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What are the 4 Disadvantages of a Mobile Inventory System App?

Posted: October 03, 2019 by Ly Phan

What are the 4 Disadvantages of a Mobile Inventory System App?

As mobile phone plays a central part in our lives, many businesses are tempted to go for a mobile inventory control system app hoping to gain the next level of mobility in warehouse operation, especially when pairing with robust scanner devices such as barcoding or RFID. However, as you grow your business, mobile inventory system apps have critical limitations - particularly when compared to comprehensive cloud-based software. In this post, we go through four key areas.

Lack of Integration Capability

One of the existential problems most apps experience integrating with different systems

One of the existential problems most apps experience integrating with different systems. For warehouses, it’s essential for inventory management software to integrate with other programs such as accounting and ERP systems. Cloud-based solutions would enable users to sync with third-party systems efficiently and, once set up, an automated process.

With mobile apps, this process is complicated by the resources required to synchronize with third-party systems. For instance, scanning unique product codes (UPCs) with mobile devices throws up two core issues:

  • Scanning apps read data differently: Barcode stock control apps interpret data differently to SaaS inventory control software. Thus, they require significant configuration changes to work across different systems and scanner devices, even then, they are still often unreliable. To make things worse, most scanning devices run on a browser system, which cannot be supported by mobile apps.
  • Additional testing required: With mobile apps, there is limited scope for in-app testing that is provided with cloud-based software. As a result, administrators would need to test the UPCs manually to ensure the data matches laboriously.

The inefficient, time-consuming process of integrating mobile apps with different systems can prove costly for businesses, particularly in comparison to cloud-based solutions where integration is a vital part of its package. 

 

Capacity Limitations

As an ambitious and growing business, the limited capacity of mobile inventory apps could prove to be a hindrance. While apps can prove to be a flexible solution, once the lengthy setup process is complete, there are limitations on what it can do for your business.

A key component of a successful inventory management system is being able to have a complete overview of performance through a dashboard. The very nature of small mobile devices, with touch-screen only controls, poses a real challenge. Such an app would need to ensure all the information is either visible or easily navigable within a tablet device. 

The volume of data also needs to either be backed up in the cloud, or hosted by a secure on-premise server. Phones and tablets alone do not have the capacity to hold, process, and analyze the necessary information for a fully functioning inventory management system. As a business grows, it may find itself having to make additional investments to manage the data efficiently.

 

Customization Challenges

A familiar challenge for businesses is customization of programs, whether it’s software or mobile applications. In the cloud, the software can be customized to varying degrees - matching the requirements and budgetary constraints faced by small-to-medium businesses. From the perspective of connecting with trading partners, the majority still using desktop software, customization is essential. 

While desktop connection can be a complex process, it is still far more efficient than attempting to connect mobile apps with cloud-based or traditional on-premise software.

Even the most basic apps can cost $50,000 to build, (versus $500 a month for a cloud-based solution) customized mobile apps are based on intricate pieces of code - which in turn, can make it difficult to integrate with trading partners.

 

Limited Value for Money

As we mentioned in the previous section, mobile apps can be a costly proposition. Six-figure sums for sophisticated solutions are commonplace, yet at the same time - the sophistication could prove to be a weakness. 

In today’s interconnected age, inventory management solutions need to have the ability to work with other systems. With SmartTurn, its cloud-based solution can easily integrate with both internal third-party software such as Quickbooks, as well as trading partners’ systems. 

Due to the intricate coding required to build mobile apps, integrating with external partners can be a costly and time-consuming process. To generate a healthy ROI, it’s vital for warehouses to have the ability to quickly sync with new partners and clients - a mobile app is likely to be an obstacle rather than an asset from that perspective.

Cross-platform websites, which have been around for several years, can work equally effectively on desktops and mobile devices, further devalue the need to invest in apps. The limited integration capabilities of mobile inventory management apps mean going all-in on such a solution would be a counter-productive move.

 

Follow the Trend, Follow the Cloud

Cloud-based inventory management systems offer a powerful, flexible alternative to mobile apps.

Cloud-based inventory management systems offer a powerful, flexible alternative to mobile apps. It works equally well on both mobile devices and desktop computers while giving users a comprehensive overview of warehouse operations. In short, the cloud gives all the features offered in mobile apps and more, without any barriers to integration and synchronization. 

With SmartTurn, businesses can gain access to a flexible, affordable cloud-based stock control system that is fully customized to the needs of individual businesses. It is designed with the users in mind, with a versatile list of features that come with the standard package alone. 

SmartTurn’s versatility can be seen from the extensive number of industries that use its software:

  1. Third-party Logistics Providers (3PL) 
  2. Wholesale Distributors 
  3. High Tech/Electronics 
  4. Life Sciences 
  5. Retail Ecommerce 
  6. F&B 

SmartTurn’s customers have regularly reported improved accuracy to levels above 99%, and saving up to $15,000 a month due to greater efficiency. The comprehensive nature of the cloud-based software makes it a far more adaptable, flexible and suitable solution than mobile apps.

The software can be used across multiple forms of devices from desktop computers to mobile phones and scanners. This helps warehouses obtain real-time visibility, with teams being able to analyze overall performance, quickly identify inventory and ensure accurate shipping. Having the information to hand aids the automation of various processes throughout the warehouse.

Additionally, being in the cloud, SmartTurn can be securely accessed from anywhere in the world. Multi-location businesses, with warehouses around the globe, can simply download the software, use it seamlessly and simultaneously. There are no restrictions, for example, over the need to use Android or IoS devices that could come with mobile apps. 

Another important bonus with cloud-based inventory management solutions is they can be deployed quickly, with minimal resources - in a matter of weeks. For mobile apps, the process can take several months of building, testing, and reviewed before it’s even ready to deploy.

For the ultimate inventory management solution - it’s hard to look beyond the cloud.

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