5 Reasons You Need an Advanced Workforce Management Solution

Your workforce is at least as important as your inventory. If you don’t have people to move stuff around and get products to your customers then it doesn’t matter how much inventory you have in stock.

There are better ways to manage your workforce, Inventory System Software BlogEffective workforce management is something that eludes a lot of small businesses because they don’t have the resources that larger organizations do. Of course, small businesses don’t have a whole lot of employees at the start, so they can get away with using Excel spreadsheets or even paper notes to keep track of employees’ hours and schedules.

But eventually they’ll come to a point where they need something a bit more advanced. A workforce management solution can make life easier for leaders and their employees. Here are five reasons you should

1. You Need to Manage Your Human Resources Wisely

It’s really nice when you can go into a program and instantly see who’s working on a particular project, who’s at lunch, who’s out sick, etc. Knowing what your employees are up to doesn’t mean you have to be a micromanager, but it simply means that you’re better informed on how your all-important human resources are being put to use.

2. Payroll Numbers Need to Be Accurate and On-Time

If an employee forgets to clock in or clock out, it shouldn’t be a huge deal to go in and fix it. These kinds of errors happen all the time. You need to make sure your numbers all check out and then have an easy way of calculating payroll taxes and other amounts to withhold.

3. You Should Be Able to Estimate Project Costs

Before you begin a big project, you should calculate how much it will cost to make sure it will generate enough of an ROI to be worth your time. A workforce management solution can help you calculate the number of hours it will take to complete the project and the costs you’ll incur by putting employees to work on it.

4. You Could Use Some Help with Scheduling Employee Shifts

As you add more employees, balancing all of their schedules manually can become a serious challenge. You need a solution help you keep track of all of your employees’ preferences so you don’t accidentally schedule someone to work on a certain day or time when they’re not available.

5. You Need to See Advanced Reports

You would probably never know that employees are more efficient at a certain time of day or that one employee is responsible for 50 percent more output than his associates if you didn’t track those numbers. Set your priorities and monitor them with a powerful solution instead of relying on guesswork.

By effectively managing your workforce, you will solve a major issue and give your business a competitive advantage. So let’s get to work!

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5 Reasons Employees Wind Up Doing Things They Weren’t Originally Hired for

Are you doing the exact same things today that were on your job description when you were originally hired? If you stay at a job for any significant amount of time, you’ll probably answer no.

Employees often wind up doing much more than their original job responsibilities.Why is that? Things change, and so do people. Your company isn’t the same as it was a few years ago, and you’re not the same person you were back then, either.

Let’s talk about five reasons employees often wind up doing things they weren’t originally hired to do.

1. They Gain New Skills

Most people aren’t stagnant in their skills. For example, a cashier at a drugstore can move into photo developing, receiving, or other areas of the business. It’s human nature to want to learn new things instead of doing the same thing over and over.

2. They Want to Stand Out

A good way to impress your boss and move up in the company is to do things outside of your job requirements. Ambitious people do this all the time. If you stick to your job description and refuse to do anything else, you won’t be as likely to win friends and become an indispensable team player.

3. Companies Downsize

When a company hits a rough patch and has to lay off some employees, that usually means the ones who are left have to take on those missing employees’ duties. This can involve having to master new skills, such as sales, customer service, technical expertise, etc.

4. Business Operations Get More Complex

The more a company grows, the more work it takes to keep it running. Ideally, companies hire more employees to meet their growing needs, but sometimes they move too slowly or don’t fully understand their needs. Again, it’s up to the hard workers to step up and go beyond their job descriptions to get the job done.

5. Technology Changes

As businesses get more sophisticated and automate more processes, they are increasingly looking for employees who can be flexible and understand the new systems. For example, warehouse workers can be a lot more productive if they learn how to use warehouse management software and hardware to speed up all of their receiving, ordering, picking, packing, and shipping tasks.

The point of all this is simply to note that you shouldn’t expect to remain stagnant in your job. Whatever you do for a living, you can count on it changing over time. Whether you want to get noticed and move up or deal with layoffs or new technology, you need to be open to trying new things.

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Criticism Is Critical to Your Success

It hurts to be told when we’ve made a mistake. But the sad truth is that we grow the most when we are willing to accept criticism from people and make changes based on their feedback.

Not All Advice Is Equal

Criticism, constructive or otherwise, can help people and businesses grow, Inventory System Software BlogOf course, not everyone’s advice is equally valuable. Some people are just angry and wanting to tear you down. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice. It’s important to protect yourself and yet be ready to allow useful feedback in.

The key is to set your pride aside. Even if someone is saying really painful things to you, know that those things don’t make you a bad person. They are a chance to reflect on what you’re doing and find ways to improve.

Creating an Open Corporate Culture

Leaders who are unable to bear criticism will reach barriers in their abilities that they won’t be able to surpass. They shouldn’t surround themselves with Yes Men, nor should they only associate with negative people. There needs to be a balance between kindness and criticism.

Encourage a culture of openness so your employees feel safe offering feedback. Then you can more effectively weed out weaknesses and replace them with strengths, both in the way you manage and the way your business functions.

Listening to Critics

People who are critical of your business or who say things to try to tear it down could ironically prove to be a boon by helping you notice flaws you otherwise would have missed.

Unhappy customers might be pleased with the majority of what your company offers, but just one or two things led them to have a bad overall experience. By focusing on those few failures you can turn things around, especially if you’re already doing so much right. You can even show those customers that you listened to them and made key changes. That might encourage them to give your company another chance.

Critical Analysis

We’re all imperfect people. When someone makes a mistake, it’s tempting to jump down their throat about it, but it’s always a better idea to kindly help them fix it and learn from the experience.

I can’t claim to be perfect in this regard. But it’s critical that all of us keep trying to humbly listen and help.

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How Would Drones Affect the Way Companies Manage Their Inventory?

Drones could turn out to be a game changer in the business world. As companies like Amazon prepare to use drones to ship packages from a warehouse to someone’s back porch in just a few minutes, we’re left to wonder if this will turn out to be the wave of the future.

Some Doubts

How could drones affect inventory management? Inventory System Software Blog

How could drones affect inventory management?

There are a lot of reasons to doubt that:

  • The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have concerns about the use of commercial drones.
  • Right now drones have a very limited reach, so only customers living within 10 or so miles of a distribution center could actually use the service.
  • It’s cost-prohibitive and risky for companies to invest in an unproven technology.
  • Consumers would probably have to pay a hefty premium to make the service worth it to retailers instead of using traditional couriers.
  • There are safety concerns, such as if drones malfunction and cause property damage or bodily injuries.

But, as with any new technology, there could come a time when these logistical problems are solved and drones become a common method of getting goods to customers.

The Big Question

The question then is: How would drones affect the way companies manage their inventory? I see two major areas of inventory management being affected:

1. Automation

A dramatic shift would occur in warehouse workforces. Companies would need to switch to a more automated system where as soon as an order comes in, the products start getting prepped for shipment. People will need to work faster and smarter to keep up with drones. That means no more printing picking lists or hunting for lost items in a warehouse.

Companies will have to vastly improve their pick/pack/ship process and use mobile devices and clearly defined maps to guide employees through the picking process. Barcodes, inventory management software, mobile devices, and other advanced tools would be absolutely imperative to use.

2. Supply Chains

When you shorten shipping times from days to hours you’re going to need to get products into your warehouses much faster to avoid stockouts. Distributors would likely need to work with local suppliers rather than relying on a central hub for their goods. That way, they could be more flexible in responding to shortages and hopefully eliminate them altogether.

Finding the right inventory balance could get much harder because of the limited warning time. This could lead companies to overstock to be safe from stockouts, but that probably wouldn’t be best. Companies would need to heavily rely on sales data to spot trends and find areas for improvement in their order fulfillment and supply chains.

Looking to the Future

We’ll see what happens in the coming years. Technology changes so swiftly, it’s hard to tell what will be the next big thing. We’ll be in for a wild ride of creative destruction if drones catch on and revolutionize the way companies do business and manage their inventory.

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The Limits of Excel Inventory Management

Many small and medium businesses struggle to manage their inventory efficiently. They spend a lot of money buying parts and products, and oftentimes they overshoot the mark and wind up with more than they need. And if they do that too often or don’t have a good system in place to make sure inventory gets used in a timely manner, those parts and products will sit in a warehouse too long and spoil or become obsolete.

Excel is limited as an inventory management tool, Inventory System Software BlogOn the flipside, many companies don’t order enough and so they run out of materials and products just when they need them. This slows down production lines and leaves shelves bare.

The trouble is that many small businesses try to keep using Excel spreadsheets or handwritten notes because that’s what they did when they were first getting started. But they can’t keep doing that forever. Excel can’t handle businesses’ needs once they reach a certain point of complexity.

It’s too easy for information to get lost or logged incorrectly in a spreadsheet. Plus, trying to find specific data on an order or product can be time-consuming and frustrating in Excel.

Businesses eventually need to upgrade to something better: inventory management software. By using software to automate your inventory management processes you can find the right balance in your inventory levels and speed up the ordering, receiving, manufacturing, and many other essential parts of your business.

Plus, it’s much easier to record data when you use a barcode scanner, and you know there won’t be any data entry errors when it’s not being typed by hand but transmitted wirelessly.

Excel as an inventory management solution is extremely limited in its capabilities while inventory management software allows you to break through those limitations and be more efficient. The only question is how much better off you’ll be for making the switch.

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To Be Successful, Business Owners Need ‘The Right Stuff’

“There was a demon that lived in the business world. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their inventory controls would freeze up, their balance sheets would buffet wildly, and their company would disintegrate. The demon lived at the point where your inventory management gets so complex Excel can’t handle it. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no small business could ever pass.”

Business leaders need to have The Right Stuff: courage and inventory, Inventory System Software BlogThis quote comes from the 1983 film The Right Stuff (though I did modify it a little). The good news is that this demon can be defeated, and I’ll tell you how.

Having The Right Stuff

To be a successful business leader, you have to have The Right Stuff. I mean that in more than one way because it can refer to personality traits, as well as more literal things.

You need tenacity and courage to persevere through any challenge that comes your way, but that’s not all you need.

Even the most courageous leader wouldn’t be much good without some impressive resources to back him or her up. That’s where the other part of The Right Stuff comes in. You must fill your warehouses with the right stuff, or inventory, that your customers are looking for.

Using The Right Tools

To slay the demon of complexity and have the right stuff in your warehouses at all times, you should use a secret weapon called inventory control software.

This software lets you:

  • Set up automatic reorder points to keep inventory levels stable
  • Speed up the receiving process
  • Organize your warehouses to maximize efficiency
  • Make picking, packing, and shipping faster and easier

Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier with the help of an advanced jet airplane. You can break through the barrier of complexity with the help of advanced inventory control software. It will help you keep the right stuff in your warehouse so you won’t be overstocked or understocked at inopportune times.

Then when you look in a mirror, you can ask yourself who’s the best businessperson you ever saw and you can honestly answer, “You’re lookin’ at him.”

The Right Stuff image is the copyright of its owner.

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How Inventory Management Software Protects Your Business

Inventory management software is more than a tool for increasing your company’s efficiency. It also serves an important role in protecting your company from potentially damaging problems.

Inventory management software protects your business' data, Inventory System Software BlogLet’s go over five of the ways that inventory management software protects your company.

Automatic Reorder Points

When you’re trying to run a business, it’s easy to let small details slip through the cracks. Reordering products when they get low is one of those details that needs to be done on a regular basis, but it’s not always easy to remember how many products need to be reordered or when it’s the right time to do it.

Inventory management software allows you to set automatic reorder points on all of your parts, products, and other materials so that you don’t have to constantly worry about when to order more. The software does it for you. Plus, it orders the right amounts so you won’t wind up with too many or too few products.

Inventory Tracking

Sometimes complications happen when a product is in transit. There could be adverse weather conditions, broken-down vehicles, or mistaken order information that leads to disruptions in the supply chain.

You can track shipments’ progress to and from your warehouse using inventory management software. If a product fails to reach its destination or something else goes wrong, you’ll be quickly informed so that you can resolve the problem before it develops into something worse.

User Rights

Only a small number of employees need to have complete access to your inventory records. If you give any employee the ability to make big changes to the database or see sensitive information, many problems could arise.

Protect yourself by setting user rights to limit what areas each user can see when they log in. Employees only need access to areas that are essential to fulfilling their duties. If their duties change, you can simply update their user rights.

Records of Updates by User

Do you know who is making changes to your inventory data? Is someone manipulating orders or doing other things to harm your business, whether intentional or not?

It’s impossible to tell in QuickBooks who is making changes, but depending on the inventory management software you use you can easily see which user was logged in at certain times and what they did. So if you find unwarranted changes or other errors, you know who to talk to about them.

Accurate Data

Entering inventory numbers into a computer by hand often leads to incorrect records. Even the best typists make mistakes from time to time. Just one wrong digit can make a big difference in a company’s finances.

Scanning barcodes solves data accuracy issues. Rather than typing numbers in one at a time, you can instantly update records with the scan of a barcode. Check inventory levels, cycle count a warehouse, reorder products, and do many other tasks with pinpoint accuracy. Plus, inventory software often has the ability to automatically update your accounting records, keeping your books correct across the board.

Safety in Numbers

Learn more about how inventory management software protects and serves your business by signing up for an inventory software demo.

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