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Inventory Software Selection
Today’s businesses rely heavily on information software for smooth and efficient functioning. At the same time, multiple vendors vying for business present a huge array of potential software systems to choose from. That means that selection of a new business software system of any type is an extremely important process that must be approached systematically and with the best information possible. In fact, services are available that assist business in evaluating and purchasing software tailored to individual needs. Many experts recommend that use of such a service can greatly assist a business in both selecting and implementing appropriate business software.

The selection process, whether through an outside resource or in house, is defining the processes that make the organization run and determining the functionality that is most critical. It is important to concentrate on the core business functions and not be distracted by non-necessities. Oftentimes, software packages are designed for a particular type of business and don’t necessarily translate well to others. For example, software designed for warehouse use probably won’t be applicable to a manufacturing environment, even though the vendor may claim that it will work equally well in both scenarios.

Listing the detailed functionality of the business that is acquiring the software will make it easier to match with the detailed functionality of the software product. Oftentimes, companies approach this listing task with anticipated, instead of actual, functionalities – a bad practice that can result in choosing the wrong system for the job at hand. It is important to keep in mind that no single piece of software will likely perform all of the desired functions. That’s why the purchaser needs to determine which are the core, or critical functionalities, that simply can’t be done without.

sability is a major consideration, in addition to functionality. Determining how easy it is to use the software involves looking at how many key strokes, or how many screens, or how many of whatever, it takes to accomplish a given task. Usability means that information is located in logical places and is easy to access without having to go through a convoluted search process.

nce the selection process is complete and the software is purchased, it must also be implemented within the company. Unless a company has substantial resources to draw upon in house, it may well be necessary to engage and outside consultant for this phase of the process as well. It is very common for companies to underestimate how complex the whole process is going to be, especially during a first software implementation. If the implementation takes much longer to complete than anticipated, or is done incorrectly and involves a great deal of backtracking to make it work, the business is out both time and money.

Implementation should be preceded by complete and thorough testing, not only to see what the system can do, but where it will fail. That way, the limits are tested and issues identified prior to wide scale implementation. Implementation must also be accompanied by complete employee training. Both written procedures and hands-on training are important components of the employee training process. It is not possible to place too much emphasis on the importance of adequately training employees in the software’s operation, both before and during the implementation phase.

And, needless to say, the work does not end with implementation. There are always bugs to be worked out and changes to be made with any software implementation. Making the system work to best advantage is an ongoing process.
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