Inventory forecasting software is just one part of the tech eco-system for an SMB in the business of buying and selling goods.
Used together, an accounting software, Inventory Management System, and forecasting software are a powerful trio that will give you a 360 view of your inventory.
Imagine a scenario where you can see behind you, around you, and in front of you in sync and at the same time.
For most of us, it's hard enough just trying to stay focused on the present, never mind thinking about what's around the corner, or trying to remember what we had for breakfast yesterday.
Fortunately, a tech stack comprising three cloud-based tools - that talk to each other intuitively - allow you to have a grasp of what's happened, happening, and going to happen.
Inventory Management Software (IMS)
An Inventory Management System tells you what's happening with your inventory right now.
How much inventory have you got on hand ? What's it worth? How much stock have you got on order?
These are all questions that you're IMS can answer. If you're carrying inventory, then you want to make sure you have a method of recording this data.
This is bread and butter for an IMS, but there are some other tools that have simple inventory managing capabilities too, such as accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks Online, or Point of Sale (PoS) software like Vend.
Recommended IMS: Cin7, QuickBooks Commerce (formerly TradeGecko), Unleashed
Accounting software gives you a glimpse in the rear-view mirror.
Every time you register a sale in your IMS, the transaction gets sent back to and recorded in the accounting software.
This allows you to build accurate reports, such as profit reports, based on your sales history.
Most accounting tools integrate seamlessly with an IMS. Accounting software can automatically reconcile the data in each system to ensure it matches what your IMS says.
Having reliable sales history in your IMS is an important factor for getting an accurate forecast, as we'll see.
Recommended accounting software: Xero, QuickBooks Online
Inventory Forecasting Software
Inventory forecasting software is the final part in this three-piece puzzle, which leverages both real-time and historical data to make suggestions about the future.
How much demand should we anticipate 6 months from now? What quantity of inventory do I need order to meet demand? How much buffer stock should I get? When do I need to place an order to ensure it gets here on time?
Inventory forecasting software can give you the best shot at getting these decisions right.
If you don't, you can easily end up ordering too much (a cash-flow and storage problem) or not ordering enough (a gaping opportunity cost).
If you have a one-click integration between inventory forecasting software and your IMS, uploading data and getting a 360 view of your inventory is relatively quick and painless. Most businesses can achieve this in 10-30 minutes.
Recommended inventory forecasting software: StockTrim
If you're combining inventory forecasting software alongside an inventory management system and accounting software, you'll have a data record for the past, present and future so you can make smarter, fully-informed decisions about your inventory.
It gives you not just 'the benefit of hindsight', but the benefit of insight and foresight too.
You can see what 'foresight' looks like for your business by starting a free trial of StockTrim here