Does your home based business have inventory? Mine does. The first time I did small business taxes, it was an unpleasant surprise to discover that I needed to know the monetary value of my year end inventory. My only option was to count all my fabric, hardware, zippers, and other items. It took a considerable amount of time.
Since then, I’ve been using inventory management software. It took some trial and error to get my preferred program set up just right. When I purchase materials for my business I select the item type then enter the purchase date, quantity and unit cost. The software keeps track of the total amounts of materials and their monetary value.
When I take materials out of my stash to sew, I make a note of how much/how many and for which projects. I enter quantities of materials, the date I started sewing the projects and names of the projects into my inventory control software and the software automatically keeps track of how much of each material is left.
When I finish sewing my projects, I can use the inventory control software to keep track of the quantities of finished projects and the costs of my completed items. Similarly, when I sell an item, I select the item type and quantity, and enter the sale date. Provided I remember to keep the inventory control software up to date, it will generate running totals of materials, finished projects and the costs of these items.
Knowing how much inventory I have on hand at any given moment has never been easier.
Choosing inventory control software
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of inventory control management software options to choose from. While I don’t know which one is best for your business, I can tell you what influenced my choice. Some inventory control programs are optimized for businesses in specific industries (for example the food services industry). Others are optimized for businesses of a certain size. Right away I knew I wanted more general inventory control software for small business. When I began my business, it was a part time venture and cost was the biggest factor in my decision. Having a limited budget greatly reduced my options.
The next factor was matching the software to my device’s operating system. Not all MICROSOFT compatible programs are available for MAC and vice versa. What version of MICROSOFT Windows/ MAC OS are you using and how long will your inventory control software support it? For those of you who are using them, what about Android devices and Linux operating systems?
Now that I had a short list of inventory control software options that both fit my budget and my operating system, I decided to try them out. It soon became apparent that the next factor to influence my final decision would be ease of use. I had never used inventory control management software before so there was learning a curve with all of my chosen programs. That being said, some were more intuitive than others.
Do you use inventory control software?