How Inventory Management Solutions for Small Businesses Support Growth

A common misconception is that mobile inventory management is only a worthwhile investment if you’re a large organization. NetSuite and RF-SMART customer Hyper Racing is a perfect example of why inventory management solutions for small business are important - they have less than 25 employees and saw a return on their WMS investment within the first year.

There are several ways mobile inventory technology can be game-changing for small businesses and a catalyst for growth. Like Hyper Racing, leveraging mobile in the warehouse can enable you to:

  • Fully eliminate paper-based processes
  • Increase inventory accuracy, efficiency and productivity
  • Retain happier workers and customers


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Supporting Small Business Growth 

"Having a good WMS system in place is key as you start to grow.” – Hyper Racing

Developing a long-term view is critical when you’re evaluating potential enhancements to your operational processes. This might seem obvious, but many small businesses plateau because they’re focused on immediate gains rather than future success. Do you have an accurate picture of:

  • How much inventory you maintain now and what it will increase to?
  • The number of orders you project to generate in the future?
  • How many additional warehouse staff you will take on?

As you map out your growth for the next 1-5 years, analyze where potential supply chain bottlenecks could arise. Receiving, picking and counting can be done with pen and paper when you’re starting out – but if the plan is to scale, inaccuracy and errors will be inevitable. As your business scales, so will errors and extra costs. From here, you can easily calculate the ROI and efficiency gains a WMS could deliver in each of the above areas.

Download our free WMS ROI Analysis Worksheet to get started

Moving the Needle With Mobile

There are three key areas where you can expect to see significant improvements after implementing a mobile solution: 

  1. Inventory Accuracy – Achieving accurate inventory data in your ERP is a foundational step for maximizing warehouse efficiency. To make improvements in this area, most businesses need to begin by optimizing how they count. Manual, paper-based counting is commonplace for small businesses – and it’s prone to errors. Adopting a mobile system will allow you to direct your counts with validation throughout the process. In turn, you'll achieve reliable, accurate inventory data to process orders with. Check out our NetSuite Counting Best Practices Guide for useful tips, strategies and resources on this topic.

  2. Productivity – Small businesses sometimes rely on tribal knowledge amongst warehouse staff to get things done. This isn’t productive or conducive for growth, because training new team members is challenging. If you’re using an ERP like NetSuite but you still fulfil orders using pen and paper, you’ll also likely be making trips back and forth to a computer terminal to manually enter information.

    A WMS system greatly reduces the amount of effort your team needs to put in to do their day-to-day tasks. It enables them to leverage handheld devices which direct them every step of the way. Built-for-NetSuite solutions like RF-SMART are intuitive and very simple to use, and transact data back to your ERP in real-time, thus increasing productivity.

  3. Efficiency – You can mobilize every aspect of your operations, from receiving through to delivery. Mobile barcoding technology lets you streamline these activities so that you can get more done at the lowest possible cost. For Hyper Racing, these benefits have resulted in happier staff and happier customers.

The Right Inventory Management Solution for Your Small Business

“We saw that RF-SMART was the chosen WMS for many other companies, and I could quickly see it was going to be able to handle what we wanted. I was exactly right.” – Hyper Racing

While you may understand the advantages that come with having a WMS, not all solutions are equal. It’s important to select a scalable system that can support your full set of present and future requirements. Small businesses often have fewer decision makers involved in their selection process, so there’s a risk of not conducting a thorough enough evaluation at the start.

When Hyper Racing implemented NetSuite, they initially opted for a WMS solution that did not meet their needs because the capabilities were not scalable.

There are several steps you can take to prevent the same thing:

  • Seek out honest reviews from other businesses like yours. One reputable source for NetSuite users is the NetSuite SuiteApp platform.

  • Map out your desired process flow, as well as features you anticipate needing down the line. Schedule a detailed demo to see whether the vendor can genuinely fulfil these requirements.

  • Identify key differentiators that will impact your usage once you’ve purchased:
    What are the support services like? Is local support available to you?
    How smooth is the implementation process?
    Are there any reference customers that can vouch for this?
    Can the vendor assist with your hardware requirements
    too?

Whether your WMS evaluation is fully underway or you’re just exploring future options, see why RF-SMART is one of the top inventory management solutions for small businesses around the world.

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