Creating an Inventory System: An Essential Guide

How to Create an Inventory System: Roadmap + Cost Factors - ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft leverages 31-year experience in custom software development to create reliable inventory systems and provide related consulting services on planning the inventory system implementation.

The Essence of an Inventory System

An inventory system tracks and analyzes all inventory-related data (inventory levels, orders, sales, and deliveries) to automate inventory operations and minimize risks of stock-outs and overstocks.

To streamline inventory tracking further, the system can be integrated with hardware (barcode/RFID technology). An RFID-based system is a feasible option for expensive, perishable, or industry-regulated inventory or complex, large-scale inventory operations management.

Types of Inventory Solutions

Visit our dedicated pages to learn about the features, cost factors, important integrations, and success factors of inventory solutions:

Custom Inventory Management Software

Inventory Database Software (a centralized repository for all inventory data in an organization)

An Implementation Roadmap of an Inventory System

The duration and approach to development depend on the specifics and scale of inventory operations the system should cover.

1

Inventory system requirements engineering & design

2

Project planning

3

Inventory system development

4

Integration with other systems

5

Inventory data migration (from currently used inventory software or spreadsheets)

6

Inventory system deployment

7

User training

8

After-launch support, maintenance, and evolution

Project manager

Plans the inventory project (goals, timeline, budget), prioritizes the scope of work, monitors its execution, coordinates the project team’s work, communicates with stakeholders and reports to them.

Business analyst

Investigates and describes functional and non-functional requirements, technical limitations and needed integrations for the inventory solution.

Solution architect

Designs the architecture of the solution with integration points between its components and other systems (ERP, CRM, accounting system, etc).

UX designer + UI designer

Conduct user research for the inventory solution, design user flows, build prototypes and gather feedback from users (e.g., inventory and purchasing specialists) to further improve system usability.

Software engineers

Develop the front end and the back end of inventory software, integrate it with other systems.

QA engineer

Designs and implements a test strategy, test plan, and test cases to validate the quality of the inventory system.

Hardware engineer (optionally)

Configures and manages the deployment of a barcode or RFID hardware system, identifies and resolves hardware-related issues, optimizes the hardware system performance in production.

All resources are in-house

​​​Pros: Full control over the project progress.

Cons: Higher costs compared to outsourced development. Risk of delays and compromised quality due to the lack of resources with specific skills. Increased management efforts.

Some technical resources are external

Pros: High control over the project progress. Optimal resource usage. Access to specific competencies.

Cons: Team coordination and risk management are on your side.

PM and BA are in-house, all technical resources are external

​​​Pros: Quick project start. No problem with resource overprovisioning after the project finishes.

Cons: Team coordination and risk management are partially on your side. High requirements to the competencies of in-house PM and BA.

Complete outsourcing

Pros: Quick project start. Possibility to access the latest tech competencies. Cost-effectiveness due to plugging into established development processes. A vendor holds full responsibility for the project and its deliverables.

Cons: Vendor risks are higher. ScienceSoft recommends hiring a vendor that offers on-site visits to minimize the risk of incomplete business requirements for the solution.

Looking to Create an Inventory System?

ScienceSoft offers end-to-end development of custom inventory systems tailored to the specifics of your inventory operations.

Software We Recommend for Inventory System Development

ScienceSoft recommends using cloud services for data storage and data analytics offered by industry-leading cloud services providers. The services below provide superior scalability, flexibility, and security:

Microsoft Azure

Description

Leader in Gartner’s Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services.

  • Scalable serverless storage for inventory data and data backup.
  • Computing resources for any number of users.
  • Encryption of inventory data in transit and at rest.
  • Perimeter and component-level security and access management services.
  • Low latency on-demand computing for better user experience.
  • Globally spread content delivery network.
  • Ready-to-go services for advanced functionality to optimize inventory operations (AI and machine learning).
  • Simplified application integration with ERP.
  • Native integration with Microsoft products: Office 365, Dynamics 365, Power BI.

AWS

Description

Leader in Gartner’s Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services for 9 consecutive years.

  • Scalable serverless storage for inventory data and data backup.
  • Computing resources for any number of users.
  • Encryption of inventory data in transit and at rest.
  • Perimeter and component-level security and access management services.
  • Globally spread content delivery network.
  • Ready-to-go services for advanced functionality to optimize inventory operations (AI and machine learning).
  • Simplified application integration with ERP.

Power BI

Description

The leading Analytics and BI platform in 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant and the leading Enterprise BI Platform in Forrester’s Wave Research.

  • Ingestion of multiple data structures (including big data from inventory tracking devices).
  • 100+ native data source connectors (file data sources, databases, online services).
  • Self-service data preparation and analysis.
  • Predictive analytics for inventory demand forecasting (with machine learning models created in Azure Machine Learning Studio).
  • Real-time data streaming for inventory tracking.
  • Interactive dashboarding (overview of all inventory-related insights on a single page).
  • Pre-built and custom inventory-related data visuals (charts, KPIs, maps, matrixes, etc.).
  • Scheduled and ad hoc reporting.
  • Data encryption, workspace- and row-level security.

Get the Best-Fitting Tech Stack for Your Inventory System

ScienceSoft is ready to help you select the right mix of technology services and tools for the cost-effective setup of a robust inventory system.

The implementation cost of a custom inventory system ranges from $90,000 to $250,000 for a midsize company, and from $250,000 to $400,000 for a large enterprise.

The major cost drivers are:

  • Type of an inventory system: software-only or based on RFID/barcode technology (the latter will include costs of hardware equipment and its maintenance).
  • Number and complexity of inventory software features. For example, the complexity of inventory data analytics depends on the ypes of analytics required, presence and number of machine learning algorithms, data volume, number and complexity of reports.
  • Number of user groups and complexity of a user permission system.
  • Interface design uniqueness and complexity.
  • Complexity of data migration procedures required (e.g., based on the number of data tables and data types you have).
  • Number and complexity of integrations with other systems (ERP, accounting software, CRM, etc.).
  • Requirements for the system’s availability, performance, security, latent capacity and scalability.

Consider Professional Services for Inventory System Development

ScienceSoft applies 31-year experience in custom software development to build scalable inventory systems that help optimize inventory operations and avoid stock-outs and overstocks.

Inventory system consulting

  • Business analysis to elicit functional and non-functional requirements for an inventory system.
  • Inventory system design and an integration plan (with ERP, CRM, accounting system, etc.).
  • Technology stack selection.
  • (If required) Barcode or RFID hardware selection for automated inventory tracking with the focus on the cost/quality balance.
  • Interactive UI prototype.
  • Implementation roadmap with time and budget estimation.
  • ROI calculation of an inventory system.

Inventory system development

  • Inventory system consulting and implementation planning.
  • Inventory system development and QA.
  • Inventory data migration from legacy systems.
  • Integration with other systems (ERP, CRM, accounting, etc.).
  • Pilot and full-fledged inventory system deployment.
  • User training.
  • After-launch support, maintenance and evolution.

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a software development provider headquartered in McKinney, TX. We offer consulting and implementation services to help businesses develop and start an inventory system that optimizes complex and multi-location inventory operations and helps avoid stock-outs and overstocks. To learn more about our development approach, check our custom software development offer.