Top 3 Challenges When Choosing an Inventory Management System

Without an inventory management system, a jewelry, diamond or gemstone business will struggle to run the business efficiently and profitably.

The top dilemma a business faces when choosing the best system software is the identification and evaluation of the many options. When researching software, be sure to consider:

  • Matching the functionality of the software with your business model
  • Ensuring it integrates with your other software and hardware, including weighing local server vs. cloud-based
  • Determining if you will use regular label/tags or add a radio-frequency identification (RFID) component

Matching the Software to Your Business Model

Jewelry inventory management systems are not all created equal. Some systems focus on finished pieces, some on custom jewelry pieces, some on components, and some include manufacturing processes and the “life-cycle” of an order. You must schedule a demo for each potential partner and have the representative walk you through the software to see if it will best apply to how YOU do business.

If your business model is complex, you might also consider whether it is worth the additional investment to have an expert create custom inventory software built from scratch just for you.

I have worked with both types of systems, and most of the time, your needs can be met with an established software system, as long as the company can make specific edits or small changes. One example is the addition of a new process to accommodate your workflow.

Integrating with Other Software

It’s critical to make sure the inventory management system you choose will integrate properly with your other software and hardware. Integration is key to streamlining your operating procedures.

When you schedule a demo, make sure to ask the experts if the software is compatible with:

  • Existing in-house operating systems and hardware (i.e., Apple vs. Microsoft)
  • Credit card processing software
  • Accounting/bookkeeping software
  • Marketing software
  • Customer service management (CRM) software
  • RFID or barcode tagging system
  • Do you need a local server, or will it be cloud-based

Investing in an RFID Tagging System

Is it worth the expense to invest in an RFID tagging system?

The answer will depend on your type of business.

Systems vary in cost, currently up to about $10,000. So RFID systems make the most sense when your inventory consists of high-value individual items, whether parcels of loose gems or finished jewelry.

Physical inventory is laborious and often inaccurate due to human error. An RFID system automates the inventory-taking process quickly and accurately and allows you to run key performance indicators (KPIs) on each piece.

For example, you will be able to see if a piece sits in the showcase for six months, or if it is removed from the case and shown to clients daily. Or you can “sweep” the reader over your parcel boxes to see what your standing inventory contains, or needs filled in.

This analysis gives you another layer of data, virtually instantaneously, to measure the success or failure of your inventory. It has the added bonus of helping you maintain strict security over your goods.

It’s always a good idea to take frequent (even daily) inventory and even “surprise” cycles in-case or in-vault. RFID makes this much more possible.

Having all the data, and excellent security, will allow you the dual advantage of executing better business decisions while growing your top-line revenue.

Next Steps

When you’re doing your research, follow these steps:

  1. Create a spreadsheet with a list of “must-haves” and “wish list” functionalities.
  2. Request a demo of each program. You will probably need at least one additional demo for the three “finalists” to make your decision.
  3. Bring your questions, and your key team members, to the demo for the experts to answer.
  4. Ask for client references, and make sure to compose a list of specific questions you will ask those existing users.

An inventory management system is a critical business component.

By choosing your software and hardware carefully, you can make precise and educated financial decisions to increase your bottom line.

If you’d like help with this, email us at inquiry@hillandco.co

Be well,

Andrea Lucille Pooler
Business Management Lead

PS: Would you like to see what over 150 businesses who have worked with Hill & Co. are raving about, including some of the largest retailers, brands, jewelry & diamond manufacturers globally from Blue Nile and Rapaport to fashionable newcomers like Futura and Cast?

Learn more about our Business Growth Game Plan by clicking here.

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