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Fishbowl

Fishbowl is the #1 manufacturing and warehouse inventory management software! Its powerful inventory control system gives your small or midsize business the exact tools needed to transform your inventory management and scale your ...Read more about Fishbowl

4.2 (906 reviews)

56 recommendations

Flowtrac

Flowtrac is a cloud-based and on-premise warehouse management solution that helps companies manage their Inventory, Assets, Warehouse, Work In Process, and other specialty tracking requirements. The solution is suitable and deploy...Read more about Flowtrac

4.7 (52 reviews)

44 recommendations

NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

4.2 (1547 reviews)

35 recommendations

inFlow Inventory

Looking for an inventory and order management system for your small or medium-sized business? inFlow is used in over 90 countries around the world for manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, ecommerce, and more. It's also simple t...Read more about inFlow Inventory

4.6 (481 reviews)

19 recommendations

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eTurns

eTurns TrackStock is a modern VMI app distributors can use to replenish their customers' stockroom and truck inventory in an optimized way. Using QR code scans or SensorBins, eTurns tracks usage and auto-replenishes. Distributor r...Read more about eTurns

4.4 (68 reviews)

8 recommendations

Think Aisle

GET FREE TRIAL FOR 3 MONTHS. Think Aisle is a cloud-based platform designed to help businesses in the hospital, fashion, industrial and other industries streamline the entire stock lifecycle, from inventory ordering to sales repor...Read more about Think Aisle

4.9 (10 reviews)

8 recommendations

CyberStockroom

CyberStockroom is a cloud-based inventory management solution targeting small, growing businesses. Key features include applications for inventory management, demand forecasting/replenishment, inventory planning, lot traceability ...Read more about CyberStockroom

4.3 (12 reviews)

7 recommendations

Pulse

Pulse is an all-in-one medical inventory management software that streamlines ordering, tracking, and dispensing of medical products. Clinics that use Pulse have real-time stock monitoring, automated reporting, and purchase predic...Read more about Pulse

4.3 (39 reviews)

6 recommendations

Kechie

Kechie Distribution Management efficiently manages internal and external resources. Suited for growing businesses, the management tools provide control of replenishment, warehouse management, pick, pack, and ship, procurement, pro...Read more about Kechie

4.7 (37 reviews)

6 recommendations

MarginPoint Inventory

MarginPoint Inventory is a cloud-based solution that provides the ability to track and manage inventory in real-time, regardless of where it’s located or who supplied it. With our easy-to-use mobile app, users will now be able to ...Read more about MarginPoint Inventory

4.5 (11 reviews)

3 recommendations

GOIS Pro

Goods Order Inventory System (GOIS Pro) is a cloud-based inventory management solution that provides users with order management functionalities. It caters to businesses of all sizes across various industry verticals. GOIS Pr...Read more about GOIS Pro

4.5 (8 reviews)

3 recommendations

InventoryCloud

InventoryCloud allows users to easily transition from error-prone manual processes and antiquated systems to a modern, feature-rich inventory management platform. Enjoy quick and accurate physical inventory cycle counts, eliminate...Read more about InventoryCloud

4.3 (331 reviews)

2 recommendations

Finale Inventory

Finale Inventory helps to optimize inventory and warehouse workflows for growing sellers. Our software is Intuitive so that anyone can use it and cloud-based so reporting can be seen in real-time whenever you're on the go. Customi...Read more about Finale Inventory

4.7 (207 reviews)

2 recommendations

Raptech

Raptech is a SaaS-based collaborative business management platform that enables enterprises to grow faster by making smarter decisions using real-time data that is achieved by integrating the Lead-to-quote, Order-to-cash, Purchase...Read more about Raptech

3.0 (1 reviews)

2 recommendations

SAP S/4HANA Cloud

SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a cloud-based and on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. It is suitable for small, midsize and large businesses in industries such as automotive, engineering, construction, mining, research an...Read more about SAP S/4HANA Cloud

4.4 (334 reviews)

1 recommendations

AccuShelf

The AccuShelf Inventory Management System standardizes workflows, enhances patient safety, saves time, & supports 340B compliance. Manage your medical inventory efficiently & effectively with one easy-to-use solution for all medic...Read more about AccuShelf

5.0 (5 reviews)

1 recommendations

QuickBooks Enterprise

QuickBooks Enterprise is an accounting solution designed for SMBs across different industry verticals such as construction, nonprofit distribution, manufacturing, and retail. With QB Enterprise solution, any business owner can exp...Read more about QuickBooks Enterprise

monday.com

monday.com is an award-winning work and project management platform that helps teams of all sizes plan, prioritize, manage, and execute their work more effectively. The platform offers solutions for a wide range of use-cases such...Read more about monday.com

PayPal Zettle

PayPal Here is a mobile application that allows retailers and merchants to process transactions. The application uses a card reader device attached to a smartphone. This solution helps retailers and field sales staff to process tr...Read more about PayPal Zettle

EZOfficeInventory

EZOfficeInventory is a dynamic asset and maintenance management solution tailored for companies of all sizes. The cloud-based software works as you do and is accessible from anywhere and at any time. Track items across locati...Read more about EZOfficeInventory

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

Inventory control is a complex process with multiple moving parts, quite literally. Any business that deals in physical products needs to maintain its inventory, whether that means transporting or selling products, or assembling them into a different product. In each case, it's essential to always have the right amount of necessary goods on hand.

Selecting the right inventory control software to help you with this process can make your job a lot easier, but choosing that software can be a challenge. The subtle differences between "inventory control" and "inventory management" can also be confusing.

This article will help guide you through this process, so you can choose the inventory control system that best fits your business needs.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Inventory Control Software?

Inventory Control Software vs. Inventory Management Software

Common Features of Inventory Control Systems

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Benefits and Potential Issues

Market Trends to Understand

What Is Inventory Control Software?

Inventory control (sometimes also called "stock control," a term used synonymously) means monitoring a company's inventory of products to ensure that slow-selling or little-used items are not overstocked. This way, the business can save money, time and warehouse space by not acquiring products or materials that are unnecessary. The ultimate goal of inventory control is to create maximum profit from the least investment in inventory, without negatively impacting customer satisfaction.

Inventory control systems can automate the monitoring and tracking of your products via their inventory codes, eliminating the need for time-consuming pen and paper logs or Excel spreadsheets. The software relies upon tracking items via barcodes (which you can create and customize) as products move in and out of your warehouse. It can provide automated alerts and reports as those items are checked in or out by various parties.

Inventory Control Software vs. Inventory Management Software

Whereas inventory control is the process of ensuring that you have the ideal amount of stock, inventory management is focused on most efficiently organizing and managing stock, so that reorders happen at the exact right moment.

According to major inventory control and inventory management vendor Fishbowl Inventory, the difference can be stated as follows:

  • Inventory control: "Focuses on cutting the number of slow-selling products a company purchases. This saves businesses time and money because they don't have to spend lots of man-hours reordering and receiving goods that they don't really need."

  • Inventory management: "Focuses on quickly and efficiently reordering products...Stocking up on products primarily because they can be obtained at a cheaper price will most likely lead to more products spoiling and becoming obsolete, as well as creating an inefficient use of storage space."

The two processes clearly complement one another, and thus many vendors will offer both inventory control and inventory management features, either in a shared package or divided up into separate offerings that can be integrated together.

Materials-module-in-Fishbowl's-inventory-control-software

The "materials module" found in Fishbowl Inventory's software

This buyer's guide will focus on the features that are specifically a part of inventory control systems, but we recommend you also check out our inventory management software buyer's guide.

Common Features of Inventory Control Systems

The most typical inventory control system features are explained in the following table:

Inventory tracking

Enables you to track your entire inventory. This feature allows you to track your products by site, location, serial number, lot, date and/or pallet.

Barcoding

Create an inventory system that fits your needs, with flexibility in creating your own inventory and shipping labels.

Check-in/out

Track items as they move through the warehouse to employees, vendors or customers, preventing them from getting lost along the way.

Automated alerts

Receive automated notifications about low inventory levels, expiring items, overstocked items and reorder points to help you better keep track of inventory levels.

Audits/reports

Run periodic audits of your inventory and generate reports so you can track your stock and recognize problems before they develop.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

When considering inventory control software, you should take the following factors about your organization into account:

Industry. Your inventory control needs will vary greatly depending upon the type of industry you're buying for. Retailers will have very different needs from manufacturers, who will in turn have very different needs from distributors. Specific inventory control systems address the unique needs of different industries and may even have functionality that is directly suited to specialty niches within larger industries.

Company size. You should consider whether your company is a small business with one location; a midsize business with multiple locations within a relatively small geographical area or a large, enterprise-level business, with multiple lots located across a wide area. You will need an inventory control system that fits the needs of your particular business segment and the levels of complexity that come with any increases in size.

Be wary of overpaying for robust systems that have more capabilities than you need, but also be sure not to underestimate your needs.

Software needs. Consider carefully whether you are just looking for inventory control, or if you have greater automation, tracking and reporting needs. You may be looking to combine inventory control with inventory management, for example, or you may need an inventory control system that is part of a larger suite that includes other essential features such as supply chain management, warehouse management and/or business intelligence.

Benefits and Potential Issues of Inventory Control Systems

The obvious benefit of inventory control software is that it allows you to automate the process of tracking your company's inventory. It helps you figure out how much of a certain product you need to have in stock, without overages that mean you're stocking extra product with no attendant extra profit. Automation lets you take control of your inventory in a way that would prove exceedingly complex and complicated using spreadsheets or pen and paper.

Through inventory control, you can keep the right amount of raw materials and finished goods on hand and automatically place reorders at the right moment to maximize profit while minimizing stock overage.

However, because inventory control systems rely heavily upon barcode scanning, it does come with certain hardware requirements. Many vendors have mobile apps that can scan barcodes via smartphones or other mobile devices, while others may provide the necessary scanning hardware, potentially at an additional cost.

Market Trends to Understand

Here are some market trends you should consider as you select a product:

Mobile functionality. Largely provided by apps for phones and tablets, mobile functionality is a significant technological shift across most industries, and inventory control software is no different. In these contexts, apps connected to the inventory database can enable employees to scan barcodes throughout the warehouse without having to refer to a desktop computer.

Cloud-based software. Cloud-based systems, which are increasingly popular, require less hardware than on-premises software. They also require less IT knowledge (ideal for small businesses without an IT department), have lower upfront costs and are more quickly implemented, making them a good choice for smaller businesses in particular.