All around us we keep hearing about disruptive technologies being developed. These are game changers that interrupt business as usual and force people and companies to adapt to a new environment.
For example, there are driverless cars being tested in Japan that could seriously change the revenue sources as well as the long-held policies of insurance companies, police forces, public utilities, and parking lots, just to name a few.
And then there’s 3D printing, which has the potential to change not only consumer manufacturing operations but home construction, food production, and many other industries.
What about inventory management? What disruptive technology is in the works to shake things up in this important area of running a business?
Here are a few developments that fit the bill by making advanced inventory management tools available to more companies and also making them easier to use:
Online Inventory Management
When Intuit launched an online version of its popular QuickBooks software it was a glimpse into the future of accounting. Most companies still do their accounting on a desktop software application, but the SAAS model is suddenly becoming more attractive.
This is a challenge to inventory software providers to step up to the plate and change. It will be interesting to see who takes up that challenge first and comes out with a complete online inventory management solution that integrates with QuickBooks.
This is extremely disruptive to the normal way of doing business because it means software developers have to work with multiple browsers, not just operating systems. Plus, it changes the whole pricing scheme for inventory software. And it encourages a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) mentality at businesses using inventory software. This has many benefits and risks attached to it.
Alternative to ERP
ERPs are traditionally incredibly expensive software platforms. Most small businesses can’t afford them, even though they’re extremely helpful in managing a business’ finances, inventory, and other logistics. It’s especially useful to large corporations with complex operations.
What if a comprehensive solution comes along that does much of what ERPs do, but at a fraction of their price? It’s already happening. Inventory management software providers can integrate their software with QuickBooks and other tools to create something that roughly does the same thing as a full ERP, and it’s actually affordable to small and midsize businesses.
What other disruptive technologies might be coming to shake things up in inventory management? I welcome your thoughts.