The importance of tracking (and online inventory management)

When we’re waiting for a package to arrive we all appreciate the power of tracking.  We understand the feeling you get from knowing that's exactly why we're incorporating this feature within our online inventory management solution, Stockpile.  It’s nice to be able to enter a number into the computer and instantly see where your goods are in transit.  All too often we ignore the power of tracking in other areas though.

Recently fitness tracking devices such as FitBit, Nike+ Fuel, and Jawbone have become all the rage.   These wearable devices track your activities throughout the day and then let you know how you’re doing.   Suddenly we have concrete evidence that we were too sedentary throughout the day or that we did a great job of managing our fitness level vs. our caloric intake.  That’s the power of tracking.  Believe it or not the same premise applies to your small business.  The more you know about your assets and products available for sale the better you can run your business.  For example, tracking shipments from store to store, within our online inventory management tool, will allow you to better plan and staff according to shipment arrival dates.

In business, process mapping allows you to get a snapshot of the flow of activities and while this is very useful it’s still not as helpful as harnessing the power of tracking.  A process map only shows you one picture of project flow.  Tracking allows you to continuously monitor processes.  This is not to suggest a “big brother” management style of looking over your employees’ shoulders.  Rather just implementing a series of checkpoints that allow you to see how work is flowing at various stages.  Are you your one and only employee?  Tracking can still benefit you and your small business.  If you’ve completed as a process map as we suggested in a previous post then you have a concrete idea of how things are supposed to go, but we all know that things don’t always work exactly as they are supposed to.  If you are doing some daily tracking you will see those one off slowdowns and be able to identify the culprit.  Is there a particular day of the week that seems to go slower than others?  Are there regular deliveries or tasks that occur at different times on different days?  Tracking will bring these anomalies to light and allow you to plan around them as well.

Complete your process map, create a plan for tracking your daily business activities and then watch the results carefully.   You’ll be amazed by the picture of your business that emerges and you’ll be able to clearly see that areas for improving your processes.  Put the power of tracking to work for you.  Have inventory to track?  Try Stockpile.  It's by far the world's best online inventory management solution for small business.   

Our free inventory management solution makes it quick and easy to track your inventory, even across multiple locations.   Since Stockpile can be accessed anytime from anywhere you can always see your inventory.  That’s the power of tracking.

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