arms them with the knowledge to make sales confidently, and accurately predict delivery times for out-of-stock items. By shaping your customers’ expectations accurately – you’ll be minimising the chance of disappointing them, and driving them to competitors.

So if your systems are currently not supporting you with accurate, automated and insightful inventory management, consider HARMONiQ.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning System is an all-in-one platform with advanced inventory management functionality. Including:

  • Advanced reporting to give you insights into inventory movement and performance. Create reports to show you exactly how stock is behaving, who your big buyers are, and who hasn’t ordered in a while. Make better decisions by being better informed about your inventory.
  • Customisable workflows to automate everything from stock replenishment to late delivery notifications to suppliers, allowing you to get rid of manual processes, and improve against your DIFOT objectives.
  • All-in-one platform with seamless integration to POS systems to provide all staff with visibility of accurate stock figures to better serve customers.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise for exceptional inventory and stock management. As a truly customisable and scalable software, HARMONiQ ensures that the software will continue to grow alongside your business.

If you’re looking for a system that supports improved inventory management techniques, let me give you an introduction to HARMONiQ in a quick, personal demo.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging great technology, please call me on 02 9542 2000 or email me at drew@micronet.com.au.

 

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

Beyond the software implementation process: 3 ways to add ongoing value to your client’s business

So you’ve completed a business management software implementation process for a client. Job done? Far from it, I’m afraid.

Selling and implementing the software is only half the battle. Now’s the time to be thinking about how you can leverage that software to become an indispensable adviser for your client.

Here are 3 ways to make sure the software platform you implement is the gift that keeps on giving – and that you get all the credit.

  1. Be proactive about change management and minimising client downtime
A good software implementation process should include change management to avoid downtime

Factor in change management for all your implementation projects – because if there’s one thing we want to avoid, it is frustrated employees who reject the software altogether.

One of key causes of new technologies failing is because the importance of change management is not sufficiently prioritised – or in some cases, completely overlooked to minimise spend. While this may save dollars in the short term, it’s likely to result in far more expensive issues down the line.

As a result, a software implementation process must include managing the change of migrating to this new system and updating existing processes accordingly. If people haven’t bought into the use of the new platform, it will create some resistance, and in some cases, rejection altogether. Not only will that tension impact your client’s staff morale and productivity, but it can also spell disaster for you – by blowing out timelines, increasing downtime, and damaging your clients’ perceptions of the value of the platform and your services. After all, how can they appreciate software that no one uses?

Almost every company has an implementation horror story. But by being mindful about people, processes, and the need for proactive change management, they’ll be singing your praises instead.

  1. Be useful by identifying the highest value areas for quick improvements using automation
Get some quick productivity and efficiency wins under your belt by automating tedious manual processes.

Get some quick productivity and efficiency wins under your belt by automating tedious manual processes.

Once you’ve got the software in place, it only makes sense to start delivering some tangible efficiency benefits straight away. While there’s always a learning and adoption curve, you’ll still be able to identify some high-value areas for quick improvements.

My tip? Look for tedious manual processes that have the potential to be automated.

Some examples from our HARMONiQ Partners include:

  • Automating the quote follow-up process, to save time for the Sales team, and make sure no customer enquiry goes unnoticed.
  • Implementing auto-replenishment rules to ensure the right person is notified when stock is low and in need of replenishment.
  • Identifying and notifying debtors using an automated follow-up notification, to take yet another manual task off the Finance team’s to-do list.

A few quick wins can do wonders for software adoption and retention, and clients are a lot more likely to refer you to their friends of colleagues.


Further below, I’ve listed all the different ways HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software augments our partners’ value proposition to their clients. Scroll down to read or download our Channel Partner Overview.


 

  1. Be informed by familiarising yourself with the right data
Use the reporting dashboard to back up your expert recommendations

Work with the software to identify key opportunities for improvement, or critical risks.

With a new business management software in place, now’s the perfect time to reshape your client’s perception of you from software implementer to trusted adviser.

The right business management software provides you with a framework for making the most of all the data you have at your disposal. The reporting dashboard should give you a variety of business critical information that you can use to shape your expert recommendations to clients.

And if it’s a customisable platform, you should be able to adapt it to suit your client’s priorities, whether they value stock, customer, sales performance – or all three!

So to summarise, simply completing the software implementation process doesn’t mean you’re at the finish line. It’s actually the crucial time to:

  • Ensure you include change management as part of your implementation plan, and continue to factor that in well after implementation is complete.
  • Identify manual processes that can be automated for quick efficiency improvements.
  • Leverage reporting capability and data you now have at your disposal to power-up your recommendations and advice.

Becoming a trusted adviser for a client is no easy feat, and starting with the right software platform can make things a whole lot easier. As a HARMONiQ Partner, not only will you be implementing a powerful, customisable, and fresh business tuning platform for clients, you’ll also be armed with our in-depth partner training, best practice implementation framework, and sales & marketing resources.

How HARMONiQ helps you establish yourself as a trusted adviser

  1. We’ve already done the hard work for you by creating a solid software implementation framework – complete with change management.

At HARMONiQ, we equip our partners with a eight step implementation framework that builds in aspects of change management all the way through. This ensures that your client always has the right people involved at appropriate times, gets varied input and participation throughout – while keeping your project scope well in check.
By having a replicable process based on best practice, we find that partners who use our framework finish implementation projects with time and budget left over to spend on additional end-user training or on-boarding sessions.

  1. HARMONiQ is a powerful software with customisable workflows and automation tools – enabling you to get some quick efficiency wins.
  1. In-depth reporting functionality giving you quick access to business critical insights to dazzle your clients.

HARMONiQ Partners often use our inquiry style reporting capabilities to really drill down the data provide insights for their clients such as:

  • Which inventory items are moving quickly, and which items are not moving at all?
  • Which customer accounts haven’t ordered in a while, are you at risk of losing them to a competitor?
  • Is your sales team tracking against their KPIs, and if not, who needs an extra push?

They find that having access to ad-hoc reporting tools like this really support their recommendations to clients with data and hard numbers – and enables them to start playing a key role in shaping the future of their business. HARMONiQ Partners are also encouraged to book in ongoing review meetings to make continuous improvements iteratively. By adding these meetings into your client engagement process, you are motivated to look for more ways to showcase your deep knowledge of their business, and leverage your expertise to help your client achieve their revenue objectives for years to come.

Partner Information Pack Download

If you want to know more about the benefits of the HARMONiQ Channel Partner Program, download our Partner Information Pack for more details on the how, what and why of becoming a HARMONiQ Channel Partner.

Want to see what HARMONiQ can help you achieve for your clients? Book in a live demo.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, request a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own.

Business process automation: How to get the most out of your staff

Some business owners seem to regard business process automation with suspicion – they don’t want to see their companies taken over by bots…

1

But in reality, without the ‘bots’ many of the world’s biggest, most profitable companies would never have gotten where they are today.

When business process automation is well-planned and implemented, results show that it vastly improves productivity, makes staff happier – and brings down your costs.

2

With a Micronet system already in place, it’s clear that you’re already thinking about business process automation – but it’s never enough to just rest on your laurels. Are you doing enough to stay ahead of the competition?

I’ve seen some great examples of business process automation done right in Australia and NZ, and I want to share them here.

Here are 2 important ways business process automation can help you get the most out of your staff.

Use business process automation as a tool to empower staff

Smart automation isn’t about replacing staff in your business – it’s about freeing up their time by eliminating manual, repeatable tasks. By taking these mundane activities out your staff’s day, they can concentrate on tasks that require their personal expertise, face-to-face interactions, or innovative thinking. These are the things that automation just can’t do, but can really make a difference to the revenue generated for your business.

3

So how do you do it?

Firstly, look for business management software that brings all aspects of the business into one system, because it instantly makes staff more efficient – they only have to enter data once, and then it’s replicated across the business.This also works wonders for minimising human error and duplicate data.

Sophisticated workflow functionality in your business management system will also allow you to automate simple tasks like sending quote follow-ups on behalf of your sales team. While this is a relatively simple workflow, it’s a crucial step in ensuing that no opportunities fall through the cracks.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one system that allows you to automate processes around accounting, inventory, sales, marketing and reporting. It has both simple and complex workflow functionality to help you get the most out of business process automation. HARMONiQ even integrates with your Micronet Distribution System, so it could make your existing platform more user-friendly and powerful.

Replicate best practices across the business

Business process automation doesn’t have to be limited to technical, mechanical tasks. You can even automate customer service or sales procedures.

Many companies invest quite heavily in building great customer service processes for their business according to best practice, but then struggle to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.

To overcome this, you can actually build these best practice processes directly into your business management system – so that your staff knows what steps to take in any scenario, eliminating poor decision-making due to insufficient training, or rash actions made in the moment.

HARMONiQ allows you to do this for almost any scenario. One example could be when a customer lodges a complaint. You can set up a process that would immediately alert the key account owner and the director of the company. This will then trigger a task for the director to get in touch personally to sort out the issue. The process can even be automated to send the customer a discount or voucher for their next order – whatever the best next step is!

So to summarise:

  • Ensure you automate with the mindset to empower your staff, not replace them. Eliminate the manual, tedious tasks to let them dedicate more time for revenue-generating activities.
  • Leverage automation on important, but manual tasks to ensure they’re done right every time. The ‘bots’ can help keep your business on track.
  • Use pre-built workflows to ensure your staff replicates best practices in everything they do and uphold your business values in every interaction.

And finally, don’t be the last to automate. Businesses, both big and small, are embracing process automation and seeing the benefits. Don’t let your competitors leave you behind.

HARMONiQ is a powerful platform for your business, allowing you to really revolutionise the way you do things. With HARMONiQ you can:

  • Empower your staff with one source of truth for all data, and great tools for automating follow-up tasks and increasing efficiency.
  • Easily segment and assign contacts and accounts, including visibility of all communication and activities against any client record.
  • Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all best practice processes accessible and repeatable across the whole team.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve process automation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

 4

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

Business process automation: How to get the most out of your staff

Some business owners seem to regard business process automation with suspicion – they don’t want to see their companies taken over by bots…

1

But in reality, without the ‘bots’ many of the world’s biggest, most profitable companies would never have got where they are today.

When business process automation is well-planned and implemented, results show that it vastly improves productivity, makes staff happier – and brings down your costs.

2

I’ve seen some great examples of business process automation done right in Australia and NZ, and I want to share them here.

Here are 2 important ways business process automation can help you get the most out of your staff.

  1. Use business process automation as a tool to empower staff

Smart automation isn’t about replacing staff in your business – it’s about freeing up their time by eliminating manual, repeatable tasks. By taking these mundane activities out your staff’s day, they can concentrate on tasks that require their personal expertise, face-to-face interactions, or innovative thinking. These are the things that automation just can’t do, but can really make a difference to the revenue generated for your business.

3

So how do you do it? Firstly, look for business management software that brings all aspects of the business into one system, because it instantly makes staff more efficient – they only have to enter data once, and then it’s replicated across the business.This also works wonders for minimising human error and duplicate data.

Sophisticated workflow functionality in your business management system will also allow you to automate simple tasks like sending quote follow ups on behalf of your sales team. While this is a relatively simple workflow, it’s a crucial step in ensuing that no opportunities fall through the cracks.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one system that allows you to automate processes around accounting, inventory, sales, marketing and reporting. It has both simple and complex workflow functionality to help you get the most out of business process automation.

  1. Replicate best practices across the business

Business process automation doesn’t have to be limited to technical, mechanical tasks. You can even automate customer service or sales procedures.

Many companies invest quite heavily in building great customer service processes for their business according to best practice, but then struggle to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.

To overcome this, you can actually build these best practice processes directly into your business management system – so that your staff know what steps to take in any scenario, eliminating poor decision-making due to insufficient training, or rash actions made in the moment.

HARMONiQ allows you to do this for almost any scenario. One example could be when a customer lodges a complaint. You can set up a process that would immediately alert the key account owner and the director of the company. This will then trigger a task for the director to get in touch personally to sort out the issue. The process can even be automated to send the customer a discount or voucher for their next order – whatever the best next step is!

So to summarise:

  • Ensure you automate with the mindset to empower your staff, not replace them. Eliminate the manual, tedious tasks to let them dedicate more time for revenue-generating activities.
  • Leverage automation on important, but manual tasks to ensure they’re done right every time. The ‘bots’ can help keep your business on track.
  • Use pre-built workflows to ensure your staff replicate best practices in everything they do and uphold your business values in every interaction.

And finally, don’t be the last to automate. Businesses, both big and small, are embracing process automation and seeing the benefits. Don’t let your competitors leave you behind.

HARMONiQ is a powerful platform for your business, allowing you to:

  • Empower your staff with staff with one source of truth for all data, and great tools for automating follow-up tasks and increasing efficiency.
  • Easily segment and assign contacts and accounts, including visibility of all communication and activities against any client record.
  • Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all best practice processes accessible and repeatable across the whole team.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve process automation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

4

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.