Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inventory Management: New Collaboration Opportunities

Inventory management? What's that got to do with collaboration? A fair amount, it turns out…

What do pundits and observers like me repeat almost as often as the answer, "Well, that depends?" How about "IT and 'the business' must work together more closely!" Heard that one before?

Well, that's another type of collaboration. When it works, it drives higher levels of corporate agility and responsiveness, lead and prospect conversion, customer satisfaction, revenues and profits. When it's not? Well, you've probably seen that before…

But how to decide where to focus efforts intended to increase and improve collaboration among "the suits" and "the geeks?" I submit that a great starting point is anyplace you can identify that costs the company money, leaves money on the table or both. I further submit that one such opportunity is…inventory management.

Why? Because it's how customers perceive and determine how agile and responsive your company is. Which means everything that supports good inventory management is critical to your company. Because getting it wrong costs your company money, leaves money on the table or both.

And remember, your customers, partners, prospects, competitors and purchase influencers are all increasingly participatory inhabitants of "the mobile, social cloud." Which means that what you do well gets trumpeted widely almost immediately, as does all that you do wrong. Such as not getting what your customers want to them in a timely fashion. Inventory management again.

And let's not forget the IT connection. After all, it's your technology infrastructure that makes it possible for you to monitor social media, be more responsive and agile, and manage your critical inventories. But at many if not most businesses, 60 to 80 percent of the IT budget is being spent on just keeping what's already in place working with what's already in place. Not much room to take on new initiatives such as improving inventory management.

What to do?

Do what you need to do to get sales, marketing, operations and IT around the same table to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by inventory management at your company. Determine how and how well inventory is being managed now, and where improvements might be found most quickly. Then, identify and road-test some premise-based, cloud-based and cloud-enabled inventory management solutions that show promise for your company.

A jump start: several worthy candidate solutions appear in an article published by Inc. in May 2011. My favorite: Fishbowl Inventory. It integrates with Intuit's QuickBooks and offers options that can take a company from better inventory management to more and better sales, fulfillment and resource planning and management, as recently covered by eWeek.

We in the punditocracy blather on incessantly about how business and IT have to get better at working together. A great way to foster such collaboration in meaningful ways is to focus on areas that avoid leaving money on the table while improving customer satisfaction, corporate perception and revenues. Improved inventory management can do all of these things.

A Special Offer: If you're interested in Fishbowl Inventory, drop a line to I've negotiated a relationship with the company that guarantees that every one of my readers who uses that e-mail address will get priority treatment and help getting started with their free trial of the software. And if you promise to share your feedback with me for possible inclusion in future blog posts or research (anonymously if you prefer), you'll get undying gratitude from me -- AND a five-percent discount from Fishbowl if you purchase Fishbowl Inventory! A win for everybody!


  1. The site gives the thoughts I want and provides the alternatives I need. It was an awesome blog. Thank you.

    stock management software

  2. I really appreciate your post and it was superb .Thanks for sharing.I would like to hear more about this in future.
    inventory software

  3. Inventory management is doing the right for the field of business and the collaboration opportunities are also mentioned in the above article which good one.

    Service Management Software