Do you have products that come in a range of sizes, colors or other variables? If so, you’re probably looking at a lot of SKU’s that can get confusing and time-consuming to analyze. With so much data, this can present inventory management challenges that would be much easier to navigate if you could streamline the ordering process of these types of products. Whether you’re purchasing these items or selling them, the best and most productive way to go about inputting orders is through a grid format such as the product matrix feature in your ERP system. “ERP” Enterprise Resource Planning is an all-in-one solution for inventory management and accounting and includes functionality for sales orders and purchase orders. If you work in an industry where products have different variables (such as colors and sizes), the product matrix will benefit both the sales and purchasing sides of your business.
Let’s look at an example: Pretend you are a furniture company and one of the items you are selling are bedframes.
- Each bedframe can come in three sizes: twin, queen, and king but it can also come in 10 colours.
Tracking this information alone would create 30 SKUs for just one style of bedframe, not to mention all the other furniture you’re selling! Even if all your inventory is set up perfectly, it will be very time-consuming inputting orders line by line whereas, with a user-friendly matrix, you can enter multiple products of the same style in a fraction of the time. Not only will the matrix allow users to input products and quantities more efficiently, but it will also give insight into your inventory management and allow you to see products by color and by size the quantities available and will not show you the quantities already allocated. This component will minimize inventory errors and give your employees the ability to communicate live inventory levels to the customer placing the order. The Product Matrix can also be extremely helpful if you have multiple warehouses and want to view the data for each individual warehouse.
The video below provides an overview of how Blue Link’s Product Matrix can automate and streamline the management of products and allow you to greatly reduce ordering times.
Now what if you have a product that has multiple, different variables for a SKU, some are required and others optional?
Let’s look at an example: Pretend you sell cars where there are a lot more variables than just color and size.
- For one particular car model, you may be offering three different trim levels. Each trim level will have a predetermined set of variables that you choose, for example, 16” wheels or 19” wheels, leather seats or fabric seats and heated steering or unheated.
This is where your business would benefit from a product configurator feature. Think of the above as predetermined packages that customers can choose from; each trim level is a configured product. Any industry that offers options to its products would benefit from the configurator.
If you’re a company dealing with a lot of SKUs and searching for the right ERP, look for one with order entry and product matrix capability and/or a product configurator to help your business automate this process.