Proper inventory management is an essential part of managing your print shop. Through effective inventory management, you can have an efficient system to store and retrieve stock, streamlining the process of completing customer orders on time. Great inventory management is the cornerstone of any successful print shop.
The main challenge to getting it done right is the amount of organizing and frequent updating you’ll need to keep up with. We can empathize with how the very thought of the tedious task can feel daunting. But you don’t have to do it the hard way: with cloud-based inventory management systems, you can easily take the tedium and difficulty out of the equation.
If you’re unfamiliar with the cloud, it refers to an interconnected system of computers via the Internet, which provides a variety of functions. In the case of cloud-based inventory management software, it provides you with a one-stop centralized solution for all your inventory management needs.
Cloud-based inventory management software is the most effective way to keep your shop’s inventory well organized to meet customer demand. At the same time, you won’t need to spend hours manually sorting through inventory logs: it takes a lot of guesswork and manual labor out of the equation.
Why Do You Need It?
A question that might arise is whether you actually need cloud-based inventory management software in the first place. You might not immediately see the benefits of having one if you operate a small print shop, given your smaller scale of operations. When you only serve a very small quantity of orders from a relatively small customer base, you don’t really have significant inventory management concerns to fuss over.
For bigger, more successful print shops, there’s plenty to worry about. But for every problem you might face, cloud-based inventory management software has a solution for you.
Multiple Purchase Orders
Traditional inventory management methods mainly involve the use of spreadsheets, maintained either by hand or via computer-based spreadsheet or database software. These methods work fine for small shops since they don’t have a lot of inventory to worry about, considering their smaller customer base. However, keeping track of all these can get confusing very quickly, especially when there’s little coordination between team members about the inventory situation.
Let’s take an example where you have a printed sales order for 100 t-shirts. Based on your current inventory levels and comparing with all the printed purchase orders in your hand, you determine you need to order an additional 50 t-shirts. So you place the order and print the purchase order for when you receive it.
When the t-shirts finally arrive, you realize that you’ve received a total of 100 t-shirts – that’s 50 more than you initially ordered! What gives? As it turns out, your staff member John had ordered those same t-shirts under the assumption that no one had placed a purchase order for them; John completely forgot to print the purchase order. Now you’ve ordered too many blanks, and you’re hoping you’ll have customers who’ll make use of them in a future order.
The Solution: With a cloud-based inventory management software like YoPrint, you can easily avoid this kind of error. You have a sales order for 50 shirts recorded in YoPrint and are about to create the corresponding purchase order. As you’re doing that, you check YoPrint to find that you currently have 25 shirts on hand and 25 more incoming. Every sales order and purchase order that anyone on the team creates is recorded in YoPrint, and YoPrint also calculates exactly how much inventory you need when your stocks are low. As such, you realize that you won’t need to place an order at all.
Two days later, the delivery arrives, and you now have all the inventory you need to complete the sales order. No need to worry about someone else placing a purchase order without you knowing, ensuring you don’t spend needlessly on your inventory needs!
This will be more apparent if you have multiple locations to store all your inventory. Relying on a manual system may mean using inventory ledgers to track the movement of stocks, be it between warehouses or the print shop and each warehouse. When things get hectic, you might accidentally make erroneous records of where some goods are placed. You’ll then end up with a massive headache trying to retrace your steps to find the stocks you need.
For example, you might have three warehouses for your inventory storage needs: A, B, and C. You have separate ledgers to keep track of their stock levels, but on a particularly hectic day, you might have accidentally taken the wrong ledger to record a new batch of shirts that arrived today: say, if they were supposed to be kept in warehouse A, you accidentally recorded them in warehouse B’s ledger.
Days later, a check of warehouse A’s ledger leads you to realize your stock of shirts is insufficient for a rush order you’ve just received, so you place a new purchase order and send it off to the vendor immediately. At the same time, you’re wondering what happened to the new order you placed: did you really have low stocks, and you didn’t realize it? Only after the new stock arrives do you find out you’ve mistakenly written the record elsewhere, and now you have plenty of extra shirts in your inventory.
The Solution: Worried about the confusion of managing multiple warehouses? Fret not, all your purchase orders created in YoPrint are linked to specific warehouses, so you’ll have a much easier time knowing which inventory is stored in which warehouse. You can also place a purchase order for every sales order that needs one. You can easily jump between the two whenever you need to and unlink them if necessary.
You can also conduct stock adjustments and stock takes within YoPrint whenever you need to update your inventory counts. This is done on a per-warehouse basis, so you can rest assured that there won’t be any confusion about which stocks need updating. You can then view completed ones from the Stock Adjustment screen at any time.
If you realize you accidentally allocated stock to the wrong warehouse, you can do a stock transfer through YoPrint and move the stock from warehouse A to warehouse B. You can also revert stock transfers if you need to.
Ledgers All Over the Place
Inventory ledgers may be vital, but having so many copies with no way to quickly sort through them can eat up a great deal of time. Even if you have a system in place where they’re sorted by year and warehouse, that still means you’ll have to spend an uncertain amount of time sifting through pages of inventory records to confirm inventory levels or track the historical sales volume for a particular product.
We’ve already highlighted how human error can cause even the most optimized manual inventory management system to have unexpected hiccups, all because of one wrongly written record. And let’s not forget the spatial considerations for having to store so many ledgers in your office – you’re bound to run out eventually. If you’re using Excel spreadsheets, that’s also precious space taken up in your computer.
The Solution: With cloud-based inventory management software like YoPrint, you can do away with all the tedious manual entries in ledgers. Everything can easily be managed from a single, centralized platform that gives you complete control of every aspect of your inventory management.
Instead of having to flip through numerous pages from various ledgers, you can open up YoPrint from your computer and get quick access to your current inventory levels in no time. YoPrint also stores all the information within the cloud instead of your computer, providing instantaneous access to all your stock details whenever you need it.
More Cloud-based Perks
You can see how cloud-based inventory management software can be a lifesaver for larger print shops, even if you’re not a contract printer. When you have plenty of orders to work on, having something that can help sort out your inventory, even across multiple warehouses, can be a big help in the long run. But there are other additional reasons why you should consider them beyond being a huge relief for your overall inventory management.
Cloud-based inventory management software doesn’t need prior setup before you can use it. All you have to do is create an account with the software provider and sign up for any of the available subscription plans, and you can start almost immediately. You’ll also find an online manual to help you master the systems in no time.
Many automation tools also help streamline setting up tasks and automating processes, which helps reduce duplicate entries or erroneous data entries. Once in place, you’ll remove inefficiencies in your current workflow without lifting a finger. You’ll also have more time to focus on the core of your business worry-free.
YoPrint enables this through a variety of functions, including automatic calculations for reorder amounts and easy tracking of all your receivables, all within one robust platform. YoPrint also simplifies many tasks, from keying in your inventory to marking purchase orders as complete so that you can prioritize your printing at all times.
One big plus point is being able to track your inventory even when you’re on the go. Many cloud-based software can be used from your laptop or tablet, giving you real-time access to your inventory whenever you need it. Maybe you’re on a business trip and want to see if your recent purchase order has been marked as received or how your current stock levels are at the moment.
Outside of ease of access, integrations are a handy extra to have for your inventory management. These are external tools that work in tandem with the software, giving you additional capabilities to do more with your inventory management. In YoPrint’s case, we have built-in product catalog integrations with Sanmar, AlphaBroder, S&S Activewear, and more, which provide real-time stock and pricing updates.
Owing to cloud-based software adopting a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, most inventory management software available use a subscription model. You’ll be able to find a subscription plan that works for you and your print shop, depending on the kind of features you’ll need.
For example, YoPrint offers two plans: Basic offers all the functionalities a fledgling print shop will need to organize and start its business but lacks the inventory management component; you won’t need it when you’re starting small. The Pro plan offers all these features and additional functions to help your print shop grow, including inventory management tools.
Caveats to Cloud-Based Software
The benefits of cloud-based inventory management software are significant, but there are still some shortcomings that you should know beforehand. Of particular note is that they’re reliant on a stable Internet connection in order to use. If you end up having downtime due to weak connectivity or a power blackout, you won’t be able to make use of the software until the issue preventing its use is resolved.
Being connected to the Internet also puts it at risk of malicious cyber attacks. While you’re not at risk of a direct hacking attempt, hackers may still be able to glean personal information from the software provider – meaning that your information (or even your customers’ details) could fall into the hands of a scammer. To prevent this, cloud-based software providers make sure to have strong security and encryption systems to safeguard all your information.
For the most part, however, the benefits of cloud-based inventory management software greatly outweigh the cons it may have.
Giving a boost to your print shop’s productivity via cloud-based inventory management software can give you the edge you need to streamline your inventory with a robust suite of tools to help you manage your stocks effectively. No longer will you need to fuss over inventory ledgers for hours on end or struggle with confusion as you’re determining your current inventory levels; with solutions like YoPrint, you can put more time into closing leads faster and fulfilling customer orders on time.
YoPrint is the solution you’ll need to help you deliver fast turnaround times and faster payments from customers. Try our 14-day free trial to see how we can help you and your print shop take off!