Inventory management forms the foundation of a well-functioning business. The inventory management systems track the availability of stocks as they come in and move out of the warehouse. When it comes to managing the inventory, there are two ways for handling it – you can either hire a management team to manage the inventory manually or deploy automated and intelligent software for the same. Obviously, the former manual method for inventory management is not very practical and has many drawbacks. Let’s understand how online inventory management is better than the offline process of the same.
Offline Inventory Management
Offline inventory management or the traditional warehousing system relies entirely on human efficiency. In this system, the inventory is monitored manually. Everything from the movement of records to alerting the system is done by individuals. Although traditional inventory management is a cost-effective solution for small businesses, it is inefficient, complicated as well as prone to errors. And when it comes to medium to large business, then offline inventory management is a strict no-no looking at the fast-paced digitized world.
Online Inventory Management
Online inventory management is the need for every business regardless of its size and type. Today, almost every business, be it a small shop or a large enterprise, makes use of automated warehousing software that eliminates the need for manual intervention and keeps the stock management smooth and seamless. The modern inventory management system combines the use of powerful technologies that overcome the challenges imposed by traditional systems like security, inefficiency, ambiguity, integrity, etc.
Online Vs Offline Inventory Management
1. Overall Management
Managing inventory offline is a complicated process mainly because of manual interference. Because the stock is tracked and counted manually, it is more error-prone and results in inconsistency and inefficiency.
In the case of online inventory management, everything is handled using intelligent software that automates the whole process. While you still need professionals to handle this software, the process becomes error-free, consistent and results in higher accuracy.
Data security is always a prime concern for businesses. Generally, offline inventory management systems are more prone to security threats due to the lack of enough protection. Further, physical accidents such as a fire, robbery, flood, earthquake can also cause non-repairable loss of data.
While online inventory management systems are also prone to security breaches, they bypass each threat by using advanced security features like data encryption, two-factor authentication, SSL certification, etc. to protect the data.
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With an online inventory management system, it becomes much easier to communicate and collaborate with the other departments within the business. Further, multiple individuals can view and manage the inventory at the same time. Features like real-time notifications, alerts, and autoresponders enhance the communication within the organization and make inventory management smooth and hassle-free.
On the other hand, offline inventory management systems offer very few collaboration opportunities which raise issues like inconsistency, poor integrity and poor management.
Digital inventory management software comes with a powerful analytics feature and a dashboard that offer deep insights into the performance of your inventory management. These tools help in making informed decisions.
There is no such facility available in offline inventory management systems which impacts decision-making.
5. Time & Cost
The main advantage of traditional inventory management systems is that it saves the upfront cost. However, poor management can lead to huge losses plus manual processing is a lot time-consuming.
Online warehouse management on the other hand is simple and efficient. It saves a lot of time as well. Although automated inventory management software comes at a cost that might be slightly higher, it is totally worth looking at the accuracy and efficiency it provides. In addition, you can also eliminate the need for hiring a full inventory management team, which will save your money and resources.