Every business has something to sell. Some business sell services –
their expertise (like an accountant, lawyer, artist) others sell you
time or convenience (like a cleaning company or oil change shop).
For those businesses who sell physical products, your operation
takes an entirely different perspective. You have products that need to
go from your warehouse to your customer. If the products have a shelf
life, you have to ensure they move quickly so they don’t go bad. You
need to know what you paid for them, at what time, to ensure you get
the best profit.
Software to manage your inventory and warehouse are absolutely crucial to ensuring that your operation is profitably managed.
Jim Burleigh, CEO of inventory and warehouse management software vendor SmartTurn
gives us his insight in this interview about a hosted inventory
management solution vs a software solution; when a business knows they
even need an inventory solution
I think we all can imagine the supply chain needs of Dell,
Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and hundreds of other very large companies. How
are these needs similar to what smaller businesses need?
All businesses in one form or another are similar when the need to
track inventory or product is. Everyone can improve fulfillment
accuracies and improve on efficiencies that have a great side effect of
reducing labor. From smaller storage spaces to medium-sized warehouses,
small businesses need to track and monitor their supply chain to ensure
that products reach target markets in a timely manner and generate
How are their needs different?
Large companies require the full gamut of software and hardware to
keep customers and trading partners satisfied. This typically requires
huge capital investments that provide a long term ROI opposed to the
SMB’s who generally require only a few software/hardware improvements
with a quick ROI. Additionally large companies tend to move product
rapidly requiring them to have custom built solutions for high
automation, and an expensive solution at that.
Can you give me a brief “picture” of a typical customer? What do
they sell? What’s their revenue? How many customers and employees do
they have? Help us understand a bit about their needs.
Our customers range from just a few employees earning less than $10
MIL, to thousands of employees earning more than $25 BIL. The product
mix is vast and is everything imaginable is being sold or tracked.
(Books, cables, food, electronics, automotive to name a few)
For companies using software based solutions, what are some fees they can expect to pay?
This depends on what type of software they are using. If they are
using a warehouse management system (WMS) they typical price range for
your client-server model runs between $50K and well over a $1MIL for
licenses, support, installation and hardware. Not to mention there are
restrictions on users and in many cases transactions.
How does this compare to fees for a SaaS solution?
The SaaS model allows companies to operate efficiently at hugely
reduced costs ranging from $500 per month like SmartTurn that includes
support, unlimited users and transactions.
Is a SaaS warehouse and inventory management solution good for ALL businesses?