What is real-time inventory management?

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Logo of Intuit QuickBooks, which works with Acctivate answers, What is real-time inventory management?
Box and magnifying glass with question mark representing inventory discrepancies that real-time inventory management can eliminate
What is real-time inventory management?
Gabe Barrientos, Sales Development Representative of Acctivate inventory software discusses how real-time inventory management gets inventory in check and revolutionizes how businesses track goods, make data-driven decisions, and delight customers .
Acctivate Inventory Software team member, Gabe Barrientos answers, "What is real-time inventory management?"
Gabe Barrientos, Sales Development Representative answers, “What is real-time inventory management?”

Imagine you’re at your favorite movie theatre, about to order popcorn before the movie starts, and just as you’re about to pay, the attendant apologetically informs you that they’ve just run out of popcorn. Frustrating, right? Well, that’s a classic example of an inventory mishap—a situation all too familiar in companies of all sizes and across all industries.

Enter the star of the show: Real-time Inventory Management. I acknowledge that managing inventory isn’t exactly the stuff of blockbuster movies. It’s more like the behind-the-scenes magic that makes sure everything runs smoothly. Think of it as the stage crew of a theater production; you don’t see them, but without their spot-on coordination, the show could turn into a comedy of errors.

So, what’s the big deal about “real-time” inventory management? It’s about knowing exactly what you have, where it is, and how much you need – now, at this very moment, and in the future. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing, between reacting and strategizing, between oops and eureka.

In today’s article, we’ll explore how real-time inventory management revolutionizes how businesses track their goods, make data-driven decisions, and keep customers smiling (and away from those annoying out-of-stock situations). Let’s get our inventory in check — in real time!

Real-time Inventory Management: It’s all about timing

Boxes on pallet with checkmark and clock representing the importance of timing with real-time inventory management

In the world of inventory management, timing isn’t just a factor; it’s THE factor. Traditional inventory methods rely on periodic updates, which means data can be as stale as last week’s bagels. On the other hand, real-time inventory management is like a live show with constant updates, keeping you in the know 24/7.

Real-time inventory management tells you what you have and predicts what you’ll need – and some significant advantages come with that real-time knowledge.

Say goodbye to guesswork: Remember the popcorn saga? With real-time tracking, that’s old news. A real-time inventory system keeps you in the loop, updating you when a product leaves the shelf. It’s like having a personal assistant for your products, whispering, “Hey, we’re running low on this, order more now!”

Accuracy is the best policy: Humans err, but numbers don’t lie. Real-time systems are meticulous, tracking every item as it moves in and out of your warehouse, ending dreaded inventory counts, and introducing always knowing what’s in stock.

Decision-making on the double: Real-time data takes the guesswork out of ordering and stocking, letting you respond to what’s hot (or not) faster than a social media trend.

Customer smiles guaranteed: You know that smile when a kid finds just the right toy? That’s the joy real-time inventory can help deliver. By ensuring that what your customers want is always within reach, you’re not just selling products; you’re dealing with happiness.

No more inventory hide and seek: Real-time systems shed light on the entire inventory lifecycle. No more “It says we have 10, but where are they?” scenarios. It’s all laid out, clear as day.

Cut costs, not corners: By matching supply with demand in real-time, you reduce the need for excess stock, slashing storage costs and minimizing waste. It’s like a diet for your inventory—trimming the fat while keeping the muscle.

How Does Real-time Inventory Management Work?

Now, let’s peek behind the curtain to see how real-time inventory management performs. It’s not magic, but it sure feels like it when everything ticks like clockwork. It’s about a symphony of components working in harmony, and here’s the orchestra:

Inventory management software with real-time capabilities

Inventory management software is the conductor of our orchestra, a sophisticated piece of software that monitors, analyzes, and reports on inventory levels as they change. Imagine a dashboard that tells you what you have and predicts what you’ll need, recommending adjustments to purchase orders as sales are made and stock levels shift.

Barcode technology

Person using barcode scanner representing real-time inventory management software and barcoding

Every item has a story, and its barcode is the title. Scanners read these barcodes at various checkpoints, be it at receiving, during stocking, at checkout, or when processing returns. Each beep is a note played in our inventory symphony, ensuring that the system is updated in real time, giving you the location and status of every item at every moment.

Integration with eCommerce platforms and QuickBooks

Real-time inventory management isn’t just about knowing what’s on the shelves; it’s also about improving your operations and understanding your financial position. By integrating with eCommerce platforms, sales orders flow directly into the inventory system, adjusting stock levels in both systems. By seamlessly integrating with QuickBooks, a real-time inventory management system paints a complete real-time picture of your business’ health, blending inventory metrics with financial insights.

Integration with shipping services for tracking

The journey doesn’t end when a product leaves the warehouse. Integration with shipping services means you can track items to their final destination, providing customers with up-to-the-minute updates on their purchases. It’s a relay race where the baton is passed smoothly from sales to shipping, with real-time updates every step of the way.

When these components come together, they create a network constantly buzzing with information, creating a living, breathing overview of your inventory. It’s a system that’s always on, always watching, and always ready to give you the intel you need to make intelligent, swift business decisions. With every scan, click, and shipment update, you’re not just tracking products; you’re mapping out the future of your business in real time.

The reliability of your suppliers and how often they deliver can significantly affect your reorder point. You may be able to afford a lower reorder point if you have reliable suppliers with frequent deliveries. On the other hand, if your suppliers are less reliable or deliveries are infrequent, a higher reorder point might be necessary to mitigate risks.

By understanding and analyzing these factors, businesses can set reorder points that are precise and adaptable to changing conditions, ensuring a smooth and efficient inventory management process.

Real-Time Revelations: Customer insights on inventory excellence

Here at Acctivate, we’ve seen firsthand that nearly all of our customers not only require but thrive on the benefits of real-time inventory management capabilities. It’s a leap from the old school to the cutting edge, from guesstimates to precision. Our users span the spectrum of industries, from small distributors to mid-sized e-Commerce businesses. Yet, they all share one common thread—a reliance on immediate, accurate inventory insights to steer their businesses forward.

From the moment they access up-to-the-minute inventory quantities through the intricacies of order management to the final flourish of fulfillment, our customers experience the undeniable impact of real-time data. It’s about more than just numbers on a screen; it’s about the confidence to promise and deliver, the power to pivot at a moment’s notice, and the ability to please customers time and time again.

But don’t just take our word for it. Our customers speak volumes about the transformative effects of real-time inventory management on their operations. Their stories are a testament to the tangible benefits that come from harnessing the power of immediate data. Here are some of the voices from the heart of the industry—real users, authentic experiences, and actual results:

It’s been great to have multiple users be able to access Acctivate in real-time. Because Hobbs Iron & Metal is our main office, our other offices are linked to our server and they’re able to look at our real-time inventory so it has benefited us greatly to have multiple users like that.”

Hobbs Iron and Metal logo

We were using QuickBooks and it would take inventory out when we invoiced, but it wouldn’t show what was available, held, or backordered. So until the order was invoiced, sometimes the product would be sold a couple of times over because QuickBooks wouldn’t really let us see the inventory in real-time.”

Scottco Marine logo

We couldn’t do without real-time data. In this day and age, that’s a must. We have this nice, dynamic style database with Acctivate where everybody can make changes on the fly – immediacy is key.”

DSX Access Systems logo - Acctivate Inventory Software user

It’s imperative to have all of our users be able to access the same system in real-time. We have 34 sales reps out in the field and our goal is to have all 34 of them out there working at the same time selling books – so they’re out there in real-time entering orders so that we can complete the orders and run our business effectively.”

Rainbow Book Company Logo

If we know a container’s going to come in two weeks and the product x-y-z is going to X-Y-Z customer, we put the order in Acctivate and the inventory is saved – it’s already on order so we can see that and we can track how much has been sold and how much is available in real-time. We can have several sales people looking at inventory and they can be confident in their quotes and orders.”

Heron Point Seafood Logo

Real-time Inventory Management FAQs

What is real-time inventory management?

Real-time inventory management is a system that tracks inventory levels, orders, sales, and deliveries as they happen. It uses technology to monitor and update stock levels as changes occur, providing businesses with accurate inventory data at all times.

How does real-time inventory management differ from traditional inventory management?

Unlike traditional inventory systems that rely on periodic updates, real-time inventory management provides continuous updates whenever an inventory-related event occurs, allowing businesses to make informed decisions quickly without waiting for the next inventory report.

Can real-time inventory management integrate with my existing eCommerce platform?

Yes, real-time inventory management systems integrate seamlessly with various eCommerce platforms, providing synchronized stock levels across all sales channels and ensuring accurate inventory data across your entire operation.

Is real-time inventory management suitable for small businesses?

Absolutely. Real-time inventory management is scalable and can be tailored to the needs of small businesses. It helps small businesses stay competitive by providing the tools to manage inventory efficiently, avoid stockouts or overstocking, and improve customer satisfaction.

How can real-time inventory management help in reducing costs?

Real-time inventory management helps reduce costs by minimizing the need for safety stock, reducing the incidence of stockouts and overordering, and optimizing warehouse space. Moreover, it can lead to better purchasing decisions and reduce the costs associated with manual inventory counts.

Find Out More!
Learn more about Acctivate Inventory Software by connecting with our product experts.

Call us at 817-870-1311

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