Regardless of your industry, customers want their products on time. With firm expectations for the fulfillment of your orders, unexpected delays caused by confusion over inventory or an ineffective shipping workflow can harm your company’s reputation, and potentially lose you a client. That is why understanding your available inventory and potential turnaround times is critical.

With the future of a company at stake, decision-makers look to their inventory management and fulfillment capabilities as areas for improvement. While there is no shortage of factors to consider when looking to improve upon your company’s fulfillment capabilities, the bottom line is that the right inventory needs to be on hand, and tasks need to be moving through your organization efficiently. To ensure these requirements are met, small businesses should consider an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platform because such tools contribute to these very goals.

Inventory Management

An ERP platform should automate physical inventory counts to take human error out of the equation. The system’s physical inventory management capabilities should go beyond simple count, however; it should offer multi-location management capabilities where required, to further facilitate the smooth operation of your inventory and shipping departments.

Finally, in tandem with the macro level management of multiple storage locations, the system should support the organization of storage information at the micro level. The system should have in place a defined storage location hierarchy, allowing for the management of the physical location of inventory using defined sub-locations. This sub-locational division should go right down to the bin level to allow for more accurate and detailed inventory tracking.

Shipping

ERP capabilities should go beyond the management of inventory by playing an equally important role in the management of the shipping process. First, the ERP shipping platform should possess the ability to generate pick lists and packing slips. By enabling the system to generate these documents or facilitate this data, your storage staff can operate more efficiently. Afforded the ability to easily provide packing slip information to your clients and pick list data to your warehouse staff, your staff will spend less time waiting on instructions and more time shipping your products.

The system should also generate delivery orders for your shipping departments, providing instructions for the shipment to move to a designated party. The information of the delivery order should be automatically generated by the ERP system, providing all required information from sales orders and managed client data. Furthermore, the stock items should be barcoded to the system, meaning the right item is always picked for delivery. By automatically facilitating this information for your shipping department, the ERP system ensures that the right product makes it to the right client without virtually any risk of human error.