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By Brett Wright • October 9, 2017

Where the Heck is My Inventory (Part 3 of 4)

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Accessible from Anywhere

If you’re responsible for monitoring and responding to changes in a complex web of manufacturing logistics, being able to go where the problems are and investigate first hand can save you a lot of wasted time. Having data available on multiple platforms at any given time allows you carry real time data in your pocket—in turn letting you know where you need to investigate first.

Instead of having to hire an analyst and chain them to their desk, you can access the reports you need on a variety of devices, anywhere in the world. And as the startup and small business world moves farther away from traditional offices and centrally-located workspaces, the ability to seamlessly access this information remotely will be essential to a dispersed global workforce. 6

Adjusting to Rapid Growth with Fewer Surprises

Ask those trying to build an up-and-coming consumer product goods brand, and the most successful amongst them will have put together a well-planned and well-executed growth plan. While not every moment or sale is going to be predictable, having a robust plan of expansion in place before you go live on your website is key to staying ahead of demand.

Keep in mind, as your brand grows, not only will your supply chain become more complex, but you will have to expand your product line, your warehousing logistics, and your marketing as you convert new customers into lifelong fans.

As you grow, you will have to have a set system in place for the process of expansion itself, which is an added benefit of the real-time feedback. When products launch and the first campaign goes live, you will have an instant snapshot your customers’ responses.

You will also instantly be able to identify breakdowns in your supply chain with every new rollout, helping you strategically target weaknesses before they destroy the whole launch, because nothing is worse than diluting the excitement of a launch with logistics hang-ups. The 30,000-foot view provided can be refined down to a useful set of tools for your HR manager to hire the right people and focus their training where they’re needed.

After all, throwing more warm bodies in a warehouse isn’t helpful, but knowing you need to hire someone with order picking experience helps you get your shipments much faster with less time spent training. This will give you the ability to instantly respond to customers’ rabid love of your new shade of orange, or alert your customer service team of an influx of calls and emails before they happen. The ability to plug in, get the pulse of your logistics network, and respond in real time gives you the agility you need to grow intelligently and sustainably.

Every time you expand or launch a product, you are introducing yourself and your brand to new customers. Those opportunities are both precious and often pressure-filled, so the ability to have direct contact with every point of your supply chain as you grow will become increasingly valuable over the lifetime of your brand. Brand loyalty is an increasingly difficult quality to inspire in a customer, and no opportunity to do so should be wasted.

Maximizing Your Marketing Budget

Consumer products are a mercurial target audience to market to, even if you’re targeting a niche market. In the ecommerce age, it’s likely people will search for your product category using fairly generic search terms, and it’s up to your paid and organic search folks to coax as many people into the funnel as possible.

However, a cloud-based ERP solution will plug you into every channel, keeping you riding the crest of where the customers are engaging your sales platform. You can also key into your messaging on specific channels, and respond to changing trends instantly.

For example, knowing your customers are clicking through to your commerce page from a visuallydriven, single-link platform like Instagram to a specific item tells you you’ve found a resonating style with an engaged audience. And instead of waiting for a report to come back after a campaign ends, you can give a few rescue breaths to a lifeless campaign before you exhaust your budget on messaging that isn’t driving engagement.

Once again, your ERP system should allow you to see what messages are working, what your customers are searching for, and how you can get the most eyes on your product. Cut through the fog with an all-inclusive solution where analytics and tailored reporting are built into the system and you can stop wasting time waiting for reports and start acting on good information.

 

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